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Q Reviews

Larry Cohen once again proves himself to be among the most creative, original, and intelligent American horror film directors in this bizarre masterwork, which successfully combines a film noir crime story with a good old-fashioned "giant monster" movie. Michael Moriarty turns in a brilliant performance as Jimmy Quinn, an ex-con, former junkie, and small-time hood looking to make one big score. After robbing a Manhattan diamond center, he hides out in the tower of the Chrysler Building and discovers a large hole in the dome of the structure, containing a huge nest with an equally large egg and several partially devoured human corpses. Meanwhile, the New York City police have been plagued by a bizarre string of deaths, and Detective Shepard (David Carradine) and Sgt. Powell (Richard Roundtree) have been investigating reports of people being snatched off rooftops. What all soon find out is that the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, the winged serpent, is flying over Manhattan. Though Q's premise seems fairly silly (so does KING KONG's), Cohen's handling of the material is superior; he really convinces us that the idea of a giant bird living in a nest at the top of the Chrysler building isn't as implausible as it sounds. Cohen packs the film with stunning visuals and makes the most of New York City's architecture, capitalizing on its dozens of facades with birds and birdlike carvings. Q bombed at the box office because it was nearly impossible to package into a nice, simple ad campaign, but the film is a skillful combination of genres, sporting some fine acting and a literate, fascinating script with dashes of biting humor, that is well worth seeing.