Friday, March 18, 2016

Q, Rodan New York Style

Can a halfwit ex-junkie save New York City.  Unlike Japan, where the army and air force would mobilize when Godzilla or Rodan showed up, major U.S. cities have big budget problems.  Unless we're talking about a 32 ounce soft drink, forget about the military in NYC and make way for a very unlikely hero.  "Q," a Larry Cohen film from 1982 gives us our first big monster movie since the classic Japanese ones from the 50s and 60s.  Lotsa a fun, and a great plot, replete with that biting New York cynicism, let us take a peek.
After some gory sacrificial rites (dudes skinned alive), an ancient Aztec God re-awakens in New York in the form of a monstrous, giant bird.  The thing builds a nest atop the Chrysler Building.  Then the buffet opens, as Q (our monster) soars over NYC occasionally (often, actually) swooping down to munch on rooftop sunbathers or skyscraper window washers.  Eventually, when body parts rain on the city streets, New Yorkers realize there is a problem.  Small time hood, and a very unstable ex-junkie, Jimmy (Michael Moriarty) accidentally stumbles onto the thing's nest.  Two cynical cops (David Carradine and Richard Roundtree) desperately try to find the bird and also solve some murders where the victims were sacrificed.
Jimmy is not eager to assist the police, as he sees everyone as out to get him.  Our two detectives must convince Jimmy to do the right thing and save NYC.  No dice!  Being the only one who knows the bird's secrets makes Jimmy feel powerful for the first time in his putrid life.  Meanwhile, the big creature continues to pick off poor saps.  Not even Jimmy's very abused GF, Jane (Candy Clark) can persuade him to do the right thing. Will Jimmy develop a conscience and tell the cops where they can find the bird?
Moriarty is fantastic as the selfish hood who holds New York's future in his hands.  The monster is fantastic and Larry Cohen was obviously influenced by "King Kong" when he made this film.  Look closely for L.A. Dodger great Ron Cey as one of New York's finest.  As the Son of Sam saga was ending in the Big Apple, "Q" was probably a welcomed respite to the real horror that gripped that city for so long.  Available in great quality on YouTube, see "Q" (also knows as "Q The Winged Serpent").

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