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STUDIO Shout! Factory
RUNNING TIME 92 minutes
• Theatrical Trailer
An Aztec god invades Manhattan. It happens.
Larry Cohen (writer/director). David Carradine. Michael Moriarty. Candy Clark. Richard Roundtree.
The first image in Quetzacoatl’s starring vehicle includes the World Trade Center. Then a man washing windows and ogling a broad gets his head eaten off by a thus-unseen winged serpent. Then we get to see Michael Moriarty feed and then we see a skinned man and his ruined penis. Then boobies. Then the sky bleeds on 80’s people.
That folks is how you say “Larry Cohen operating on all cylinders”.
Q‘s a dated film, one which clings to a 70’s aesthetic and even older special effects standards but there’s a charm to it that’s unmistakable. It’s also an absolute rush job of a movie and it shows. The premise is your typical ‘Cop and thief against a winged reptile fueled by human sacrifices’ movie filled to the rim with tough thugs, angry policemen, harried girlfriends, and baby Aztec Godcreatures aborted before having their moment in the sun. Michael Moriarty plays a weird small-time crook who likes his girlfriend and making up uncomfortable jazzy tunes when sitting at a piano. When a heist goes bad he retreats to the top of the Chrysler Building and finds a giant egg and a body whose lack of skin totally reeks of a flying stop-motion lizard. Soon the thugs he double crossed (not really) want him dead, the police want his information, and his girlfriend (the always lovely Candy Clark) just wants him to stay out of trouble. He doesn’t.
Mama Q is hauling ass across the city in jerkily executed animation and she doesn’t take kindly to future Law & Order individuals messing with her sweet gig.
David Carradine plays a smartmouthed, leather jacketed cop who’s keen to the Q-related incidents in the city. OF COURSE it’s an Aztec god kicking the city’s ass. When he and Moriarty cross paths a cinematic pairing of legendary (not really) talents convene and the results are only mildly entertaining. Carradine totally gets the material as well and he tries his damndest. Unfortunately he’s still David Carradine.
Q was a seminal part of my childhood. So was my smiley face pillow and pajamas with bumpy plastic soles sewn to them. It’s a silly movie with attack sequences that have very little life to them and though the concept of the movie is terrific the usage of effects is much weaker even than Harryhausen movies from decades before. Especially when the winged monstrosity’s glass reflection is also flying around the city in the film’s climax. How it works best is as an oddly charismatic low budget affair with a clever filmmaker trying to weave magic with gym socks. A few fun bits and transitions aside, this is a movie out of time. It’s a boilerplate cop movie of the era with a flying asshole thrown in for extra measure.
I love it but it’s a goddamn Buick.
Shout Factory rocks and the transfer is nice, it sounds as good as possible, and the ol’ Larry Cohen commentary track is in place. What’s not to like, aside from the horrendously late 70’s/early 80’s vibe of the thing.