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Reptilicus


Title: Reptilicus
Year Of Release: 1961
Running Time: 81 minutes
DVD Released By: MGM Midnite Movies
Directed By: Sidney W. Pink
Writing Credits: Ib Melchior and Sidney W. Pink

Starring: Carl Ottosen, Ann Smyrner
Taglines:
1. A prehistoric beast born 50 million years out of time
2. Invincible...indestructible! What was this BEAST born 50 million years out of time?
3. See a mighty city trampled to destruction! See missiles and atom bombs powerless! See civilization rioting with fear!
Alternate Titles:
None Found

Review Date: 11.7.05 (updated 1.1.10)

Shadow's Title: "Reptdiculous"

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Reptilicus

Characters
Svend Viltorft – The miner that first uncovers Reptilicus. He has insidious mind control powers. That's the only explanation as to why he was quickly swept into the inner command circle of those fighting the monster, privy to all their secrets and having a voice in how to combat the beast.
Professor Otto Martens – Within hours of Svend finding the Reptilicus tail, the Professor here was dispatched and arrived on scene. That is fast! He must be part of some elite unit of scientists ready to drop into paleontological hotspots around the world on a moment’s notice.
Doctor Peter Dalby – He works at the aquarium with Professor Martens. Pete here is kind of a dull. He loves to pull all-nighters, but not the kind where you drink for hours before passing out. No, he opts to work in the lab or at his desk until the wee hours of the morning…before passing out.
Lise Martens – Professor Martens’ oldest daughter. In my opinion she is way hotter than her sister. She doesn’t do a lot other than stand around, look pretty, offer up a line here and there, provide a few reaction shots, run after the men in charge and throw herself at a couple of them.
Karen Martens – Professor Martens' youngest daughter. She is not really in the film all that much, but she makes up for her lack of screen time by making a memorable impression on the audience as a man-hungry crazy lady. Then again, so was her sister. Karen here was much more blatant about it.
General Mark Grayson – The WORST military leader in recorded history. The moron couldn’t win a game of Risk, let alone a military engagement. He changes tactics, moans about how he cannot use the weapons he wants to use and is pretty much the grumpiest SOB you will ever run across.
Connie Miller – An American, she arrives in Copenhagen to see about a job at the aquarium…which most likely entailed fetching cups of coffee and making sandwiches. I guess she got the job, as she sticks around for the rest of the movie, though the coffee and sandwiches were in short supply.
Captain Brandt – The Danish Military’s liaison to General Grayson and the one who should have been in command. Brandt certainly showed more understanding of combat than Grayson ever did. Hell, Mother Theresa could have done better than Grayson. Got squished in the end.
Peterson – I didn’t think it was humanly possible to open one’s mouth that wide. The last time I saw a maw open that much, Robert Shaw was being swallowed by Carcharodon Carcharias. Peterson is the film’s odious comic relief and helps pad out the running time with his idiotic antics.
Reptilicus – Our title beastie. He starts off as nothing more than a tail and then regenerates into a full blown giant puppet. He is supposed to be half dinosaur, but in truth he appears to be related less to the "terrible lizards" and more to Oliver J. Dragon from the Kukla, Fran and Ollie show.

 

The Plot Hold your cursor over an image for a pop-up caption

This film is a bloody mess all right.Yikes, dig that arctic cold!Oh, crap. An opening voiceover. It turns out that the dork speaking is General Mark Grayson, who pops up later in the film. Here is what he has to say:

"Somewhere in the forbidding Tundra Mountains of Lapland, high above the Arctic Circle a group of mining engineers were prospecting for copper, but what they unearthed was a story. A story that was to terrorize the whole world. When the events began that were to place a burden of decision involving the lives of an entire city on my shoulders, I was far away… unsuspecting, unknowing."

HOLD THE PHONE!!! Time to rip apart the opening monologue.

"High above the Arctic Circle?" You’ve got to be kidding me. I don’t see a snowflake in sight. Nor any ice for that matter. I mean, just look at the picture below. Exactly how high above the Arctic Circle is that? How far North do you have to go before the ice and snow give way to lush, verdant landscape again? Is this one of those places like The Land That Time Forgot, that is surrounded by glaciers, yet still…somehow, retains a temperate climate? The miners look like they’re dressed for summer! None of them appear to be cold in any sense of the word. I’ve seen chillier weather in the freakin’ desert. No wonder Santa Claus lives at the North Pole! The place has better weather than Southern California! Was it too much to ask of the producers that they go out and actually shoot some footage of some snow? It didn’t even have to be in Lapland, just a field or something. At least make the effort, instead of trying pass off images of rolling green hills and trees as "high above the Arctic Circle." Morons. Okay, okay, okay...I know, that picture was taken during summer.

Ok. Now that I’ve gotten that rant out, we see one of these Mining Engineers fooling around with a big drilling contraption. This is Svend Viltorft, one of our main characters. He is helping guide the big drill as it is retracted from the earth. He removes his hands and prepares to do something else when he notices that there is a red substance on his hands. He holds out ONE hand to a coworker and says, "It’s blood!" This is the cue for the music to kick in. The image quickly changes to a close up showing BOTH of Svend’s hands outstretched and covered in blood. Don’t ask me how he got that other hand out there so damn fast. He must be related to Barry Allen or something. The movie title also shows up now, the letters made to appear like dripping blood.

More miners gather around and wonder why things have stopped. Svend explains that there is blood on the drill. The large drill bit is angled so that its tip now rests in a wheelbarrow. Svend takes a hammer and hacks away at the thick mud still clinging to its grooves, and hidden underneath are large strips of skin, which Svend describes as being like leather. There also appear to be some fossilized bones in addition to all the meat. One miner wonders what may be "down there" and Svend says that he intends to find out. He has another guy start up the generator because he wants to use the radio. He then suspends all the drilling until they figure out what is going on. Then he says that he is going to radio a university in Copenhagen, which prompts one miner to wonder if even such an institution such as that can discover an answer. After that he has one guy grab "the Polaroid" so they can snap some photos. You really can tell this film was made in prehistoric times as the camera the guy returns with is about the size of a VCR (one of those early models from the 70's) and looks just about as unwieldy and awkward to use if VCRs did snap photos. After taking some pictures, they walk off to use the radio and the camera zooms in on the bits of flesh and skin resting in the wheelbarrow. We can plainly see that one portion is pulsating, as if alive. How these idiot miners could have missed seeing that is beyond me.

