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Rated R
Copyright 1982 Arkoff International and Larco Prod Inc.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 15 April 2001

The Characters:  

  • Jimmy - Michael Moriarty! Small time crook with a deficiency in the intelligence department.
  • Joan - She seems to like small-minded, greedy, and clumsy jerks who abuse their girlfriends.
  • Detective Shepard - David Carradine! Any professional law enforcement officer willing to lay blame on an Aztec god in his report is okay by me. Dirty Harry might have gotten away with murder, but let's see him spell "Huhueteotl."
  • Sgt Powell - Richard Roundtree! At some point he picked up a badge and is now struggling to cope with police brutality. Dude is always angry. (Daaammmnn right!)
  • Australopithecus Woman - She's living with Shepard and must be either his girlfriend or wife. "Girl Interrupted?" I think not, more like "Evolution Interrupted."
  • Some Diamond Thieves - Aztec god chow.
  • Kahea - Psycho that likes the idea of a voracious creature flitting around Manhattan. Shot for his religious beliefs.
  • Quetzalcoatl - Winged Aztec god awoken from hibernation by Kahea's sacrifices. It terrorizes the skies over New York City before being shot full of holes by the police. Strangely enough, chicken nuggets would soon become a popular fast food item.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Notice: That "Freedom of Religion" amendment does not include conducting human sacrifices, even when the sacrifice signs a waiver. Just another sure sign of how the European invaders have consistently imposed their society on natives of North and South America.

Well, perhaps we should just blame it on the fact that the New York City Police Department has always had a strong Irish membership. They are Roman Catholics and, as such, hardly look kindly on the worship of ancient Aztec gods. Ones that have a bad habit of flying around, often eating practicing Roman Catholics (even if they are Italian), tend to be really frowned upon.

Strange deaths are plaguing the otherwise safe streets of New York. Window washers are mysteriously beheaded while earning their living and flayed bodies have been found in hotel rooms. Shepard's investigation turns up even more intriguing information; the bodies are part of Aztec rituals intended to supplicate a giant winged serpent named Quetzalcoatl. Hold on, there is more! The departed were willing participants in their own deaths. Can you imagine trying to lie still and become one with harmony while a madman slowly cuts your chest open? All without Novocain or strong whiskey to dull the nerve endings. Mass never looked so good and that's not even part of my branch of Christianity.

Shepard is shaken by the ramifications of what he learns. Imagine the problem of every fanatic knowing he could summon a bloodthirsty archon by following the directions in half a dozen textbooks on primitive cultures. Complete madness! You can be certain some fool is going to make that giant hydraulic orgy machine required to conjure the Lord of Chaos. Of course, it might already have been done, meaning that Ron Jeremy is only a shell hiding the demon's true form.

Quetzalcoatl flies around the city, eating hapless construction workers and women sunbathing nude. Before I forget, here is some wisdom for any ladies who like to even out their tan on the roof. Make sure you are on the tallest building. Who do you think invented telescopes and binoculars anyway? Us men! Despite what professors might tell you, those renaissance scientists were not trying to get a good look at the moon. They knew that someday there would be tall buildings and maidens would disrobe to enjoy the sun's rays. Only with a device able to peer far distances would a peeping Hans (some of you get it, others are probably thinking I meant to type "Galileo") be able to get a clear picture. There can be no doubt: they were men of vision, men of the future..

Parallel to the main plot is Jimmy's failed attempt to be a positive member of society. Immoral and stupid to the bone, he refuses to look for an honest job. Instead the jerk hooks up with a group of small time crooks that holdup a jewelry shop. In the middle of said heist Jimmy loses his nerve (realizes he never had any in the first place is more like it, but you understand) and bolts. Having stolen several thousand dollars in diamonds and made good an escape, it is time for Jimmy to commit a standard bonehead mistake. Jaywalking across a busy street will do nicely, so he does. Ah, a fool and his diamonds are soon parted by a hurtling cab.

Limping now, the moron enters the Chrysler Building and climbs all the way to the spire. First off, if my leg is bruised and swelling, I'm not going to hide somewhere that involves climbing lots of stairs. Secondly, I didn't realize it was that easy to infiltrate a major office building. Jimmy finds something amazing though; inside the tower's spire is a huge nest with a tenant. A fittingly huge egg sits in the nest!

