Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reptilicus (1961)

I can't help myself. I love movies like these. Especially when they pack the script will all manner of pseudo science, that if you don't pay attention to, would lead you to believe that we are just one snow thaw away from the return of creatures like 'Reptilicus' (who we can all agree got one of the all time great movie monster names). You get stodgy old professors with hot daughters to be threatened and romanced by the hot shot young ethnopaleobiogist/gigalo. Oh look, there is coloured liquid in glass test tubes. That MUST mean a science lab. Of course the only way to TRULY study a fossilized creature is to bring it back to life, allow it to grow to freakish size and terrorized Denmark's capital. Since the city is in Europe, destroying it is of no consequence to North American audiences even though the filmakers make sure to give us the nickle tour of Copenhagen so we can see exactly what is gonna get wrecked by the evil monster. Who wants to bet me that the simple guy in the coveralls that the scientists get to watch their frozen piece of dinosaur will be the first to die? No one? Crap, you have seen this one before. Don't tell me how it ends. I got money on Reptilicus. Of course if the gruff American general has anything to say about it there will be Reptilicus burgers on the menu for supper. You gotta love how this movie sticks to all the great creature feature conventions. Everything bad happens during a lightning storm to the assistant scientist first. No one believes the night watchman that cries wolf. The military under reacts initially then overreacts. They make good use of the Danish military who obviously were co-opted to assist with the production and the monster effects are top notch for the time except for when Reptilicus spits acid or eats villagers. Those moments look silly and cartoony at best. If you are gonna have such a weak looking effect it would have been best not to use it at all. It wouldn't have effected the plot or actions of the beast in anyway. The pursuit and battle with the creature take at least half the movie. I liked the way they used the Danish landmarks and countryside to give the movie a look and feel unlike anything we are used to in this kind of horror tale. Even the population of the capital come out to act as the terrified fleeing citizenry.

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