General Mark Grayson’s voice now interrupts the film to inform us that within hours two Danish scientists had joined the miners – a Professor Martens and his associate Dr. Peter Dalby. In addition to them, a third man - a newspaper reporter (Hans something…don’t worry, he ain’t important) – has also tagged along. Then Grayson explains to us that the scientists had examined the flesh brought up by the drill. While Grayson is droning on, we see five men sitting around a fire at night and carrying on like they are two hours into a six-hour beer drinking binge. Three are the men Grayson just named off; the other two are Svend and his mining buddy. All of them are dressed for cold weather. However, we still aren’t talking "high above the Arctic Circle" cold here. They have on coats and hats, but there isn’t a parka in sight. Plus, you cannot see their breath as they speak, as one would expect to see under really cold conditions.

Svend is puffing away at a pipe while Professor Martens explains his ideas. Martens says that their tests showed that the fossilized remains of some large creature lie just below the surface. Svend wants to know how that explains the fresh meat and blood. The scientists think that the remains were buried in a layer of icy muck, frozen solid. Dalby hauls out the Siberian Mammoth case as an example of how living things can end up in such a manner. Svend points out that the flesh on the drill was not frozen. Martens believes that it was friction from the drill that thawed it out. Svend buys that idea and resigns himself to the fact that this discovery really isn’t all that exciting (nor is this movie at this point BTW), but the scientists disagree. Dalby explains that up until now, all such specimens unearthed were mammals, but the one Svend found is a reptile. A BIG reptile at that. This last bit of info gets the attention of Hans the reporter, who has been scribbling notes nonstop while the others spoke. Professor Martens now explains that they will begin excavating the remains the next day and then have them shipped to Copenhagen for study.

Now we see the underbelly of a jet as it lifts off from a runway. The aircraft looks like a large passenger jet and the runway it just left is surrounded by green landscape and even some homes! I thought this was "high above the Arctic Circle?" I never knew that there was a major airport so far north. After the stock footage of the jet fades out, we now arrive in Copenhagen, denoted by the large yellow text that appears on screen that reads, "Copenhagen." Usually, films like this will be satisfied with a quick establishing shot, but not this film, It needs some serious padding, so rather than a brief shot of Copenhagen, the camera actually pans around some public square for a few seconds. This won’t be the last time this film resembles a travelogue more than a monster film.

A red sporty convertible comes screeching up to a building, which turns out to be the aquarium. Professor Martens gets out of the passenger side and trades some banter with the driver, who is his daughter Lise. Then she tears off as he goes inside. Within, he takes a leisurely walk around the place so the film can pad out…er…show us some of the animals on display. He even knocks on the glass at one tank, which hold some sea turtles. He finally arrives at his work area and confers with Dr. Dalby, who has been trying to reassemble the bones they have into a proper skeleton…without any luck. Martens thinks that maybe they have too many bones, and not all of them belong to the same creature, but Dalby disagrees.

"How to keep a moron busy for hours? I don’t get it."The door opens and a young woman with brown hair comes jumping in, excited about something and waving her hands around, which are holding a slip of paper. This is Professor Martens’ other daughter, Karen. She is brandishing that piece of paper as if it was a winning lottery ticket. Either it’s a telegram for her father, or it contains the contents to Colonel Sanders’ eleven secret herbs and spices used in his original KFC recipe. Alas, it is the former. Oddly enough, it was received at home, and Karen decided it was important enough to bring directly to him at work. Does that mean she read it? It happens to be from Svend the miner, who reports locating even more bones about six hundred meters away from the first find. He is bringing them to Copenhagen (and to the aquarium presumably) and will arrive in one hour (less now, considering nosy Karen here read the telegram and needed the time to travel from home to her father’s lab). The Professor instructs his daughter to go pick him up at the airport. She wants to know if this Svend is handsome. I’m surprised she didn’t inquire about his financial status as well, asking for a credit report! She wants to know how she will recognize him and her father just teases her, saying that she has never needed help in finding a man before. HAHAHA…not!

Karen leaves and Martens turns back to Dr. Dalby. Gesturing with the telegram, he references the bones mentioned therein and says that maybe these will be the fragments they need in order to complete piecing them all together.

Now we see a magnifying glass being held over a bone fragment. It turns out to be Professor Martens doing the looking, and since he now has his lab coat on, we can assume that some time has passed and he is now examining one of the new bones brought by Svend. The Professor says that he has never seen bones like this before. Svend strolls into view and asks what is so unusual about them. Martens remarks that they are like the cartilaginous bones of a shark – resilient but strong. Svend then inquires about the frozen piece that was initially found. Dalby explains that it was from the creature’s tail. The two scientists then show Svend what they have done with it. They have it laid out on a table in another room, the temperature within kept at freezing levels. Martens says that judging from the piece they have, they estimate the creature’s full size to be "gigantic!" Now…is gigantic a technical term? How large is that in relation to "friggin’ huge!" and "f*cking enormous?" Just wondering. Martens says that the size of the creature could be ninety feet or more and dates from an age seventy to one hundred million years in the past. A "giant dinosaur."

Karen now interrupts, wanting the opportunity to steal Svend away from the scientists. Martens extends the miner an invitation to stay with him while in Copenhagen. The door opens and Lise now enters, guiding a dorky looking man into the lab. She introduces him to her father as Mr. Peterson. When Karen sees her sister, she is instantly defensive and crowds around Svend like a lioness protecting its kill. Lise warns Svend to beware of her sister and offers to accompany the two in the role of chaperone. Svend is quickly ushered out of the room by the two sisters, a bewildered look on his face. Dr. Dalby looks at Martens and says that he envies that young man. "Yes," replies the Professor. "He will be busy now." Is that just yucky or what? First you have the old perve Dalby who is openly acknowledging the young sisters’ sex appeal to their father, and then Pops himself making a statement that could be interpreted in a sexual manner. Sheesh, these wacky Europeans and their open sexual mores.

The dorky looking Peterson now coughs to get the attention of the old scientists. Martens calls him over and explains to Dalby that this big oaf will be staying at the aquarium and serving as a watchman. Peterson promises to look into anything fishy and Dalby then tells him that one of the most important things to remember is that the room with the tail segment must be kept at a constant temperature at all times. He gesture to a thermometer on the wall, which has a red marking on it (no doubt to represent the danger zone) that looks like it was made with lipstick. Dalby tells Peterson that it runs on electricity and that he will show him the machinery later. Peterson leaves to get settled and as he walks down the hallway, he passes a tank that contains an electric eel. "Yep" he says. "Everything around here runs on electricity." Fade ou….oh, by the way, Peterson and that eel will be having a moment again later in the film. Fade out…

Fade in…to what looks like a cheezy model of the aquarium building at night. The toy railroad I played with as a kid came with more realistic looking buildings than this piece of crap. Inside, Peterson the dork is making his rounds. He enters the lab and checks on the door to the refrigeration room as well as the temperature. All seems well. Nearby, Dr. Dalby sits at his desk. He tells Peterson that he will be working most of the night and that he will keep an eye on things here. Peterson says ok and then leaves. A clock on the wall shows us that it is about 11:24 PM.

