Friday, April 18, 2014


At the site of an Aztec temple in New Mexico, a treasure is rumored to exist, guarded by the flying serpent god Quetzalcoatl. Slightly demented archeologist Forbes (George Zucco) has found the treasure and also discovers that Quetzalcoatl (known hereafter as Q) is real: when his wife was holding an ancient feather from the bird, the flying serpent attacked and killed her. Somehow, he manages to trap the creature in a cell in the ruins. Forbes and his grown daughter Mary (Hope Kramer) live near the ruins, and Forbes has tried to keep others away from the temple. All this is presented as exposition; when the film begins, Forbes is upset that an ornithologist named Lambert has published an article about the ruins. So he does what any mad scientist would do: he plants a Q feather on Lambert, then lets Q out of its cell so Q can attack and kill Lambert, drain his blood, and fly back to the temple with the feather in its mouth. As more people get interested in what's happening, Forbes repeats the above, over and over, until radio journalist Richard Thorpe (Ralph Lewis) catches on and sets up a plan that involves catching Forbes and Q during a live radio broadcast.

Despite the nicely exotic touch of Quetzalcoatl in the title role, this is essentially a Poverty Row remake of an earlier Poverty Row film, THE DEVIL BAT which featured Bela Lugosi in the George Zucco role. Most critics disparage this film, mostly for the cheap puppet with the visible wires that is used for the serpent, but I rather like Q; he's creepy looking, generally not visible too long so he doesn’t look too Muppety, and he's certainly better than the sad-looking buzzard of THE DEVIL BAT. The serpent attacks are quite effective for this grade of movie. I like Zucco, but he doesn't hit the campy heights that Lugosi does. Ralph Lewis is quite acceptable as the B-movie hero, and Hope Kramer is fine as the heroine. Less fine is Eddie Acuff in a lame comic relief role. No gem, but slightly better than its reputation. [DVD]

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