Monday, March 11, 2019

Short Attention Span Review - Q: The Winged Serpent (1982)

Short Attention Span Review - Q: The Winged Serpent (1982)

Q works for a few reasons.  As many have pointed out before, the most significant boost comes from Michael Moriarty, who just acts his ass off.  In the midst of a campy horror movie with a flying monstrosity and killer cultists, Moriarty lets it all fly, and his performance is positively Oscar-worthy.  There is no way that previous statement won't come off as hyperbole, but it's totally true.  Moriarty does some Daniel Day-Lewis method shit and slays his role as a petty crook who is both a coward and a dreamer who won't shy away from a big play.  Another key to this cult classic's place in the hearts of horror fans is that while it does contain a flying serpent and those bloodthirsty cultists, that's not really what it's about.  It's mostly about the characters, to include Moriarty's ambitious thief, David Carradine's inquisitive detective (he's equal parts tough and thoughtful), and Candy Clark as Joan, the woman who loves Moriarty's Jimmy Quinn and also despises him.  Cohen's direction and witty script (there are some top-shelf lines in this one) are also winners, but that won't surprise anyone who digs his work.  The effects are sinister where the cultists are concerned and downright hokey where the titular terror is concerned.  This flying fiend is captured via stop motion a la Harryhausen, making this both a kooky frightfest and a love letter of sorts to the creature features of the 50s and 60s.  Q is a strange dish, and it surely registers as junk food, but it remains tasty after all these years.

Final Grade: B

Yes, it's a goofy monster movie, but the praise often heaped upon Moriarty's jazzy performance is wholly warranted.  He should have gotten an Oscar.  I'm dead fucking serious right now.

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