At 2:50 AM a storm begins building. Dalby is still at his desk working. He gets up and unlocks the door to the refrigeration room. Turning on the light within, he enters the room and then cuts off a small piece from the frozen tail as if it was some colossal salami (side note – I’ve never seen frozen meat cut so easy...and I should know, I was a meat cutter at one time looong ago). Then he returns to the lab and begins scrutinizing the sample under a microscope. Thunder is heard and lightning flashes across the sky. At the worktable, Dalby is getting pretty tired and gradually slumps across the surface, fast asleep. Behind him, the door to the refrigeration room slides open, as Dalby did not get it closed properly and the latch has come undone. The thermometer shows us that the temperature has now risen to the "danger" levels and the clock now reads 5:05 AM. Times flies! Well, it flies within the movie…this movie itself is still dragging its celluloid ass. We get a quick series of shots that denote the passage of time: the thermometer reading waaay past the danger zone, the open door to the refrigeration room, Dalby snoozing, the clock showing 8:05 AM, etc.

Now we see the tail, only now it has thawed out and leaking blood all over the floor. Professor Martens and Lise enter the lab and see Dalby stretched out at the table. Thinking that something is wrong, they rush to him and rouse him. Dalby explains that he just dozed off. Lise looks over and sees the thawed tail through the open doorway. She calls attention to it and they all run over to take a look. Martens sees that it is completely thawed and he believes it to be ruined. He is about to go looking for Peterson so he can plant his boot up the dork’s ass, but Dalby says that it was not Peterson’s fault. He explains that he sent Peterson away. Martens isn’t too pleased. Even re-freezing the tail will be of little use. Lise notices a wound on the tail and thinks it looks different. To Martens’ amazement, the wound is healing. They realize that the tail is…ALIVE. Fade out.

"Yes, the paternity tests are complete…and they are most…interesting. Tell me, Miss Miller…what were you drinking that night again?"Fade in to Professor Martens sitting at his desk and speaking with a blonde woman. Her name is Miss Miller, she is an American and she is there to see about a job. While these two are speaking with one another, Lise Martens is standing nearby, giving Miss Miller the once over…and she is doing it in a way that almost makes one think she has more than a professional interest. Professor Martens then mentions another man representing The U.N. that will be arriving soon, who also happens to be an American. The Professor cannot seem to remember the man’s name and looks over some papers. A new voice suddenly speaks up and says that the man’s name is, "Grayson. Brigadier General Mark Grayson." Standing in the doorway, doing the talking is Grayson himself, our narrator who has finally entered the movie. Martens tells Grayson that he is glad the other man is there, to which the General responds by saying that he doesn’t know why he has been sent there, and wants Martens to inform him. The Professor mentions an imminent presentation being held for the benefit of the press during which many of Grayson’s questions will be answered. Then Professor Martens introduces Grayson to Miss Miller and his daughter Lise. They welcome him but he says the shorter his stay, the better it will be for him. What a sourpuss.

We cut now to the presentation, where Martens is speaking to the press. While he blathers on, Dr. Dalby enters with another man and introduces him to Grayson as Captain Brandt, his liaison with Danish forces. Brandt tries to be friendly but Grayson shuts him up so they can listen to Martens, who is now revealing that the living tail has doubled in size. They now have it stored in a tank, which has a controlled flow of nutrient fluids being pumped into it. Then he has to explain what "regeneration" means to one particularly stupid reporter. He cites the examples of lizards growing new tails, starfish growing new bodies from a severed arm and cut worms regenerating. Then one reporter asks what they are calling the specimen. Martens admits that they don’t know much about the creature other than it is reptilian. One moron reporter then suggests the name Reptilicus Martensious. Martens just laughs and says that Reptilicus is good enough.

The Professor now leads the reporters into a large room and up some stairs to a viewing platform. The platform looks through a large window and into the room where the tank is held. We see the tube with the nutrient flow working its magic and then some newspaper headlines suddenly materialize. These reporters are fast! They’ve barely seen the thing and already newspapers are popping into existence! One reads, "Prehistoric Monster Growing in Huge Tank," while another says, "Incubator Tank Feeds Monster From Past!" The rest are in other languages but the word Reptilicus can be made out in a couple of them.

General Grayson is sitting at his desk, reading the paper out loud to himself. The story mentions the U.N. placing its scientific knowledge at the disposal of the Danish government and how Grayson himself, known for his exploits at the Battle of the Bulge, has been put in charge of the protective forces. Then he slams the paper down and remarks that he is in command of two Captains, three office boys and a "damned lizard." I take it he is not too happy with this assignment. Do you get that impression as well? Plus, shouldn’t it be "damned lizard’s tail?" I think he’s jumping the gun a wee bit at this point. He must have been perusing the script before reading the newspaper.

Now we see that country bumpkin Peterson sitting at a desk, eating a sandwich and playing with a microscope (actually he seems to be cleaning it with a brush). He looks into it and seems surprised at what he sees. Then he gets the bright idea of putting a small piece of his sandwich under the microscope. When he looks, he (and we) see tiny living organisms busily moving around. He then gets a look on his face like those morons on Fear Factor that have to gulp down bull testicle slurpees or something. He drops the portion of the sandwich he was eating and quickly wraps it back up. He goes to take a drink and then thinks better of it and places the cup back on the desk. He steals another look through the microscope before letting out a belch. Fade out.

What was that? You were expecting more? See, this movie has an ungodly amount of padding and one of the elements the producers chose to highlight was this idiot named Peterson. He exists for one purpose only – comic relief. The only problem is, there is nothing relieving about it. Hell, I think I need relief from this kind of comedy. Though to be fair, there is a funny bit with Peterson coming up shortly…though it is funny in a pure idiotic manner.

We now fade back in to that hallway that contains the tank with an electric eel. Peterson comes round the bend and checks the red button that sets off the fire alarm before moving on. I know what your thinking…why did the film fade out if it was just going to fade back in to Peterson? I haven’t got a clue. Anyway, Peterson comes down the hall and sees the eel tank. He looks around to make sure that no one can see him. Then he slowly lowers his hand into the water. Now…can electric eels zap you if you are not in direct physical contact with them? Can you get jolted by just having your hand in the water near them? I honestly don’t know. If you do, let me know, please. Needless to say, Peterson gets zapped by the eel. He begins jumping around, making weird faces and strange sounds, trying to remove his hand from the tank. It looks like he is having some difficulty accomplishing that task. It's kinda funny because the dubbing is so obvious here. Much of the goofball noises he is making doesn’t sync up with his lip movements.

