After a brief period of writers’ block, Kenneth Morgan takes a monstrous trip to Denmark.
I’m really getting worried about American Movie Classics.
Now, I realize that there are only so many classic movies, and that, in order to fill up time, they just have to put on less-than-great flicks occasionally. Also, with Turner Classic Movies buying up the rights to great movies right and left, AMC doesn’t have the inventory it once had. And, it must be said, they still air many truly classic movies, like “The Naked City” and “Sunset Boulevard”.
But how in the blazes can they justify putting on today’s subject, “Reptilicus”, even during infomercial hours?
From the producers of the awful “Angry Red Planet”, “Reptilicus” begins with a group of mining explorers in Lapland digging up some prehistoric monster guts. They send said guts to scientists in Copenhagen for study, making sure to keep them frozen. Following a few instances of utter stupidity, the guts thaw out and begin to grow and “regenerate”. Unfortunately for the viewer, they don’t turn into Tom Baker or Paul McGann. They grow into a snake-like giant reptile they call Reptilicus. (I guess the Japanese had already taken all the cool-sounding monster names.)
Reptilicus eventually escapes and starts taking out local shipping, though we are shown none of this. The Danish Navy hits it with depth charges while it’s asleep undersea, but it regenerates again and attacks Copenhagen, which makes a change from the usual Tokyo. Oh, I forgot to mention: Remember how Godzilla breathed fearsome radioactive fire? Well, Reptilicus kills people by spitting up poisonous, acidic gunk. (I’m not making this up; it pukes bystanders to death!) Anyway, the Army stops it, leading to an unresolved conclusion with a “The End?” coda.
This utter waste of a movie would’ve made a perfect MST experiment. The effects are laughably cheap, the monster being a non-terrifying hand puppet on obviously HO-scale sets. The actors’ voices are all dubbed and the star power is provided by a guy who looks vaguely like Jack Elam. He plays a night watchman (in bib overalls!) who makes Droppo of Mars look like Rex Harrison. The other characters aren’t much better. There’s the studly mining expert, the ill-tempered general, the blond decoration from UNESCO, the old scientist with two oversexed daughters, and a few others who aren’t worth your time. Add in some boring travelogue shots and you’ve got the kind of movie that either makes me nostalgic for good ol’ Gamera or makes me ill, I’m not sure which.
So, what did I really think of this movie? Let me put it this way: the best part was when the movie was interrupted for a test of the Emergency Alert System.
AMC, you should be ashamed of yourself!
Well, my writing skills improved later on.
Watch out for snakes.