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Q (also known as The Winged Serpent and Q – The Winged Serpent) is a 1982 monster film written, produced and directed by Larry Cohen and starring Michael Moriarty, Candy Clark, David Carradine, and Richard Roundtree.
|Q: The Winged Serpent|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Larry Cohen|
|Produced by||Larry Cohen|
|Written by||Larry Cohen|
|Music by||Robert O. Ragland|
|Edited by||Armond Lebowitz|
|Distributed by||United Film Distribution Company|
|October 29, 1982 (United States)|
The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, a winged, dragon-like, female lizard, takes up residence in the art-deco spire of the Chrysler Building, with frequent jaunts in the midday sun to devour various helpless New Yorkers on the rooftops. The resulting bloody mess confounds detectives, Shepard and Powell, who are already occupied with a case involving a series of bizarre ritual murders linked to a secret neo-Aztec cult.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Quinn, a cheap, paranoid crook who wishes to be a jazz pianist, takes part in a botched diamond heist. Attempting to hide from police after the heist, he stumbles upon the creature's lair atop the Chrysler building. Quinn abandons his attempts to settle down and leave his life of crime, deciding to extort from the city an enormous amount of money in exchange for directions to the creature's nest, which houses a colossal egg.
Quinn makes a deal with the city--$1 million for the location of the nest. He leads Shepard and a paramilitary assault team to the top of the Chrysler Building. First, they shoot the egg, killing the baby inside. Later, the creature comes to the tower. After the showdown, the creature, riddled with bullets, falls onto the streets of Manhattan. Finally, Shepard shoots the Plumed Serpent's crazed priest (who had been committing the ritual murders) as he tries to kill Quinn to resurrect his "god".
Ultimately, a second large egg hatches in a different location in the city.
- Michael Moriarty as Jimmy Quinn
- Candy Clark as Joan
- David Carradine as Detective Shepard
- Richard Roundtree as Sgt Powell
- James Dixon as Lt Murray
- Malachy McCourt as Commissioner Nick McConnell
- Fred J. Scollay as Captain Fletcher
- Peter Hock as Detective Harold Kipps
- Ron Cey as Detective Hoberman
- Mary Louise Weller as Mrs. Pauley
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!"
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On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 69% based on 26 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 6.2/10.Roger Ebert gave the film 2 1/2 stars in his original review but was bursting with praise for Moriarty's performance. Ebert 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!", while Arkoff replied: "The dreck was my idea."
- Patrick McGilligan, "Larry Cohen: Manic Energy", Backstory 4: Interviews with Hollywood Screenwriters of the 1970s and 1980s, Uni of California, 2006 p. 64
- Hunter, Rob (March 30, 2015). "20 Things we Learned from Larry Cohen's Commentary for Q The Winged Serpent". Film School Rejects. Reject Media, LLC. Archived from the original on September 19, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
- "Q (1982)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Archived from the original on September 22, 2011. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
- "Q (DVD)". DVDEmpire.com. Right Ascension, Inc. Archived from the original on November 8, 2011. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
- "Q (1982)". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Fandango. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- Ebert, Roger (January 1, 1982). "Q Movie Review & Film Summary (1982) - Roger Ebert". rogerebert.com. suntimes.com. Retrieved March 2, 2019.