Aliens must be used to seeing that expression on humans.While dancing around in supposed pain, he hears a strange rumbling coming from the room where the Reptilicus tail sits in a tank. His eyes then bug out even more and his face looks like he just had a five pound ice cube shoved up his ass. Now he has no trouble removing his hand from the tank and he quickly runs back to the button on the wall that sets off the fire alarm and pushes it.

The alarm brings everyone running, including Grayson and Captain Brandt, who it looks like were outside having a smoke or something. Everyone converges on Peterson in the hall and all he can do is wave a flashlight towards the room with the Reptilicus tail. Professor Martens looks into the room from the viewing platform but sees nothing amiss. Peterson swears he heard the tail move and Martens doesn’t doubt him. He explains that it was just an involuntary muscle spasm or something. Peterson departs and the rest just stare at the window for a moment. Fade out.

Fade in. Professor Martens is at his desk and listening to a tape recording he made where he describes the tail and speculates on what the complete organism will look like. He mentions that Dr. Dalby has requested that the nutrient flow be increased. Martens agrees to try it but remarks that if Reptilicus grows much bigger, they will have to construct a new tank to hold it. Fade out.

Ok hold the boat. This film has way…and I do mean WAY too many fade outs and fade ins. Each of the last few short scenes were connected this way. ENOUGH! That scene with Martens lasted only a few seconds and then we’re subjected to it again.

Fade in (ugh). Grayson is at his desk when there is a knock at the door. "Come in," he says rather testily. What, was there no Beetle Bailey strip in the Copenhagen newspaper? Why is he in such a mood? Oh, right. I nearly forgot…he’s in this movie. That would be enough to make anyone cranky. Captain Brandt enters and asks if there is anything he can do for Grayson. The General says, "yeah…get me transferred out of this damn place!" Brandt then suggests getting out and seeing the city as a way to relax and kill some time.

Now all of a sudden we see images of Copenhagen and a Grayson voiceover is thrust upon us. He says that he took Brandt’s suggestion and even convinced Connie to go along, who it turns out, was quite the charming companion. We see Grayson and Connie sporting aroun…wait a minute! Connie? Who the hell is Connie?! I don’t remember any Connie in this picture. Where did she come from? Well, it turns out Connie is Miss Miller’s first name. You remember her…the gal Martens was talking to when Grayson first arrived? Anyway, we see them sporting around town in a red car, perhaps borrowed from Lise Martens. What follows next is a travelogue through the city of Copenhagen. I told you this movie had some serious padding! Grayson and Connie point out landmarks to each other, including Langebro Bridge (foreshadowing!!) and comment on how it truly is a beautiful city. Connie notices how many people are on bikes and Grayson says that Brandt will be joining them later for dinner at "Tivoli" – whatever that may be.

"Psst…you in the back…STOP LOOKING AT THE F*CKING CAMERA, YOU ASS!"We see Grayson, Brandt and Connie walking into this Tivoli place, which seems to be some type of amusement park. There are rides, plazas, buildings of foreign design and lots of people walking about. Night falls and the trio make their way to a restaurant called NIMB. Inside, some woman is on stage singing a song called "Tivoli Night" or something similar. Her name is Birthe Wilke and the movie credits her with playing herself. I guess she was a popular…well at least famous name in Denmark back in the day. Grayson, Brandt and Connie are shown to a table while the singer carries on. After we get to watch her for what seems like five hours, we then get some shots of Copenhagen at night. Have you snapped yet? I don’t know about you, but I thought I was tuning into a monster movie…not the friggin’ Travel Channel! Even more maddening is one particular idiot amongst the audience watching Miss Wilke. This clown just cannot seem to stop looking directly at the camera!

For some reason, we now are shown the sea at night. A storm is brewing and lightning flashes across the sky accompanied by thunder. It seems the crappy model of the aquarium is in for some rain. Inside the building, Dr. Dalby is working at his desk. This guy just loves pulling all-nighters! Every few seconds he looks around, as if he thinks he has heard something. Inside the tank, the water is bubbling around the Reptilicus tail and soon we see a complete foot begin to move around. A quick stock footage shot of a downed power line is pasted in and then the lights go out all around Dalby. He pulls out a flashlight from his desk and points it around the lab. Unbeknownst to him, there is movement in the tank. He hears something and leaves the lab, heading down the hall (the same one with Peterson’s eel) toward the viewing platform. He doesn’t even get the chance to climb the ladder and look into the next room where the tank is located, because as soon as he reaches the end of the hallway, he sees shadowy movement through the viewing platform’s window. Shocked, he runs back to the lab and tries to use the phone but that same stock footage shot of the downed power line is shown again, only this time I suppose it is meant to represent downed phone lines.

Dalby cannot get the phone to work so he leans out the lab door and calls down the hall for Peterson, who is sleeping in a chair. Peterson comes quickly and Dalby instructs him to go directly to the police and to bring them back immediately. Peterson gets a glimpse of some large shadows moving about in the tank room and gets another goofy expression on his face. Then he tears out of there in a fashion similar to cartoon characters – legs spinning madly for a split second before gaining traction and running off. He heads outside into the storm where he hops on a bicycle and peddles away. Meanwhile Dalby has armed himself with a small revolver and headed back towards the tank room. What good does he think that peashooter will do?

At the police station, the cops on duty are playing some chess when Peterson comes barreling in shouting things like "it's alive" and "it's loose!" One cop barely even glances in his direction and just tells him to come in. I take it the police are accustomed to Peterson barging in there with all sorts of tall tales…like the dead coming back to life or strange plant seeds from outer space taking over the human race one person at a time or even more unbelievable, a good movie resulting from this fiasco.

A quick cutaway shows us the crappy model of the aquarium…only now, a "large" beast seems to be rising up behind it (or out of it).

Back to Peterson and the cops now, the dolt is trying to convince the officers to come with him, but they seem more interested in their chess game. Peterson goes on and on about the electricity going out (even the electric eel), how dark it was and a large hole left in the building. All this has little effect on the one officer, who advises Peterson to go tell all of this to Dr. Dalby. Peterson explains that he cannot, because it was Dalby who sent him to fetch the police. This finally spurs the cops into action.

We see a large hole in the side of the aquarium model. Then a close up as Professor Martens picks up Dr. Dalby’s eyeglasses from the floor of the wrecked interior. He is accompanied by Grayson, Connie and Lise. The Professor explains that they found no trace of the other scientist. Connie asks what happened and Martens expounds about how Reptilicus must have developed in a growth spurt. Grayson wants to know how it happened, but Martens is unsure. He theorizes that perhaps the electrically charged atmosphere and/or the increased nutrient flow had something to do with it. Martens then walks off with Connie while Captain Brandt and another soldier enter the scene. Brandt informs Grayson that they have found the creature’s tracks and that they lead towards the water. The General announces that they now have a fight on their hands and he wants to establish a base of operations somewhere in the city. He asks Brandt for any recommendations and the Captain suggests the barracks of the Royal Guard.

