Q


1h 32m 1982

Brief Synopsis

A tongue-in-cheek story of a flying Aztec god-beast who makes his home atop New York's Chrysler Building.

Film Details

Also Known As
Winged Serpent, The
Release Date
1982

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 32m

Synopsis

A tongue-in-cheek story of a flying Aztec god-beast who makes his home atop New York's Chrysler Building.

Film Details

Also Known As
Winged Serpent, The
Release Date
1982

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 32m

Articles

Q The Winged Serpent


In 1982 a strange green creature helped a little boy peddle across the suburban skies and the film E.T. pulled in about $400 million domestically for the year of its release. At around the same time, albeit not on nearly as many screens, a different green creature was flying across the skies of New York City biting the heads off of window cleaners and other unsuspecting denizens of the metropolis. In regards to the latter, writer/director Larry Cohen, the irrepressible talent behind many other quality throwbacks to great B movies, managed to pull in a respectable profit for his own "little" pet project; Q The Winged Serpent.

The genesis for the film could be said to have started with Larry Cohen finding out that he was fired from directing a remake of Mickey Spillane's I, The Jury and deciding to make his own movie on the fly (literally, as he boarded a helicopter and began shooting aerial shots of N.Y.C.). The impressive cast he managed to assemble at the last minute included Michael Moriarty, David Carridine, Candy Clark, and Richard Roundtree. The story would fuse crime and fantasy by pirouetting around a small-time thug (played by Moriarty) who discovers the nest of a giant predatory and flying serpent that may have been unleashed by a series of ritual sacrifices meant to awaken Quetzalcoatl, an ancient Aztec God. Ironically, Q The Winged Serpent would find release at about the same time as I, The Jury, and ended up raking in four times as much business.

Q The Winged Serpent would be shot in 18 days over three six-day weeks and it delivers a fun ride for anybody in the mood for a good monster movie or an especially memorable and improvisational performance by Michael Moriarty. On the audio commentary, Larry Cohen lets the viewer know that although Moriarty has a reputation for being difficult to work with, he attributes this to the fact that the actor was often stuck with projects that were not interesting or challenging, whereas Q The Winged Serpent allowed both the director and actor to improvise dialogue and character bits and the director has nothing but praise for his lead star. For example, when Cohen found out that Moriarty had a talent for playing jazz piano, he added that to his character (and Moriarty even gets a credit for his own song, "Evil Dream," which he plays near the beginning of the film).

Blue Underground's dvd of Q The Winged Serpent presents the film in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and includes a variety of extras ranging from an audio commentary with Cohen, a teaser trailer, poster and still gallery, a director's bio, and some memorabilia accessible via dvd-rom. Among some of the insights available via Cohen's audio commentary are how the film came close to starring Bruce Willis and Eddie Murphy, how the film terrorized the city - twice, making front page news once for the giant nest it left in an abandoned facility that was later assumed to be real, and then again for the film's climactic machine-gun fight in the Chrysler Building that was mistaken as a terrorist attack on the U.N. (The stills gallery even affords one a look at full page ads taken out by the director with the headline "Dear New York, Sorry If We Scared You!") Cohen obviously loves N.Y.C. even more than his flying monster, and alongside artist Mathew Barney's recent fever-dream use of the Chrysler Building in his Cremaster series, Q The Winged Serpent can lay claim to being hugely influenced by the art-deco grandeur and temple-like beauty of the recognizable skyscraper.

For more information about Q The Winged Serpent, visit Blue Underground. To order Q The Winged Serpent, go to TCM Shopping.

by Pablo Kjolseth
Q The Winged Serpent

Q The Winged Serpent

In 1982 a strange green creature helped a little boy peddle across the suburban skies and the film E.T. pulled in about $400 million domestically for the year of its release. At around the same time, albeit not on nearly as many screens, a different green creature was flying across the skies of New York City biting the heads off of window cleaners and other unsuspecting denizens of the metropolis. In regards to the latter, writer/director Larry Cohen, the irrepressible talent behind many other quality throwbacks to great B movies, managed to pull in a respectable profit for his own "little" pet project; Q The Winged Serpent. The genesis for the film could be said to have started with Larry Cohen finding out that he was fired from directing a remake of Mickey Spillane's I, The Jury and deciding to make his own movie on the fly (literally, as he boarded a helicopter and began shooting aerial shots of N.Y.C.). The impressive cast he managed to assemble at the last minute included Michael Moriarty, David Carridine, Candy Clark, and Richard Roundtree. The story would fuse crime and fantasy by pirouetting around a small-time thug (played by Moriarty) who discovers the nest of a giant predatory and flying serpent that may have been unleashed by a series of ritual sacrifices meant to awaken Quetzalcoatl, an ancient Aztec God. Ironically, Q The Winged Serpent would find release at about the same time as I, The Jury, and ended up raking in four times as much business. Q The Winged Serpent would be shot in 18 days over three six-day weeks and it delivers a fun ride for anybody in the mood for a good monster movie or an especially memorable and improvisational performance by Michael Moriarty. On the audio commentary, Larry Cohen lets the viewer know that although Moriarty has a reputation for being difficult to work with, he attributes this to the fact that the actor was often stuck with projects that were not interesting or challenging, whereas Q The Winged Serpent allowed both the director and actor to improvise dialogue and character bits and the director has nothing but praise for his lead star. For example, when Cohen found out that Moriarty had a talent for playing jazz piano, he added that to his character (and Moriarty even gets a credit for his own song, "Evil Dream," which he plays near the beginning of the film). Blue Underground's dvd of Q The Winged Serpent presents the film in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and includes a variety of extras ranging from an audio commentary with Cohen, a teaser trailer, poster and still gallery, a director's bio, and some memorabilia accessible via dvd-rom. Among some of the insights available via Cohen's audio commentary are how the film came close to starring Bruce Willis and Eddie Murphy, how the film terrorized the city - twice, making front page news once for the giant nest it left in an abandoned facility that was later assumed to be real, and then again for the film's climactic machine-gun fight in the Chrysler Building that was mistaken as a terrorist attack on the U.N. (The stills gallery even affords one a look at full page ads taken out by the director with the headline "Dear New York, Sorry If We Scared You!") Cohen obviously loves N.Y.C. even more than his flying monster, and alongside artist Mathew Barney's recent fever-dream use of the Chrysler Building in his Cremaster series, Q The Winged Serpent can lay claim to being hugely influenced by the art-deco grandeur and temple-like beauty of the recognizable skyscraper. For more information about Q The Winged Serpent, visit Blue Underground. To order Q The Winged Serpent, go to TCM Shopping. by Pablo Kjolseth

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1998

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1982

Re-released in United States on Video December 17, 1996

Shown at Avignon/New York Film Festival in New York City (French Institute) April 24 - May 3, 1998.

Released in United States 1998 (Shown at Avignon/New York Film Festival in New York City (French Institute) April 24 - May 3, 1998.)

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1982

Re-released in United States on Video December 17, 1996