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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Q The Winged Serpent - Your Blu-ray Player's Got Wings and Lives in the Chrysler Building (Scream Factory)


A couple years ago I tasked myself with watching every movie on the Fangoria 300, a list of 300 movies as picked by the Editor and staff of Fangoria to celebrated their 300th issue. Now I had seen quite a few of those films before, but I recall being particular interested in seeing the movie Q The Winged Serpent most of all. I hadn’t seen it, but I knew the VHS cover from video store days passed. Growing up as a kid it was always front and center, but it always appeared to me as a dungeons and dragons, sword and sandal effort, and so I avoided it. That’s why we don’t judge books by their covers. So I watched Q, and I loved Q. That’s one of my better summer Saturday afternoons on record. It’s a movie that my kids are going to love one day. It was a rental, so I returned it and let it fade out of my memory. It would not be long before the 17th letter of the alphabet would re-emerge front and center in my life.

Before we go on here's the basic premise from Scream Factory:

Its name is Quetzalcoatl, a dragon-like Aztec god that is summoned to modern-day Manhattan by a mysterious cult. But just call it “Q" because that is all you’ll be able to say before it tears you apart! Roosting within the top of the Chrysler Building, this fearsome monster begins raining blood – from the bodies of window washers, construction workers and rooftop sunbathers alike – onto the streets of New York!

Several months later I had attended the Exhumed 24 Hour Horror-thon in Philly. That’s a full 24 hours of horror and B and schlock and awesome. It’s something to behold; a spectacle featuring a gaggle of films, over 300 guests, a slew of exquisite food vendors and good friendships. Now in their seventh year, if you aren’t trying to buy tickets and getting shut out because they’re selling out too fast, you might as well stick to Black Friday shopping. The second feature film of the night, all on 35mm, is exclusively reserved for large monster movies; none of the Exhumed Films are announced ahead of time during the horror-thon and the audience is simply provided clues with which to guess the film. Previous movies include Rodan and Godzilla on Monster Island and what to my wandering eyes should appear, but Quetzalcoatl and eggs and the Chrysler building and Michael Moriarty and David friggin’ Carradine. That’s quite an experience. I became a fan boy for Q. That’s a big bad Larry Cohen experience tour du force in your face and on the gorgeous WOW of 35mm no less.

Trailer Not in Hi-Def

I went out and picked up the DVD copy available at the time from Blue Underground. It’s a good disc. They put out a good product to be sure and I don’t think anyone would argue that, but I’ve caught the Blu-ray bug. That means that I wait with baited breath every time I order an old favorite old DVD; I wait and watch Scream Factory take control of the situation and rectify the lack of hi-definition in a particular release. That’s what they did with Q The Winged Serpent only a few months later when they announced we’d see a new transfer, Blu-ray and with a new commentary track.


This is a modestly priced Blu-ray disc that is clearly better quality in both audio and video than the predecessor DVD. While seeing this grand scale movie is awe inspiring on a giant screen, it can have the same effect with a well transferred copy on Blu-ray disc and a nice television. The wide skyscapes featuring a large flying GOD attacking rooftops and plucking topless women to their demise is stunning. Don’t sit too close if you’re afraid of heights (I speak from experience). It’s like one great rollercoaster ride over the Manhattan skyline and your car is the flying creature of Central American mythology. Combine that with all the charm of a Larry Cohen picture. That means it’s fun. You laugh. Sometimes you’re disgusted and others your titillated. Richard Roundtree has offers a more serious effort. David Carradine on the hunt for both the winged beast and those who may have summoned it is intentionally and unintentionally humorous. Let’s not mention the inspired performance of Michael Moriarty bumbling around New York City, playing jewelry store robber when he wants to be a musician. Loveable characters and a monster you can root for. Only the good monsters rain blood down on wide city avenues.


The new commentary from Larry Cohen is excellent and paints a scene of New York during its less than glamorous period. What’s it like to shoot a film in New York City way up high when you’re pelting ammunition casings toward the street from high above, trying to destroy an ancient deity hungry for sacrifice and ready to play mama? That’s what Larry will tell you all about. His relationship with Carradine, thoughts on Roundtree and Moriarty as well as the rather bumpy ride that Q took from script to film can to screen are all presented lovingly and often with a hint of humor.


If you own Q and like quality and love this movie, then you should consider this disc a must pick up. If you don’t own Q, have never seen it or liked Michael Moriarty in Troll… this is a must pick up. It is an improvement on the DVD though the casual fan may not find it immediate necessarily to jump at the disc if they are Blu-ray intolerant (get with the program and pick one up cheap so you can find out what these Scream Factory focused reviews are all about). Blu-ray players are cheap. This release is inexpensive, and you’ll never forget what lurks at the top of the Chrysler building… or the topless honeys sunbathing.


Q The Winged Serpent is available August 27th so get your pre-orders in now. Stop by the Scream Factory website to review all of their upcoming titles and you can pre-order them there or head over to DiabolikDVD.

-Dr. TERROR

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