BOOM! It is instantly daylight, the music suddenly thunders to life and we see the building that I am assuming is the barracks of the Royal Guard. The camera zooms in on one door that bears the emblem of a crown, so I guess this must be the place. Inside a "war room" has been set up. There are numerous guys manning radios and relaying information. A large table has a map of the area on it and several guys in military uniforms sit around it and discuss the situation (I am guessing this is not a Warhammer 40k tournament). More guys look over other maps that have been hung on the walls. On the far side of the room General Grayson speaks into a phone with Svend Viltorft nearby. How the hell did Svend get clearance to be in here? Shouldn’t he have scuttled off back to that mining operation "high above the Arctic Circle?" What skills or knowledge does he bring to this operation? So he found the original tail. Big whoop. That is no reason for him to be ushered into the upper echelons of the command structure.

Grayson gets off the phone and calls for attention. He outlines his command structure, delegating various tasks and responsibilities to the men in the room, some of who represent various branches of the Danish military while others speak for civilian authorities. Professor Martens is assigned as scientific and technical advisor. Grayson then dismisses everyone and tells Brandt that he wants the radio manned "twenty four hours a day." Ya know…I am still waiting to see what Svend’s job is. Martens is the science geek in this outfit. What role is Svend playing? Sandwich boy? The phone rings and Grayson receives a report that Reptilicus has been spotted near a small farm on the coast. Sirens begin blaring and soldiers are running all over the place in a mad rush to get to their vehicles.

Out at the aforementioned farm, the farmer is out standing in his field (HA!) looking over the remains of some cows when the military arrives. Grayson, Brandt and Svend come charging over and ask the farmer what happened. He tells them that fourteen members of his herd have been eaten. Grayson asks if he saw Reptilicus and the stunned farmer says that it was "huge" and after destroying his barn it headed off across the field. Grayson plans on having that area surrounded and then flushing the monster out. He tells the farmer to clear out and then they all run back to the jeep.

Some jeeps come racing over a hill and screech to a halt. The lead jeep has Brandt, who radios Grayson, who is off somewhere else. The General deploys them into various areas of the countryside now denoted as sectors. Brandt’s group races on while Grayson hops in his jeep, which Svend is driving. Aha! That is his job. He is Grayson’s chauffeur! This is followed by several shots of jeeps driving down dirt roads. Then Grayson and Svend come upon an area where the trees have been flattened. Grayson points them in a new direction and they’re off again. Meanwhile, Brandt’s group have arrived in their designated sector just in time to see a huge tail vanish behind some homes. He radios Grayson and informs the General where the beast is, then he and his men all jump out and get into firing positions. Grayson’s group have now arrived at their position and soon men, tanks, cannons and what not are all in firing position…but there is still no sign of Reptilicus. They scan the area, looking for the beast. A roar coming from over a hilltop draws their attention. They turn to look and see…

Raar! I’m a monsta!Ok. After forty one minutes of this movie (roughly the halfway point), we are now finally going to see the title creature in all of its glory. The film has really built this up, with all the speculation on the part of the scientists on how big it will be and what it will look like. The description provided by the farmer as well as the smashed trees all indicate a beast of substantial size. The moving tail that vanished behind a house and was spotted by Brandt is another tease by the producers. By now, the audience is positively dying to know what the monster looks like. The sad thing is, they will soon be dying…from laughter. Are you prepared for this? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Ok, here we go. A roar coming from over a hilltop draws their attention. They turn to look and see…

…A puppet rearing its silly head over some miniature trees. A puppet! Jeez. Not one of those stick-your-hand-up-its-ass puppets, but rather, the type that is manipulated in some other fashion…strings maybe. Marionette might be a more accurate way of describing it. Regardless, the thing is about as lifelike as Al Gore on dope. Basically, Reptilicus is a giant serpent. It does have legs and feet, but they are stubby little things that don’t seem to serve it very well. The beast seems to use its hind legs to move (not that we’re ever going to see its ass end other than a long spindly tail...thank god). It also possesses a pair of wings that is situated down its long slender back. To answer your question, no…the monster will not be flying in this movie…but that is only because the footage shot of it doing so was so ridiculous that the producers decided, quite wisely I might add, to cut it from the film. Can you imagine? Shots so cheezy that they were cut from AN AIP FILM? The mind boggles. Alas, reportedly the poor people in Denmark were subjected to these scenes in the Danish version of this film. More on that later.

Reptilicus, aside from being one hundred percent asinine looking, seems to have a drooling problem. We see big gobs of saliva dripping from its mouth. Plus, the sound the monster makes is really weird. Sure, there is an elephant-like roar accompanied by a very reptilian hiss…but there is another sound. It's hard to describe. It's almost mechanical, like the sound of a large hydraulic press squishing a bell. It should also be noted that this odd sound seems to be exclusive to the American cut of the film. The clips that I have seen of the Danish version do not feature this sound, but a more standard roaring sound.

General Grayson doesn’t hesitate in the slightest. He orders everyone to fire at the beast and soon enough, the army is throwing everything they have at it. The problem is, nothing seems to be working. Reptilicus just shrugs off the attack in the same manner that you or I would swat a few flies away. It doesn’t help that this massive onslaught is represented by what looks like a few paltry firecrackers going off around the Reptilicus puppet. Too bad the army didn’t bring Peterson along. He could have done his electric eel shtick and caused Reptilicus to double over in nausea and pain. For better or for worse (better!) we won’t be seeing Peterson any more in this flick, so those of you hoping to see him swallowed whole by the title monster are in a for something of a disappointment. Those of you that are hoping to see anyone swallowed whole by the monster just need hang on for a short while longer…but you’re still gonna be disappointed. Finally, those of you who are hoping that Reptilicus will swallow YOU whole, thus ending the excruciating pain of this movie, should swap out this DVD with The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy. That one will just kill you outright, with minimal suffering…though I cannot be held responsible for the mess left behind for your loved ones to clean up.

With all weapons blazing away and doing little good, Grayson tells Svend to be ready to get out of there in a hurry. Reptilicus, bored now with the army, crawls off. This pioneering effect is achieved by propping the puppet upright and then dragging it away from the camera in slow motion. Grayson calls a cease fire and then remarks on how the beast’s bony scales are like armor plating – effectively protecting it from their firecracke…er…weapons. Svend notices that the monster is heading towards the beach. The General voices his opinion that they need more firepower, but Svend’s questions if even that will work. Then Grayson gets an idea. He wants to get to the beach before Reptilicus and after issuing a few orders, everyone is quickly in motion.

