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Q: The Winged Serpent

original movie poster for Q
Directed by Larry Cohen
Produced by Larry Cohen
Written by Larry Cohen
Starring Michael Moriarty
Candy Clark
David Carradine
Richard Roundtree
James Dixon
Ron Cey
Music by Robert O. Ragland
Cinematography Robert Levi
Fred Murphy
Editing by Armond Lebowitz
Distributed by United Film Distribution Company (UFDC)
Release date(s) October 29, 1982 (USA)
Running time 93 mins
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,200,000 (estimated)

Q (also known as The Winged Serpent and as Q - The Winged Serpent) is a 1982 horror film written and directed by Larry Cohen and starring Michael Moriarty, Candy Clark, David Carradine, and Richard Roundtree. 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!" Roger Ebert gave the film 2 and 1/2 stars in his original review but was bursting with praise for Moriarty's performance. He 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!" Arkoff replied "The dreck was my idea."[1]



The film's premise is that the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, the "winged serpent", has been resurrected by a cult in modern New York City and is flying about, snatching people off the skyscrapers. Carradine and Roundtree play police detectives investigating the sudden rash of suspicious deaths, disappearances and dismemberings. Meanwhile a petty criminal (Moriarty), on the run after a failed robbery, accidentally discovers the creature's lair and tries to blackmail the city into paying for the information.

Q is laced with Cohen's trademark throwaway humour. Confronted with the mysterious death of a window cleaner, a detective reasons "maybe his head got loose and fell off", and later someone speculates that the monster may have come to the Big Apple because "New York is famous for good eating".

The movie was shot on location in and around the Chrysler Building and uses the actual interior of the building's cone as a primary set; astonishingly, the inside of the cone resembles an unfinished attic, with two-by-fours on the floor.

Like Cohen's earlier God Told Me To, Q notes the similarities between gods and monsters; at one point Carradine's character speculates that the only real difference between the two is that monsters can be killed.

Main cast


External links



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