By John mathews
Larry Cohen is a director that makes an array of movies, his movies are mainly satirical. If Cohen had not stuck with the horror genre, I'm sure he would have had a far more successful career. He is a very good screen writer and his talent shined later on in his career with 'phone booth' and 'cellular.' The winged winged serpant is Cohen at his best, I first saw it on an old roadshow VHS as a kid, the cover excited me greatly. After re-viewing it on blu ray, my opinion hasn't changed too much, that it's a fun and hilarious movie.
Essentially the plot involves a winged giant dragon type creature that flies the skies of New York, we won't see it at first. It goes around ripping innocent New Yorkers in half, going from rooftop to rooftop. We are the introduced to Michael Moriarty who plays Johnny Quinn. Johnny is a criminal and Micheal plays an excellent role, as Micheal moriarty is a brilliant actor. It's unfortunate that he also got caught up to much in the horror genre, but for fans of horror it's also a blessing. His best role would have to be It's Alive 3.
Johnny is a criminal and after a diamond heist, tries to find a place to hideout. He then finds the winged serpents egg which is in a skyscraper of New York City. The Chrysler building plays a significant role within the films overall plot.
David Carradine gives a very strong performance as a detective in New York City, he's on the trail of this killer dragon going around New York City. The stop motion effects are actually really good for a low budget movie, and there is plenty of humour to be found and Larry Cohens script. The thing about this movie is you never feel bored, the action is intense, the epic shooting finale most amazing that you will see in a B grade movie. There is also a subplot involving an Aztec cult, a cult that appears to be worshipping the giant beast and sacrificing its victims to it. Det. Shepard is on the case trying to solve the bizarre murders. Richard Roundtree plays Sgt. Powell his sideskid, and gives the occasional comic relief to the usual serious and deadpan Carradine.
Larry cohens movie usually have political meaning, the stuff was about corporations, it's alive was about pollution. The winged serpent however I'm not sure has a political message or it gets lost in the action, unless I missed something. It's by no means a masterpiece but just overall downright fun.
Umbrella bring us a 1080p blu ray in an aspect ratio of 1:78. For a film more than 30 years old the transfer looks pretty good, the daytime seems really bring out the transfer with beautiful blue skies and red blood. Indoor shots can be a bit grainy and dark at times, however I believe that this was shot on a low budget film stock and even at the time was not of the highest quality. The stop motion seems obviously show grainn because that is how we were shot. I must say umbrella has done a fantastic job; even though the image appears soft at times it is a really good restoration for such an old cult classic. Bravo!
The audio was solid, the dialogue comes up nice and Chris on the audio system. The music and sound effects really do show off with the orchestral blast of scenes of suspense. It is a usual presentation for a film of such age and low budget.
2014 Audio Commentary with Larry Cohen
Confessions Of A Low Budget Maverick - a 2014 interview with writer/producer/director Larry Cohen (25 mins)
Now for the extras our local release is very lucky, we actually have an exclusive 25 minutes interview with Larry Cohen. This is found no other release but only the local umbrella Australian release. It is very formative and in-depth.
We also get a audio commentary by: as explains the making of the film a little fun facts on behind the production to create the giant beast. He explains the company that produced it and why it was unfortunately only given a limited theatrical release.
And then we obviously get the standard trailers which are very entertaining and fun. It interesting to see how it was marketed.
Overall: 4/5 (Buy it!)
Buy The Blu Ray from Umbrella.