Wow. That. That certain was.
My professor was shocked that I didn't know who Michael Moriarty was. I still claim that he's crazy. Honestly, Q: The Winged Serpent is one of his biggest movies. Now, I know there's kind of a cult following behind this movie. I mean, it is in Thomas Video's cult section, which means little sometimes, but Anchor Bay decided to grace this little piece of ridiculousness with a widescreen remastered VHS. While that may not sound as ridiculous as other things, take into consideration that The African Queen has never been released on DVD. Yeah. Q: The Winged Serpent was one of the few movies that was graced with a widescreen VHS copy. Maybe it was my duty to know who Michael Moriarty was. I still don't really agree with that thought, but I guess I should get onto reviewing this movie.
This movie is, and I can't stress this enough, absolutely ridiculous. I'm not saying giant people in penguin costumes fighting robots from the planet formerly known as Pluto, but it is absurd nonetheless. But the part that really eats my ass is the fact is that there's actually a decent, classy movie somewhere in here. Now, I'm not talking My Dinner With Andre here (still haven't seen it. Shut up.), but I'm saying that there's some character and story here. Sure, they all surround a giant claymation dragon that bites peoples' heads off and lays eggs all over town, but the bulk of this story surrounds Michael Moriarty and his quest to not be mediocre. Sure, he's kind of a dick and you really don't root for him, but there's something there more than just the basic "kill the dragon" story.
On top of all that character drama is David Carradine and Richard Roundtree. In most people's cases, Grasshopper and Shaft. (Or Bill, for those people born after 1990...) Now, when I see Carradine in a movie, I at least know that you can look forward to his performance. He is just a weird presence. Despite the condescending remark about 1990, I really got to know about David Carradine from Kill Bill as well. The dude is just extremely ecclectic and that always carries over to his performances. The funny thing is that he's always kind of billed as the culty actor because of his more famous parts, but he's in a lot of respectable dramas. He is third fiddle in an insane amount of really good classics and I always try to keep that in mind when I'm watching him. Then watching Richard Roundtree. This is immediately after his hayday. Most things I see with Roundtree are contemporary, building off of his campy reputation. It's fun seeing him play a one-note character, simply because that one-note is "super-serious cop." John Shaft without the sex.
The special effects in this movie are exactly what you imagine. They're half-way decent, but use a lot of claymation and blood efffects. In fact, Cohen adds this whole subplot about Quetzoquotl and the Aztecs and it's just unnecessary. But the real reason he does all of that is just so he can have a good, ol' fashioned flaying sequence. Really, the movie is a bit of a gore fest, but I don't think he had enough gore to really justify a whole film, so he sold out and actually wrote a decent story. The flaying effects, perhaps, are the grossest part of the entire movie. Everytime Q gets a hold of someone, we really get the aftereffects, whether it's a body without a head or bones, that's alll of what we get. After all, if you see Q do something, it looks like King Kong is going at it. But the real disgusting, cringing stuff comes from the cutting away of the flesh.
The only real problem that this movie has is that the Q part is really repetetive. Really, Q just kills a whole bunch of times and you see more and more of him as the movie goes on. The movie starts off cryptic and there's just a headless window washer. Then you start to see a tail. Then a shadow. Then a flash. Eventually, you see the creature fly, but it takes a while to get to that point. I wish there was something else Q could do, but that's about it.
Also, that flying in front of the sun is bullsh*t. What about all the people at work? Also, what about the people who aren't standing at that angle? Goofy physics, Mr. Cohen. Goofy physics.