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A series of mysterious & bizarre murders baffle police inspectors
Shepard (David Carradine) & Powell (Richard Roundtree), as on one hand
people are picked from rooftops & horribly mutilated, on the other hand,
some killings seem to be performed in a ritualistic manner ... & then
people even claim to have seen a big bird ...
Shepard soon does some research on unorthodox places & digs up the
legend of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, who was symbolized by a winged, feathered
serpent & who was worshipped by human sacrifices, like the ones in the
murder-series ... but try telling that to the commissioner (Malachy McCourt)
It seems only luckless & nervy small-fry gangster/pianist Jimmy Quinn
(Michael Moriarty) has any clue about what's really going on when he finds a
giant egg, a birds nest & some corpses on the top floor of the Chrysler
Building ... but he's in no position to go to the authorities, as he has taken
part in a jewellery heist, & is now on the run not only from the police but
also from his ex-partners, who think he's gotten away with the loot.
The gangsters however soon catch up with him, but thank god at just the
right time he remembers his findings atop Chrysler Building & feeds them to
the egg's mommy - which proves to be a giant flying serpent.
But luckless as Jimmy is, he soon runs into the police too & is arrested
for the heist ... when he sees his big chance coming, & sells his knowledge
about the flying serpent to the police for immunity from the law, one million
in cash, & of course the book rights.
The cops - led by Shepard - do indeed find the nest with the egg, see the
egg hatching & destroy the hatchling - which seems to be dangerous enough,
But since they haven't found the mother-serpent too, they somehow manage to
wriggle out of the deal of paying the million dollars, leaving Jimmy furious,
so furious in fact that his girlfriend (Candy Clark) breaks up with him.
the Chrysler Building meanwhile the situation heats up again as mother serpend
is coming back - & boy is she miffed to find her offspring dead ... only
eventually can she be shot.
... in a fleapit of a hotel, Jimmy is pitying
himself for having gambled & lost everything ... when the serial killer who
has performed all the bloody Aztec-like rituals to awake Quetzalcoats shows up
on his doorstep, & proves to be pretty miffed that Jimmy's tip-off brought
his god down. Only moments before he can sacrifice Jimmy too is he shot down by
Shepard, who, with the winged serpent dead, still had to follow up some loose
ends concerning the ritualistic killings.
Larry Cohen was always the
thinking man's exploitation director, was every now & again delivering some
sharp satire & social commentary with his enjoyable b-pictures. In this
respect, Q might be one of his less-significant pictures, it is however
still a fun hommage to 1950's monster-movies, with an enjoyably silly plot,
some biting satire (like the small fry gangster seeing his big chance in a
murderous beast, & demanding a full pardon - like Nixon), nicely drawn
characters, some edgy acting (especially Michael Moriarty as the nervy
anti-hero), nice creature effects, & a great use of New York City as a part
of the story instead of as just a fancy backdrop.