|Q: The Winged Serpent|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Larry Cohen|
|Produced by||Larry Cohen|
|Written by||Larry Cohen|
|Music by||Robert O. Ragland|
|Editing by||Armond Lebowitz|
|Distributed by||United Film Distribution Company (UFDC)|
|Release dates||October 29, 1982 (USA)|
|Running time||93 minutes|
Q (also known as The Winged Serpent and as Q – The Winged Serpent) is a 1982 fantasy-horror film written and directed by Larry Cohen and starring Michael Moriarty, Candy Clark, David Carradine, and Richard Roundtree.
The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, a winged, dragon-like, female lizard, decides to take up residence in the art-deco spire of the Chrysler Building, taking frequent jaunts in the midday sun to devour various hapless New Yorkers. The resulting bloody mess confounds detectives Dr. Shepard (David Carradine) and Sgt. Powell (Richard Roundtree), who are already occupied with a case involving a series of bizarre ritual murders linked to a secret Aztec cult. Meanwhile, Jimmy Quinn (Michael Moriarty), a cheap, paranoid crook who wishes to be a jazz pianist, takes part in a botched diamond heist that leads him to the creature's lair atop the building. This causes Quinn's attempts to settle down and turn over a new leaf from crime to be in vain as he decides to extort from the city an enormous amount of money in exchange for directions to the creature's nest, which houses a colossal egg.
The details of the location fall into Shepard's hands, and he leads a paramilitary assault on the Chrysler Building. After the showdown, the creature, riddled with bullets, falls to the streets of Manhattan. In the final scene, the egg hatches as the screen fades to black, leaving the audience on a cliffhanger for a sequel that has never been made.
- Michael Moriarty as Jimmy Quinn
- Candy Clark as Sailor Joel
- David Carradine as Dr. Shepard
- Richard Roundtree as Sergeant Powell
- James Dixon as Lieutenant Murray
- Malachy McCourt as Commissioner Nick McConnell
- Fred J. Scollay as Captain Fletcher
- Peter Hock as Detective Harold Kipps
- Ron Cey as Officer Hoberman
- Mary Louise Weller as Mrs. Pauley
The movie was shot on location in and around New York city's Chrysler Building and uses the interior of the building's tower crown as a primary location.
The original music score was composed by Robert O. Ragland.
The film was marketed with the tagline "It's [sic] name is Quetzalcoatl... just call it Q, that's all you'll have time to say before it tears you apart!"
The film poster's glossy monster illustration was painted by science fiction/fantasy artist Boris Vallejo.
The special effects for the flying serpent were done using stop-motion animation.
Roger Ebert gave the film 2 and 1/2 stars in his original review but was bursting with praise for Moriarty's performance. He relates the anecdote that, when movie reviewer Rex Reed met Q's producer, Samuel Z. Arkoff, Reed told him "What a surprise! All that dreck—and right in the middle of it, a great Method performance by Michael Moriarty!" Arkoff replied "The dreck was my idea." Andrew Smith at Popcorn Pictures said that the film was tough going at times but picked up whenever the monster was on screen.
- Patrick McGilligan, "Larry Cohen: Manic Energy", Backstory 4: Interviews with Hollywood Screenwriters of the 1970s and 1980s, Uni of California, 2006 p. 64
- "Q (1982)". the -numbers.com. Retrieved 2011-04-16.
- "Company Credits for Q". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2011-04-16.
- "Q (DVD)". dvdempire.com. Retrieved 2011-04-16.
- Roger Ebert's review
- Q, The Winged Serpent (1982) Review Popcorn Pictures
- Q at the Internet Movie Database
- Q at AllMovie
- Q at Rotten Tomatoes
- Q at the TCM Movie Database
- An oral history of the cult classic Q: The Winged Serpent by Will Harris