Q (also known as The Winged Serpent and Q – The Winged Serpent) is a 1982 monster horror film written, produced and directed by Larry Cohen and starring Michael Moriarty, Candy Clark, David Carradine, and Richard Roundtree.

Plot Edit

The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, a winged, dragon-like, female lizard, takes up residence in the art-deco spire of the Chrysler Building, with frequent jaunts in the midday sun to devour various helpless New Yorkers on the rooftops. The resulting bloody mess confounds detectives, Shepard and Powell, who are already occupied with a case involving a series of bizarre ritual murders linked to a secret neo-Aztec cult.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Quinn, a cheap, paranoid crook who wishes to be a jazz pianist, takes part in a botched diamond heist. Attempting to hide from police after the heist, he stumbles upon the creature's lair atop the Chrysler building. Quinn abandons his attempts to settle down and leave his life of crime, deciding to extort from the city an enormous amount of moneyin exchange for directions to the creature's nest, which houses a colossal egg.

Quinn makes a deal with the city--$1 million for the location of the nest. He leads Shepard and a paramilitary assault team to the top of the Chrysler Building. First, they shoot the egg, killing the babyinside. Later, the creature comes to the tower. After the showdown, the creature, riddled with bullets, falls onto the streets of Manhattan. Finally, Shepard shoots the Plumed Serpent's crazed priest (who had been committing the ritual murders) as he tries to kill Quinn to resurrect his "god".

Ultimately, a second large egg hatches in a different location in the city.

Cast Edit

  • Michael Moriarty as Jimmy Quinn
  • Candy Clark as Joan
  • David Carradine as Detective Shepard
  • Richard Roundtree as Sgt Powell
  • James Dixon as Lt Murray
  • Malachy McCourt as Commissioner Nick McConnell
  • Fred J. Scollay as Captain Fletcher
  • Peter Hock as Detective Harold Kipps
  • Ron Cey as Detective Hoberman
  • Mary Louise Weller as Mrs. Pauley
  • John Capodice as Doyle
  • Tony Page as Webb
  • Shelly Desai as Kahea
  • Lee Louis as Officer Banyon

Production Edit

Q was shot on location in and around New York City's Chrysler Building and uses the interior of the building's tower crown as a primary location. The special effects for the flying serpent were done using stop-motion animation by Randall William Cook and David Allen.

Release Edit

The film was given a limited release theatrically in the United States by United Film Distribution Company in October 1982. It grossed approximately $255,000 at the box office.

Critical response Edit

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Q holds a 69% approval rating based on 26 reviews, with an average rating of 6.22/10. The consensus reads: "Q's campy charms may be lost on audiences who want their monsters frightening, but a game cast and lovingly retrograde visual effects give this kaiju romp some majesty."

Roger Ebert gave the film 2 stars in his original review but praised Moriarty's performance. Ebert relates the anecdote that, when movie reviewer Rex Reed met Q's producer, Samuel Z. Arkoff, Reed told him: "What a surprise! All that dreck—and right in the middle of it, a great Method performance by Michael Moriarty!", while Arkoff replied: "The dreck was my idea."

Home media Edit

The film was later released on VHS by MCA/Universal Home Video. It was released on DVD by Blue Underground in 2003. Shout! Factory released the film on DVD and Blu-ray Disc August 27, 2013, through their Scream Factory branch.

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