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Danish theatrical release poster
Directed byDanish version:
Poul Bang
English version:
Sidney W. Pink
Written byIb Melchior
Sidney W. Pink
StarringCarl Ottosen
Ann Smyrner
Mimi Heinrich
Dirch Passer
CinematographyAage Wiltrup
Edited bySven Methling
Edith Nisted Nielsen
Music bySven Gyldmark
Distributed byAmerican International Pictures (USA)
Saga Studios (Denmark)
Release date
  • February 20, 1961 (1961-02-20)
Running time
81 minutes
United States
Box office$800,000[2]

Reptilicus is a 1961 Danish-American giant monster film about a prehistoric reptile. The film was produced by American International Pictures and Saga Studio and separate versions were released in Denmark and in the United States.

The original Danish-language version was directed by Danish director Poul Bang and released in Denmark on February 25, 1961.

The American version, which was in English with a nearly identical cast, was directed by the film's American producer-director Sidney W. Pink; this version was initially deemed virtually unreleasable by American International Pictures and had to be extensively reworked by the film's Danish-American screenwriter, Ib Melchior, before being finally released in America in 1962. Pink was angry at the changes and wound up in a legal dispute with AIP.[1] After Pink and others viewed the English-language version, however, the lawsuit was dropped.[3]


Danish miner Svend Viltorft digs up a section of a giant reptile's tail from the frozen grounds in Lapland, where he and other miners are drilling. The section is flown to the Denmark's Aquarium in Copenhagen, where it is preserved in a cold room for scientific study. But due to careless mishandling, the room is left open and the section begins to thaw, only for scientists to find that it is starting to regenerate.

Professor Otto Martens, who is in charge of the aquarium, dubs the reptilian species "Reptilicus" (upon a reporter's suggestion) and compares its regeneration abilities to that of other animals like starfish.

Once fully regenerated from the tail section, Reptilicus goes on an unstoppable rampage from the Danish countryside to the panic-stricken streets of Copenhagen (including one of its famous landmarks, Langebro Bridge). The monster is finally rendered unconscious by a sedative developed by ingenious scientists and shot into its mouth from a bazooka fired by Gen. Grayson.

However, the film is left open-ended. A final shot shows one of Reptilicus' legs, which had been blown off earlier by the Danish Navy's depth charges, sitting on the sea floor, raising the possibility that it could regenerate into a new Reptilicus.



American theatrical release poster by Reynold Brown

Filming took place in several locations in Denmark, including Copenhagen, Sjælland, and Jylland.[4] Several versions were filmed. The original was filmed using the native Danish language and the second was filmed using the English language. Each version of the film featured the same actors, with the exception of Bodil Miller, who was replaced by actress Marla Behrens since the Danish actress could not speak English. However, the English version of the film was heavily edited, including altering footage to show Reptilicus vomiting acid venom, and the actors' voices dubbed over by American International Pictures for its release in the United States.[5]


Theatrical release[edit]

As Denmark's only giant monster film, this film has a cult following in its home country.[6] Sidney Pink attempted to produce a remake of the film in 2001, due to the box office success of Godzilla in 1998, before his death in 2002.[citation needed]

The film was "riffed" as the first entry of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return (a.k.a. Season 11), released by Netflix on April 14, 2017.[7]

Home video[edit]

The American version of Reptilicus was released on DVD on April 1, 2003, by MGM Home Entertainment under the Midnite Movies banner.[8] The Danish version was released on DVD from Sandrew Metronome in 2002. On June 16, 2015, the film was released in the Blu-ray format by Scream Factory as a double feature with the 1977 film Tentacles.[9]


Reptilicus received mostly negative reviews from American critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 25% based on 8 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 3.9/10.[10]

Author and film critic Leonard Maltin awarded the film a BOMB, his lowest rating for a film. In his review on the film Maltin wrote that the film was "only good for laughs as [the] script hits every conceivable monster-movie cliché, right to the final shot."[11] TV Guide gave the film one out of a possible four stars, calling it "A fair-to-poor monster film".[12] Matt Brunson from Creative Loafing gave the film a negative review, writing "Awkward dubbing of foreign actors, special effects that look like they cost a buck fifty, laughably earnest dialogue, wince-inducing comic relief from a dim-witted character — if ever a movie was made that deserved to be showcased on the cult series (MST3K) it's this one."[13]

Novel and comic book version[edit]

A novelization of the film was released in paperback at the time of its original release (Reptilicus by Dean Owen (Monarch Books 1961)).[5]

In 1961, Charlton Comics produced a comic book based on the film. Reptilicus lasted two issues.[14] After the copyright had lapsed, Charlton modified the creature's look and renamed it Reptisaurus. The series was now renamed Reptisaurus the Terrible and would continue from issue #3 before being cancelled with issue #8 in 1962.[15] This was followed by a one-shot called Reptisaurus Special Edition in 1963.[16]

In 2012, Scary Monsters Magazine reprinted the Reptisaurus the Terrible series as a black and white collection called Scarysaurus the Scary.[17]

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mark McGee, Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures
  2. ^ Doto, Kip. Reptilicus the Screenplay. Bayou Publishing. p. 15.
  3. ^ White, Mike (2013). Cinema Detours. pp. 135–. ISBN 978-1-300-98117-6.
  4. ^ "Reptilicus (1961) – Filming Locations – IMDb". Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Reptilicus (1961) – Trivia – IMDb". Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Monsterfiasko blev kult". Dansk Filmskat (in Danish). Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  7. ^ Cooper, Gael Fashingbauer (April 17, 2017). "New 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' episodes make the grade". CNET. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  8. ^ "Reptilicus (1962) – Sidney Pink". Allmovie. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  9. ^ Gallman, Brett (4 July 2015). "Horror Reviews – Reptilicus (1961)". Oh! The Horror. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Reptilicus (1963) – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  11. ^ Maltin, Leonard (29 September 2015). Turner Classic Movies Presents Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide: From the Silent Era Through 1965: Third Edition. Penguin Publishing Group. p. 568. ISBN 978-0-698-19729-9.
  12. ^ "Reptilicus – Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings". TV TV Guide. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  13. ^ Brunson, Matt. "Chappie, Reptilicus, Spirited Away, The Sunshine Boys among new home entertainment titles". Creative Matt Brunson. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  14. ^ "GCD :: Covers :: Reptilicus".
  15. ^ "GCD :: Covers :: Reptisaurus".
  16. ^ "GCD :: Covers :: Reptisaurus Special Edition".
  17. ^ "SCARYSAURUS #1 – Reprint Book".

Further reading[edit]

  • Dean Owen: Reptilicus (Monarch Books 1961)
  • Sidney W. Pink: So You Want to Make Movies (Pineapple Press 1989)
  • Robert Skotak: Ib Melchior – Man of Imagination (Midnight Marquee Press 2000)
  • Nicolas Barbano: "Twice Told Tails – The Two Versions of Reptilicus", in Video Watchdog #96 (2003)

External links[edit]