The jeep with Grayson and Svend comes plowing down a dirt road and slides to a stop. Grayson states that they have beaten Reptilicus "down here." This is the beach? It looks like the exact same field they were standing in a few seconds ago. The monster cannot be seen at first but then it rears its ugly mug up from behind a farmhouse. Inside the farmhouse a family is sitting at the table, eating a meal. The entire house begins to shake and the family looks out their window to see Reptilicus bringing down their property value. The building then begins to collapse somewhat around them, so the mother shields her two boys in one corner of the kitchen (nearly putting one poor kid’s eye out when she grabs his head) while dad runs outside.

Reptilicus enjoys a morning Danish.I don’t know what the hell good old dad thought he was going to accomplish by taking that course of action. Shoo Reptilicus away with the water hose? That may work on a pair of humping dogs, but gigantic lizards? I think not. Sure as hell, the next time we see Pops, he is screaming and squirming inside Reptilicus’ mouth. Not one to play with its food, the monster quickly swallows the poor bastard whole. The horror of this moment is completely wiped away by the absolute cheesy method by which it was rendered for the screen. Instead of having the Reptilicus puppet attack and munch a small puppet/doll/figure of the farmer, the producers opt instead to just take footage of the beast and overlay the shrunken image of the man, placing it within the monster’s mouth. The problem is, the image of the man is a still, so in order to achieve some semblance of movement, and thus show the poor guy squirming around before being eaten, several still images are alternated in what has got to be the worst animation I have ever seen.

Seeing the farmer meet his sad end, Grayson begins getting irritable…ok…MORE irritable and wonders where the rest of the army may be. No sooner has he said that than we see tanks rolling over the fields toward his position. A quick shot of Reptilicus shows the monster spitting some nasty green shit all over the place that looks like radioactive snot. Grayson, obviously realizing that his plan to kill the beast has failed utterly so far, finds a way to redeem himself…by personally running over to a tank, climbing on board and strapping a flame thrower to his back. As he is doing this, everyone else arrives on the scene including Professor Martens, his daughter Lise, Connie Miller (who voices her concern for Grayson by quietly calling his name), Captain Brandt and the rest of the soldiers. Then the tank with Grayson begins heading directly towards Reptilicus, trying to intercept it before it reaches the water. Grayson opens fire with his flame-thrower and scores several direct hits on the monster. These have a much different impact than earlier attacks, as the beast is quickly engulfed in flames and begins making a horrible high-pitched screeching sound, while continuing to blast out gobs of that slimy green spit. Reptilicus quickly slides into the water and vanishes from view. I should also note that I am pretty sure that the slimy green shit the monsters spits all over people in this movie is another aspect unique to the American version. Again, clips that I have seen of the Danish cut do not feature this component.

Grayson hops down from his tank and walks over to where the others are standing. Professor Martens says that Reptilicus has returned to the sea like a wounded whale. Um…huh? WTF? To return to some place, you would have to have been there at least once before. As far as I know, Reptilicus hasn’t been out body surfing since it escaped from the aquarium. This is its first time in the water. Oh, wait...that's right, when it escaped its tracks led to the sea. My bad. And as for that second part…returning to the sea like a wounded whale? Where the hell else is a wounded whale going to go? A burn treatment center in the Hollywood hills? I’d like to know how the bleeping hell a whale would get wounded out of the water to begin with, mandating a return to the sea. Was it trying to break into Seaworld to score with the captive Orcas and got a Rodney King-style ass beating from the security guards? Anyway, Captain Brandt says that maybe Reptilicus is wounded enough and that it will die now. HAHAHA. That’s like saying maybe this movie has gotten stupid enough and it will end now. We all know the answer to that one. "Not a chance," Connie says, echoing our thoughts – though she may have gotten a wee bit confused and provided her standard reply when men get frisky with her. She goes on to say that Reptilicus has only fled so it can recover from its wounds. Soon, it will be back…as good as new. "Regeneration?" asks Grayson. No, dumbass…it's gonna swap out body parts with the spares it carries around in that box stored under its wings. Of course, it’s regeneration!!

Now were back in the war room at HQ. Grayson, Martens and some other military Bigshots are sitting at the gaming table while the General points to a picture of a dinosaur – it looks like a brontosaurus or something similar – and says that Reptilicus is a cross between this particular extinct lizard and an amphibious reptile. Who handed this moron a degree in paleontology? Worse yet, Professor Martens now chimes in and talks about how nature experiments now and then, and that Reptilicus may well prove to be an attempt to bridge the gap between reptile and mammal. One of the Military Bigshots says that whatever the monster is, it must be destroyed. Grayson reminds him that first they have to locate the beast. Another Bigshot says that such a task will not be easy with Reptilicus hiding out underwater. Professor Martens chimes in again, and aside from further damaging his credibility as a scientist, says that Reptilicus is not essentially a sea creature and that it must surface from time to time to obtain oxygen. How the hell does he know that? The last time he examined the beast in detail, it was comprised solely of a tail! He hasn’t has the chance to examine the fully regenerated creature, so how can he possibly know what it can and cannot do, aside from just pure speculative remarks? He didn’t realize that it was going to have wings, so as far as he knows it could have gills as well. I’m betting he had no knowledge of its ability to spray slimy green spit as well. I think after this fiasco is over, the authorities need to check his credentials.

So now Grayson mentions some sort of underwater camera doohickey that the aquarium affixes to the bottom of boats to observe sea life. He wants to attach this equipment on a naval vessel and go looking for the monster. Know-it-all Martens now advises them to stick to local waters. When the General asks why, the Professor spouts some theory about this area being the creature’s birth place and it will surely return to it at some point. Grayson looks at the Naval Bigshot and says that they are counting on him (and the Danish navy in turn) to find Reptilicus for them. Way to go there, Grayson. Pawn off responsibility on someone else in case something goes horribly wrong.

"Maybe if I flex my muscles, he’ll notice me."There is now a few quick shots of a navy vessel cruising the seas, no doubt looking for Reptilicus. Then we turn back to Grayson sitting at a desk. Svend comes in and stretches his arms in the universal "I’m tired" gesture. He asks Grayson if there has been any news, but the General just pounds his pencil on the desk. That’s a "no" I take it. Svend then says that a week has passed while they have conducted their search. Grayson suggests that the other man go home and take it easy for a while. This is a really good point on the General’s part. Just what the hell is Svend still doing here? Shouldn’t he be getting his ass back to that mining operation "high above the Arctic Circle?" Yes, he found the remains of Reptilicus, but is that really enough qualification to be ushered into the command hierarchy? I don’t think so. I can’t imagine that if I created giant mutant sea monkies by nuking them in the microwave with some tin foil and vitamins, and then they got loose to go on a killing spree, that I’d be incorporated into the team assembled to stop them…so how does this fool manage to get clearance? Did they think the monster was going to get trapped in a mine, thus requiring the skills of a mining engineer, or did Svend manage to get a hold of some incriminating photos of Grayson showing Brandt how to properly "load the cannon?" There just isn’t any logical reason for him to be there.

