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Friday, October 4, 2013

31 Days of Scream-O-Ween! - Q: The Winged Serpent

By Adam Ruhl

Q: The Winged Serpent is the first Scream Factory title I’m reviewing that I had not seen the movie before now. Taking obscure horror movies, restoring them to glory, and giving them back to the world is the biggest reason I love Scream Factory and why I wanted to do these reviews. For me they are reviving that old horror fan tradition of going to the local independent video store, scanning the shelves full of old horror VHS’s, and gambling on finding a lost horror treasure. Each box had its own amazing, intriguing, and often misleading artwork. It was teenage Friday night thrill that sadly perished with the passing of the video store, but as you watch these Scream Factory titles you can live a little of that thrill again. Now, on with the Q: The Winged Serpent review, or as the box proclaims “Its name is Quetzalcoatl... just call it Q, that's all you'll have time to say before it tears you apart!"

Q: The Winged Serpent

The Film:
The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, a giant winged serpent, sets up a nest in the top of the Chrysler building and terrorizes New York. Detective Shepard (David Carradine) is investigating a series of ritual Aztec sacrifices that have been occurring around the city. Meanwhile, after a botched robbery, Jimmy Quinn (Michael Moriarty) flees to the spire of the Chrysler building and stumbles upon Q’s nest and the egg it holds.

Jimmy uses this knowledge to escape his criminal bosses and trade the information to avoid jail time for his crimes. Q, is portrayed with a lot of close ups of parts of the creature and stop motion that was dated even when the movie was new. It’s still fun watching the monster pop up and carry someone off in broad daylight (no one in New York seems to see Q until it’s too late). A lot of the detective story seems to be filler; however Moriarty turns in a strong performance as Jimmy in a role that could have been lifted from another movie.


The Disc:
This is advertised as part of the Scream Factory series but my copy just has the Shout Factory logo on it. Likewise there’s no slip cover and the art is just the original poster. It does have inside cover illustration showing several other Q posters but I don’t think it’s meant to be reversed.
The transfer is beautiful, no dirt, crisp clean film grain, and DTS sound. There is a weird yellow flicker along the right side during one scene that’s distracting but it doesn’t last long. The film stock used is very much of the late 70’s, early 80’s era; the aerial footage reminds me strongly of the opening of the old Dallas TV show.

The Features:
  • Audio Commentary with Director Larry Cohen
  • Teaser
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Specs:
  • 1080p Hi-Def widescreen 1.78:1
  •  DTS-HD Master Audio
  • English-only Audio & Subtitles.
  • Original Release: 1982
  •  Runtime: 92 minutes
  • Rated R


Final Grades:
Story: C / Most of the story just serves as a bridge between Q eating people.
Presentation quality: A- / Clean and sharp but some spots may suffer from in-camera flaws.
Scare factor: C- / The horror is almost campy by today’s standards.
Gore Factor: B+ / Lots of fun decapitations and blood falling on people’s heads like bird poop.
Repeat view-ability: C / It’s got its moments but this one is probably best watched with friends and a few beers.  
Special Features: C / Director’s Commentary, Trailer, and Teaser make for a pretty light feature set.

Add Q: The Winged Serpent to your collection, click HERE!

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