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Q: The Winged Serpent DVD Review

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Without the 1950’s around, it’s a major gamble to release a giant monster movie unless it has Godzilla. Even then your not guaranteed anything good (reference: Dean Devlin/Roland Emmerich). Q is an interesting low budget take on the genre with ludicrous amounts of gore and only minimal monster.

New York City has a criminal problem. Not just the usual car theft problems either. No, some nut has been doing ritualistic sacrifices (gross ones at that) on people and has somehow resurrected an ancient Aztec god called Quetzalcoatl (say it six times fast right now). Seems this feisty bird-reptile creature has the taste for human flesh and window washers.

The investigation into the murders leads most of the movie, but since everyone in the theater (or on their couch) knows who’s doing it, it’s all sort of useless. Michael Moriarty plays a great role, but only slows the pace and it makes a 90-minute movie seem like 3 hours. When the creature does finally make his full, stop motion appearance, it’s very impressive. Some of the matte shots are a bit off, but for a 1982 film, it’s spectacular. As long as your finger is on fast-forward, you’ll be fine. (*** out of *****)

Blue Underground released this disc and just like almost all of their releases, this one features a fully restored print. They’ve done a great job, but the contrast is set far too high. Blindingly high as a matter of fact. The colors are strong and sharp, black levels are nice, scratches have almost all disappeared, but the contrast is hard to bear. Close, but just a bit outside. (***)

Again, just like all of their discs, we get a brand new soundtrack including their very popular DTS 6.1 track. Other options include 5.1 EX, Dolby 2.0, and the original mono. The surround tracks are less than adequate, hardly offering any rear speaker effects at all. A few of the segments have some nice ambience, but this is a weak DTS and 5.1 track. The bass never seems to kick in either. Still, it’s far better than any mono track. (**)

Extras include a commentary track from Larry Cohen, teaser trailer, poster and still gallery, plus some Q memorabilia. Oddly, the memorabilia segment is only available on DVD-ROM that I don’t have immediate access to and couldn’t view. I don’t see why this couldn’t have been included as a standard feature. It’s nice to a Cohen commentary track and he shows great enthusiasm for the picture, but the DVD-ROM content is stupid and baffling. (**)

This is actually the second time Q has been brought out on DVD. The original release was serviceable, but this one blows it away. Even though this one has some problems, fans of this cult classic should be happy. Blue Underground is gaining a great reputation for releasing some great cult films and they get better with every release. This was a fairly early release, but it does a fine job presenting a decent movie on a new format.

Originally posted at Breaking Windows.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • http://www.mondoirlando.com Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    Great stuff, matt, thanks. I haven’t saw this since i was a kid, and i think i got fed up with the lack of monster-malarky. I’d love to see it again, now that mine tastes have matured and what not. Blue Underground have released a stack of Larry Cohen stuff (did they, in fact, release The Stuff? i hope so) including God Told Me To, and obviously ,a man would be demented not to pick them up is what im guessing.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    Anchor Bay did “The Stuff.” See here. They are real impressive with cult films as well!

    [Edited to convert URL to inline link]

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    Larry Cohen is a great movie maker, one of the few current in the States who can be argued deserve the film school moniker, “auteur”. Since he works in genre and exploitation pictures, there is plenty of wiggle room to debate if he is a genius or just very lucky.

    I lean to the lucky genius. From getting James Brown to do the soundtrack for “Black Ceasar”, to having Andy Kaufman make his debut as a cop who goes berserk in the middle of NYC’s St. Patrick’s Day parade (filmed in the actual parade without much of any permission — try doing that today) in “God Told Me To”.

    For me, my favourite Cohen monster movies are the “It’s Alive” series, but that could have more to do with seeing the first one in a Times Sq. grindhouse as an impressionable yoot.

  • http://calblog.com Justene

    I spent a fair number of Saturdays in those Times Sq. movies during my youth. I don’t recall most of them, only my horror most weeks.