Jimmy's discovery is important for a surprising reason. The enormous flying creature has been flitting around New York, snatching people off rooftops, but nobody has really seen it! You absolutely have to be joking, right? It is the size and shape of a legendary dragon, lives in one of the most populated cities in the world, and has not been photographed? Our police friends will explain this by it "staying in the sun." Negative, that does not compute. Several times the monster is flying only a few hundred feet from the ground. It might not be on radar, but any bored office worker (there might be a few of those around in NYC) could look out and behold stop motion made flesh.

The appearance of a flying god would undeniably attract the attention of America's military; except in this movie. The police department is given the task of finding and killing Quetzalcoatl. Okay, so maybe they would undeniably begin a systematic search of locations where the creature might be nesting. No, they don't do that either. What they do is wait with thumbs stuck up their butts until a brainless crook blackmails the city.

Greed will make a genius out of simpletons; for the luckless goon says, "I know where the nest is and will reveal it for one million dollars, plus exclusive rights to the story and immunity for my crimes." The immunity clause is important; he was in hot water with his "business associates" over the diamonds and tricked them into becoming Quetzalcoatl snacks.

Armed with submachine guns, the police kill the young god as it hatches and spring a trap for mama bird. South American cultures should have taken a few hints from the European oppressors, like making your god invulnerable to "normal" weapons. Perforated by bullets, the divinely stricken chicken vindicates Nietzsche by dying. Shepard even hunts down the man who brought the god back, but it appears this story is not over. The Aztecs must have coined the phrase, "never put all your eggs in one basket."

I've gone on at length about the film's many problems, though flagrant disregard for anything approaching plausibility would be more accurate. "Q: The Winged Serpent" is still a fun movie. The inexplicable plot makes it entertaining and the monster is a real crowd pleaser.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Window washers are not fooling anybody.
  • Flaying is a lost art.
  • The top of the Chrysler Building is a slum.
  • Pigeons are carnivorous.
  • Men do not find physically fit women attractive.
  • Nixon's pardon set a bad precedent.
  • Mimes are actually undercover police officers.
  • Lawyers will only show up when a briefcase full of money is present.
  • .38 pistols do not have a lot of stopping power (well, duh).

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 2 mins - You really cannot hear anything from the outside, but without the squeaking he would be less annoying.
  • 5 mins - The Red Balloon! Noooo!
  • 16 mins - Great job Mr. Security Man. Keep it up.
  • 19 mins - Happens to me all the time. I try to take a leak and pigeons attack, then a bloody skeleton (still intact and wearing a bracelet) falls on my back.
  • 26 mins - Yes! Please turn off the lights! Unfortunately you'll still be able to feel her body hair. Ewwwww.
  • 45 mins - They have to read it to you, but nowhere does the law say they are not allowed to be sarcastic.
  • 76 mins - Who would have known that the Statue of Liberty figured so prominently in Aztec religion?


  • Joan: "And I told you, the next time you hit me I'll break a lamp over your head while you're asleep!"
  • Police Captain: "My God, with a wingspan like you're talking about here that thing could fly miles into New York City every day. And it would do that of course, you know, because New York is famous for good eating."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note q1.wav Powell: "The only place I haven't looked is up in the parapets."
Shepard: "There won't me much left of it. Did you ever drop a cantaloupe from forty stories?"
Green Music Note q2.wav Shepard: "Let me get this straight, you're talking about human sacrifice now?"
Curator: "Willing sacrifice, they give themselves to the god willingly."
Green Music Note q3.wav Jimmy being dumb and weird. "I see dead things. Muh!"
Green Music Note q4.wav Jimmy: "You pay the God damned lottery winner one million dollars and I'm saving the Big Apple ten...a hundred million dollars, maybe a billion dollars and you're going to welch on one million lousy dollars?"

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipq1.mpg - 2.1m
Quetzalcoatl comes swooping down to snatch up a poor schmuck and manages to ruin the pool party. At least after this scene the authorities believe an Aztec god is flying around Manhattan.

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