Also known as Q: The Winged Serpent
This is one of those quintessential films for cult film viewers, and one of those ones I really had not seen until just now. Q is a film directed by tried and true director Larry Cohen, who also did It's Alive (the 1974 baby movie, not the mosasaurus drivel) and another cult film, The Stuff. Q was made when Larry was in New York, ostensibly to work on another film, and was fired. He then made lemonade outta lemons by making Q while he was there.
This movie was not as low budget as it looks also. Q stars Michael Moriarty from Law and Order and Troll (had to mention that one) and David Carradine from Kung Fu and Kill Bill. Moriarty plays Jimmy Quinn, an ex-con trying to stay straight after spending too much time in prison, but who doesn't have the time of day to do right. He and his girlfriend Joan live in a little place in Manhattan, where it seems people have been disappearing recently.
There's been talk of a giant bird flying around, taking people. No one quite believes it of course, but the reports keep coming in. There's even blood that will fall from the sky when the bird dispatches it's victims in mid-air. But this is no ordinary giant bird, (are there ordinary giant birds?) this is Mayan god Quetzalcoatl, brought back from ancient times by hardcore Mayan prayers, resurrected so he might again be worshiped and kill people and stuff. Alright, so the film is not really clear on why. Why really? Who cares.
When Jimmy Quinn can't hold a job doing extremely bad scatting at a bar, he robs a jewelry store. When he loses the jewels, he flees to the Chrysler building in New York and climbs to the top of it. It is there he discovers the nest of the bird Q. Quinn is amazed by what he finds, and he remembers that it's there. Later, when confronted by some not some friendly dudes lookin for those jewels he lost, he decides a quick trip back to Q's nest ought to set them straight.
In the meantime, the police are headed by Carradine who plays a man named Shepard. Shepard has heard the stories of the bird, and is swayed into thinking it exists. He even tries to get his boss Powell to believe it, but Powell won't have none of that. So when Quinn gets arrested and let's Shepard know he knows where Q is, Shepard is all ears. Then it's cops vs. Q.
This movie is well known for the bird effects, the real actors, the 80's cheese, and the watch-ability. Now personally, I found the acting to be not that great. Michael Moriarty does not play the part of a badass well, when its insinuated that he beats his girlfriend I find myself thinking "that guy, yeah right". The script maybe could've been tweaked to where he is more of a slimy bad guy instead of the tough New York bad dude. It's like seeing Peewee Herman on a Harley with a flask, it just don't work.
The effects are pretty bad. It's claymation, and it looks 70's at best. They know not to show too much of it, but it's still too much, and it's pretty obvious that this was not where the budget went. Everything else though, is classic: the pacing is nice and even, the acting by everyone else is good and works. There's just enough bodies to keep us from falling asleep. Hell there's even just a tad of nudity.
There is all sorts of people that rave about this movie, and I guess I had pretty high expectations. For me, I wanted it to be a little bit better, I don't know exactly what I didn't like about it, but it just didn't feel like the kind of movie that I would watch time and time again. It is the kind of movie that I would recommend though, because I think other people might enjoy it more than me. For me I would maybe just call it an average, whatever monster movie.
The ending, when the guys are fighting off Q in the Chrysler building, is very cool, I will say that. It's pure cheese, bad effects, ridiculous looking fluff. That must be a big part of why people like this. The ending is pretty cool. Just look at it
I feel compelled to give this a higher rating than what I would give it. I would maybe give it 2.5 stars. I think I'll bump it to 3 based on the ending. I almost wanna go 3.5, in fact I know that if some people were to read this they would demand 5. But it just wasn't quite what I wanted it to be, somehow.