Q: The Winged Serpent (1982 film)

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Q: The Winged Serpent (1982), AKA Q, Q: Winged Serpent, Serpent, Winged Serpent


"Quetzalcoatl - You'll just have time to scream 'Q' before it tears you apart!" NYPD detectives working on a bizarre case of a ritualistic Aztec murder while something big is attacking people of New York, and a only greedy small-time crook Jimmy Quinn its lair is.


Scene from Q: The Winged Serpent (1982 film)...
  • Release Date: 1982
  • Country/Language: US, English
  • Genres/Technical: Horror (monster movie), Science Fiction, Crime, Thriller, stop-motion animation
  • Setting: 1970s/1980s New York
  • Runtime: 1 hr 33 min
  • Starring: David Carradine, Michael Moriarty, Candy Clark
  • Director: Larry Cohen
  • Writer: Larry Cohen
  • Producer/Production Co: Larry Cohen, Samuel Z. Arkoff, Arkoff International, Larco Productions
  • View Trailer: (link)
  • TVTropes: (link)
  • Wikipedia: (link)
  • IMDB Page: (link)


MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: R (Violence, Profanity, Nudity)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • SS___ (Two Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian; vaguely similar in tone, could be a very loose adaptation)

A cult prays the mythical dragon Quetzalcoatl out of its thousand-year slumber to conquer the earth, and drives it into a flesh-eating frenzy with human sacrifice.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.


Review Links:

  • (Oral history of the film by Will Harris)
  • Review by Dave Becker at 2,500 Movies Challenge (link)
  • Review by Roger Ebert at Rogerebert.com (link) (2.5 stars)
  • Review by Richard Scheib at The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review (link) (4/5 Stars)
  • Review by Richard Winters at Scopophilia, Movies of the 60's, 70's, 80's (link) (5/10)

Synopsis (SPOILERS)

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

NYPD detectives working on a bizarre case of a ritualistic Aztec murder while something big is attacking people of New York, and a only greedy small-time crook Jimmy Quinn its lair is.


Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • The French movie poster incorrectly shows the monster covered with feathers, a wavy dinosaur frill along its back, and with large white teeth. This is because it was illustrated and printed up before copies of the film were imported into France, forcing the artist to improvise based on early descriptions of the monster....
  • The cast fondly referred to the monster as "The Chicken that Ate New York".
  • The film was made on a tiny budget in an incredibly short amount of time after Larry Cohen got fired from another, bigger-budgeted movie, for warning rental companies that trusted him that the production that would fire him could not afford to pay them; Cohen still had some time left on his rental of a hotel room in New York, and wrote a quick-and-dirty movie around a fantasy he had while admiring the Chrysler Building, that the building would make a great place for a giant bird's nest; the script was written in six days and pre-production tasks such as hiring actors and equipment were completed over the same week. Filming took only three weeks, and Cohen worked on his own film in many of the same buildings at the same time as the film that he was fired from ("I, The Jury"); "Q" was finished early and under-budget, released at the same time as "I, The Jury", cost a seventh of the other film's budget, and made three times as much money, becoming a highly successful "cult classic" film and number one film, while "I, The Jury" was sold under bankruptcy and was largely forgotten by film history.
  • A review show claimed this film was done guerrilla-style with no permits, and that the sirens were genuine responses to simulated gunfire; this wasn't entirely true - there were permits, and former New York police officers were even employed to shoot guns from the rooftop of the Chrysler Building, but the gunfire still alarmed the public and officials who thought the gunfire might be terrorists firing on the nearby U.N. Building; police were dispatched to the film site to investigate just as filming for those scenes wrapped up.

Associated Mythos Elements

Keeper Notes

  • The investigators are caught in a race against time to discover the nest of a Hunting Horror, Shantak, or other winged monster terrorizing the city, while a sinister cult performing human sacrifices to the monster, and a wanted small-time criminal is the only ones who knows where the nest is hidden.