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THE FLYING SERPENT (1946) ** ½

If you’re a fan of Larry Cohen’s Q:  The Winged Serpent, you might enjoy this cheapie horror flick from the Poverty Row film studio, PRC.  As with Q, this movie is all about Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec monster that is part bird and part reptile.  George Zucco stars as an uptight archeologist who controls the monster and orders it to kill anyone who meddles in his affairs.  Since the monster kills anyone who possesses one of its feathers, Zucco will plant the feathers on his intended victims and then let Quetzalcoatl go to town on them.  A nosy radio mystery writer is eventually brought on the case to stop the winged beastie and his unscrupulous master.  

 

The Devil Bat was a big hit for PRC and The Flying Serpent more or less follows the same basic outline.  Unlike that flick, The Flying Serpent is relatively low on chills and chuckles and takes itself very seriously.  The special effects aren’t bad for the time (and budget), although you can see the marionette strings that holds the monster up sometimes.  Zucco is OK in the lead but he’s no Bela Lugosi, whose wonderfully hammy performance made Devil Bat the classic that it is.  He does seem pretty convincing while giving Quetzalcoatl his little pep talks though.

 

I have a soft spot in my heart for these Poverty Row horror movies from the 40’s so I probably gave this an extra ½ than most people would.  The serpent attack scenes were a lot of fun and the scant 58 minute running time flew by.  (No pun intended.)  Most everything that takes place in between the serpent attacks is fairly low-grade, but monster movie fans should get a kick out of this flimflam.

 

Director Sam Newfield and Zucco also made the equally amusing The Mad Monster.

AKA:  Killer with Wings.

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