Surprisingly entertaining, Q: THE WINGED SERPENT harkens back to the monster films of the 1950s and 60s and has a much more complex plot than one would expect from a film of this type.
Jimmy Quinn (Michael Moriarty) is a serial loser and has been in prison more than out. Desperate for some money, he takes a job as a wheelman for a burglary. It goes horribly wrong and not only does he lose the money but his bosses think he’s holding out on them.
Meanwhile Detective Shepard (David Carradine) is investigating a case of mutilations that appear to be human sacrifices. To make matters worse, people are mysteriously dying around New York City and the culprit could be a large “winged serpent” known as the Aztec God Quetzalcoatl.
Quinn discovers the creature’s nest and uses it as a way to solve all his problems, but more people may night before he steps up and does what’s right.
Though the premise is a little cheesy and certainly strains credibility, Director Larry Cohen, who previously had a hit with the killer baby film, IT’S ALIVE, has his tongue firmly planted in his cheek and knows how to balance the gore with the humor.
Using stop motion animation pioneered by Ray Harryhausen, the VFX are what they are and you either except them and go with it, or you will be grousing throughout. The make-up FX are also a bit over the top, but certainly in keeping with the overall tone of the film.
Though not a classic by any stretch of the imagination, Q: THE WINGED SERPENT is fun and entertaining and works some magic with an obvious low budget. Ending with a set up for a sequel and an interesting pairing of characters, it almost makes you pine away for that lost opportunity.
Q: THE WINGED SERPENT (1982)