I Shall Rise Again

Eat ’em! Eat ’em! Crunch crunch!

– Jimmy Quinn

I love this film. It has everything – flying monsters, secret cults, obstinate bureaucracy…Michael Moriarty as a small time crook. It’s just fantastic.

My earliest memories of it actually don’t have anything to do with the film itself so much as the poster for it – or, rather the box art for the VHS at my local rental place. I used to stare at that Boris Vallejo art every time I went in, wanting more than anything to watch it. Unfortunately, I was far too young at the time, and by the time I was old enough, that place was no more.

Fast forward a few years and I’m working late backstage, flipping through channels while trying to ignore the half dozen ballerinas one corridor over arguing about which one of them set off the fire alarm in the dressing room. Something catches my eye and I pause – a winged shadow passes across a skyscraper; a man is plucked screaming from a rooftop swimming pool; blood rains down upon the city.

After all that time, I’d found it. Larry Cohen’s 1982 masterpiece, Q – The Winged Serpent. Starring Michael Moriarty, Candy Clark, David Carradine and Richard Roundtree, Q is a monster movie, plain and simple. For my money, it’s probably one of the best monster movies ever filmed – or at least it’s one of my favourites. Ever since the day I rediscovered it, I’ve made it a point to watch it at least once a year, usually around Halloween. Every year, I find something new to enjoy about it.

For instance, this year I noticed how Carradine’s hardboiled Detective Shepard seems oddly unfazed by the appearance of the monster (“If I can kill it, it’s just a good old fashioned monster”), and how his superiors seem resigned to his theories rather than incredulous. As if Q isn’t the first unnatural creature Shepard has encountered – or killed.

Anyway, I highly recommend this one.