So Svend says that he will stay, to which Grayson calls him stubborn. In the single most unsettling moment in the film, Svend looks at Grayson and says that he is not stubborn, but rather, describes himself as "firm." Yuck, I didn’t need to know that.

Before the movie can degenerate into some weird European gay porn film, we return to the ship at sea and get several more shots of it on the hunt for Reptilicus, which includes a view of their sonar screen. Some unknown sailor alerts the bridge that they have detected an unidentified object on the ocean bottom. The officer on duty acknowledges and then looks into his little TV screen that relays the picture from the borrowed aquarium camera. There, big as life, is Reptilicus. He contacts HQ and asks for further orders, which is accomplished by both radioing in his report and blasting it over the ship’s speakers for all the ocean to hear. Grayson gets on the line and tells him to execute "Plan A." Plan A is now put into effect, though it appears that it could also be termed "Operation Fart in the Bath." They begin dropping depth charges all over the place, creating huge explosions under water. Deep below, Reptilicus snoozes away, oblivious to it all.

Several more shots of the navy at work follow. Over at the aquarium, Professor Martens is engaged in whatever work he does when not pulling theories about regenerated giant reptiles out of his ass. He hears the loud booming of the naval bombardment and is instantly up out of his chair and running for the door. Once outside he looks out to sea and sees the ship dropping its depth charges (none of which have yet to disturb the sleeping Reptilicus). Then he is off and running down the street. I don’t know where he is going, but calling a cab or borrowing someone’s car might have been a more prudent move to make, rather than suddenly sprinting down the road. Hell, a phone call would save even more effort.

At HQ, Connie asks Grayson in a stunned voice if they are bombing Reptilicus. A gleeful Grayson responds, "Of course. We’ll get him this time. Blow him to bits," lending support to the stereotype that the military isn’t happy until they have been allowed to blow up something. Connie tries to warn him of the consequences of what they are doing, but Grayson just tells her, "not now" and to stay out of it.

Down at the beach Professor Martens has just arrived huffing and puffing, having run all the way from the aquarium. There is a good sized crowd assembled to watch the Navy at work, and some people even look like they’re dressed to go swimming. There are even small children frolicking on the beach. WTF? The government knows that there is a giant reptile on the loose – one known for swallowing people whole and blowing out massive gobs of radioactive snot – and that it could return to shore at any time…yet they DO NOT close the beaches? These guys must be working under the Amity Island Model of Civic Responsibility and Citizen Safety. Martens jumps on a small boat and wants to be taken out to the navy ship. But while he is trying to convey this idea, he falls over clutching at his chest. I knew all that running was a bad idea.

Meanwhile, a couple of depth charges have detonated close to Reptilicus, shaking the beast up but apparently not waking it up from its slumber, either. In that respect, he is like my dad – capable of sleeping peacefully through nuclear war. Back at HQ, Connie is explaining to Grayson that if Reptilicus is blown to bits, they will never locate all the pieces underwater and each chunk could possibly regenerate into a complete organism. Grayson quickly gets on the radio and orders the attack to be halted, but not before a couple last depth charges hit Reptilicus and blow off one of its legs. Ouch. That’s gonna come back to bite them all in the ass.

"Can you hear me now?"The Navy ship heads back to port. At HQ Svend wonders what they are supposed to do now. A badly dubbed line from Lise mentions how they cannot get the monster as long as it is underwater. Connie says that they will just have to wait. Then Grayson moans about how he had wanted to kill Reptilicus while it was still recuperating, but now they will have to wait until it is fully regenerated and then fight the beast at a time and place of its choosing rather than theirs. Well, cry me a river! Long about now the phone rings. Svend answers and receives the news that Professor Martens has had a heart attack and is now at the hospital. Lise is pretty shook up, so Grayson offers to take her to the hospital. They are about to leave when he changes his mind and has Connie take her, citing the fact that he has "work to do." Like learning how to be an effective leader perhaps? Or figuring out just why the hell Svend is still hanging around? How about trying not to blow the hell out of everything that moves in the ocean?

At some point later, we see Grayson working at his desk, Svend sleeping at his and Connie coming through the door into HQ. She is wearing a completely new outfit, which might lead one to believe that this scene takes place at least one day after the last one. Knowing women and their predilection for traveling with entire wardrobes as well as their desire to wear it all, this could very well be an hour or two later. She approaches Grayson and says that he should call it a day, as it is now after ten. He says that he has just finished. Then Connie mentions how he and Svend have hardly budged from this place in nearly two weeks. So now we know that at least another week has passed since "Operation Fart in the Bath." Nothing much has changed except for the establishing of observation posts all around the Baltic Sea. According to Grayson, Reptilicus cannot leave the area without them knowing about it. Connie mentions that Professor Martens believes the beast could reappear any day now. Grayson inquires into the Professor’s condition to which Connie says he is "getting along fine." With the amount of drugs he is probably being pumped full of, I’m betting he would be "getting along fine" even if he was fed his own sawed-off foot. It couldn’t taste any worse than vandgrød or that grønlangkål stuff.

Suddenly Captain Brandt comes bursting into the room and announces that Reptilicus has attacked. "Where?" Asks Grayson. Brandt then rifles through some maps, chooses one and places it on the tabletop, waking Svend up in the process. He points to an area of open sea where the skipper of a Swedish trawler spotted the monster, which capsized a freighter. POW! We are instantly looking at stock footage of a capsized ship. For those of you who think that General Grayson’s annoying voiceovers have ended…think again. He is back: "Reptilicus was on the rampage. We never saw him, but we saw the trail of death and destruction he left behind." This is accompanied by several more stock shots of ruined ships.

