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Q: The Winged Serpent (1982) - Blu-ray Review

{2jtab: Movie Review}

Q: The Winged Serpent - Blu-ray Review


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3 stars

I’m being generous with a 3 star review for Larry Cohen’s flawed movie, I know.  Kick dust at me.  Go ahead.  The gimme-my-paycheck acting of David Carradine is terrible; the court scenes are grueling at best; the twitching of Michael Moriarty, the dopiness of it all, the special effects, the numerous face palm moments etc.  I get it.  But damn it, I love monster movies - to an almost obsession level - and I don’t care who knows about it.  I love them.  And writer/director Cohen, going old school all the way with stop-motion animation not unlike a great Ray Harryhausen flick, gives his beloved and oft ridiculed Q: The Winged Serpent his very best attention and efforts.

Released in 1982 but just now getting a Blu-Ray makeover courtesy of Shout! Factory, Q: The Winged Serpent is the story of a great discovery made by a musician and petty criminal running from some thugs.  Located in the Chrysler Building is a giant nest belonging to a flying serpent.  Yes, a huge flying snake.  This Aztec god has been summoned by a lunatic in South American Aztec garb who is ritually killing New Yorkers as sacrifices in Quetzalcoatl’s honor.  Now you see where the Q comes from!

The police – including Shaft’s Richard Roundtree – suspect the uber twitchy Moriarty for the murders but his nervous appearance is only holding back his knowledge of a giant egg.  It’s a great discovery and he wants all the fame he can achieve.  When the usual tactics of getting information out of a suspected killer don’t work, Carradine and Roundtree escort him to the Chrysler Building and then they realize it’s too late.  A monster is wiping out the city’s inhabitants.

Q swoops down upon the famed city that never sleeps and rips people a part, lifts them off buildings and drops them down below.  He also attacks and attacks. With gore to a minimum – unless clay people being dropped from skyscrapers bothers you – Cohen brings his monster to life with a threat to every average citizen.  Run!  Duck!  Hide!  Face palm for those dumb enough to keep on nude sunbathing on the top of the skyscrapers and such.

The final showdown might be ripped straight out of King Kong but without the same impact yet Q still manages to be a thrilling yarn about the ineptitude of the New York Police Department as it bumbles its way through a murder investigation of … hmm … epic proportions.  The body count is high but the sky Q flies through is higher.  Look, if you aren’t a fan of monsters then skip this release.  It isn’t for you.  For everyone else looking for the next monster movie to tackle, this release provides your quest.

Q: The Winged Serpent demands your presence at his alter.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Q: The Winged Serpent - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: This title has not been rated by the MPAA.
93 mins.
: Larry Cohen
Writer: Pete Goldfinger & Josh Stolberg
Michael Moriarty, Candy Clark, David Carradine, Richard Roundtree, James Dixon
Genre: Drama | Fantasy | Horror
Tagline: You'll just have time to scream... before it tears you apart!
Memorable Movie Quote: "I am the plumed serpent, I fly, and I crawl... I have fallen, but I shall rise again!"
United Film Distribution Company
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 29, 1982
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 27, 2013

Synopsis: New York police are bemused by a spate of reports of a giant flying lizard that has been spotted around the rooftops of New York, which they assume to be bogus until the lizard starts to eat people. An out-of-work, ex-con piano player is the only person who knows the location of the monster's nest and is determined to turn the knowledge to his advantage, but will his gamble pay off or will he end up as lizard food?

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Q: The Winged Serpent - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
3 stars

2 stars

Blu-ray Experience
2.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - August 27, 2013
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
: None
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A, B

Unfortunately, Shout! Factory’s 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer is all over the place.  At times, it’s fairly clean and, at other times, it looks as messy as some of the shoddy stop-motion effects that percolate throughout the picture.  A thick lathering of grain dominates the picture but large portions of the flick are just too soft.  There is nary a fine edge throughout.  And while black levels are solid, the blacks are bleeding all over the place.  Contrast is fairly bland and feels muted but the colors fare the best with a healthy upgrade of strong brights and deep dark levels.  All in all, this is an okay release but Shout! Factory can do and has done better with other releases.  The  DTS-HD Master Audio mono soundtrack is better than the picture but not by much.



  • Provided by writer/producer/director Larry Cohen, the informative commentary is highly entertaining and filled with anecdotes about the filming, the monster, and the actors on the set of the movie.  Good stuff from the man who brought cool classics such as It’s Alive, God Told Me To, and The Stuff to life.

Special Features:

Keeping with that simple theme, the extras on this new Blu-ray from Shout! Factory are sadly minimalistic. Other than that commentary track with writer/producer/director Larry Cohen, there is a trailer and a teaser. That’s it.

  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Teaser

{2jtab: Trailer}


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