Now we see Grayson pointing to a spot on the map, Karen Martens standing close by. Gee whiz I had almost forgotten she was in this movie! Grayson says that the spot on the map is where Reptilicus returned to the sea (from having come ashore once again I guess). Brandt confirms that this is near the aquarium and that this jives with what Martens said about the monster returning to its place of birth. They talk some more about damages inflicted by the creature: ships sunk, fishing villages wiped out and the minds of the audience slowly destroyed. Ok, I added that last bit myself, so sue me. Karen strolls over to where Svend is standing, the miner looking slightly troubled. Maybe he has finally realized what a fifth wheel he is around there. I mean, c’mon! I’ve seen a one legged man prove to be more useful at an ass-kicking contest! No such luck. Svend is playing the blame game, and he is blaming himself in true B-movie style. He recounts all the damages the creature has done and thinks that he is just as much at fault for having found the monster’s remains and not leaving them alone. Karen tries to talk some sense into the moron, reminding him that it was her father that brought it to Copenhagen and that any man would have done what he did. Yeah right. Some of us would have put it up on Ebay and milked it for as much as we could get!!

Normal water level.Normal water level.WTF?All of a sudden we are at the beach, where a kid passing through the shot nearly trips while looking straight into the camera. The area is packed with people sunning, playing, swimming and enjoying themselves in all manner of ways…including passionate necking. After a few shots of these folks we see a guy and a gal standing in front of a rear screen projection. He is drying off, she is applying lipstick. The water behind them begins to bubble and Reptilicus rises from the depths. Now, while Miss Lipstick has her back to the monster and really cannot be blamed for not seeing it, Mr. Towel here is angled much more towards the water, and really has no excuse - aside from abysmal peripheral vision - to account for his lack of warning. I just want to know one thing: what the hell is up with the freaky tides in Denmark? They go up and down faster than Monica Lewinsky in the oval office. Just look at the screen caps. The first two show everything to be ok, but as soon as Reptilicus rises from the deep, the horizon is suddenly much lower. Or is this the same effect seen when one gets out of the bathtub and the water level drops?

Anyway, these two dorks carry on in ignorance until Reptilicus sprays them with a stream of it’s slimy bright green spit (though I do think she sees the monster in her compact’s mirror a split second before being slimed). Needless to say, this type of behavior is severely frowned upon by the citizens of Copenhagen, who decide to teach the rude lizard a lesson and go home, thus depriving the creature of their company. Unfortunately they all decide to leave at the exact same time, resulting in a mad rush of screaming people. Reptilicus, obviously offended by this display of inhospitality, teaches the throng of fleeing people a lesson of their own – how to drown in enormous gobs of slimy bright green spit.

I must say that the authorities in Copenhagen are either the biggest morons on the planet or they just don’t give a rat’s ass about the citizens. There is no other way to explain why, after a colossal prehistoric reptile has gotten loose and gone on a rampage that included gulping down more than one person as well as numerous cows before it slipped into sea, they don’t close the damn beaches! While the Navy is dropping depth charges like they were Alka-Seltzer tablets, there is a sizable crowd on the beach watching the spectacle – which includes kids running around and splashing it up in the water. Later, we see a beach positively packed with people out enjoying the sun. Reptilicus shows up and sprays a sizable amount of them with acid slime, perhaps thinking they were in need of some ultra duty sunscreen or something. These poor folks would still be alive, or at the very least un-slimed, if not for the A) sheer idiocy of both the civic and military leaders, and B) their own innate stupidity for knowing there was a monster on the loose but still choosing to frequent an area in which it was likely to appear.

"Look, I don’t care if your hand slipped. You rolled the dice. Your army was defeated. End of story."Word is quickly spread by radio that the city has an unwelcome visitor...and no, I don’t mean Yanni, though he would certainly fit the bill. We see the gang at HQ studying a map of the city and plotting were the monster is and where it may go. The streets are filled with tanks, jeeps, mobile cannons and what not as the army springs into action, setting up defensive lines. While we see all this, a radio announcer is telling people not to panic. He advises that they stay off the streets and maintain a complete blackout. He finishes by saying that there is no reason to be afraid and that the military has everything in hand. And if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.

At HQ, a voice being conveyed over the radio reports on where Reptilicus has been spotted, while General Grayson is sticking pins into a map. Alas, the creature’s present location is unknown. Grayson says, "Condition…Red!" and then the scene changes. I don’t know if he is ordering things bumped to Condition Red, or he is just reaffirming Condition Red status for the benefit of everyone around him. What follows next is a loooong series of shots that show the army in position and awaiting the arrival of Reptilicus. Tanks, cannons, dorks on motorcycles, guys in jeeps, soldiers at the waterfront, soldiers downtown – we see them all. We even get a shot of some radar dishes turning in their endless circles (AAAGH! Flashbacks to Fiend Without a Face) which must be a reminder that Reptilicus could fly in the Danish version of this film. The soldiers go about their duty, scanning the horizon for the monster while puffing madly on their cigarettes.

After what seems like fifteen minutes, one soldier finally spots Reptilicus approaching the city. This information is relayed to General Grayson, who quickly orders all units to fire at will. Um…General? Wouldn’t you just want the units that were in range of the monster to open fire? I doubt the guys manning the tanks and cannons on the far side of town are going to accomplish much by firing randomly into the air. Reptilicus is now meandering down city streets, launching his slimy green spit at anything that moves and no doubt looking for a cheap place to eat. I wonder if he has considered NIMB at Tivoli?

It is at this point that we realize that the good people of Copenhagen are no different from their contemporaries in Rome, London, New York and Tokyo when it comes to their response to a giant monster paying them a visit – they run like hell. I’ve been witness to many scenes depicting a panicked and fleeing crowd of people, but goodness…I think the entire city decided to get up all at once and ambulate as quickly as possible away from the new visitor in town. What follows next is a montage of people running, soldiers firing their weapons, tanks rolling down streets and the Reptilicus puppet thrashing some cardboard buildings. At HQ General Grayson is having a temper tantrum because the monster has already reached the outskirts of the city, thus limiting the armaments that can be brought into action against it – no bombs, no heavy artillery. Grayson stresses each point by tossing aside the little toys that had been set up on the map to represent weapons emplacements.

Why, why , why…WHY in hell did they not try fire a second time against the monster? Grayson scorched the critter pretty damn good during their first encounter. You’d think fire would be at the top of the list of weapon choices when the creature returned. Nope. Oh, I know they "claimed" to have tried using flame throwers against the monster, but its acid slime prevented anyone from getting close enough to score a hit. WTF? Grayson got close enough to use fire without being slimed. Why can’t others? Don’t tell me that Reptilicus can recognize a flame thrower when it sees one and slimes anyone brandishing one! Grayson spends the last parts of the movie whining, bitching and crying about how he has no effective weapons. Hello? FIRE! So what if the monster was spitting acid slime?! Hit it from behind or drop some napalm from a plane. The point is, there are plenty of ways they could have used fire against it again, but the movie would have been (mercifully) over rather quickly had they done so

A quick aside for a moment – what the hell is wrong with these extras?! These crowds of running people are supposed to be fleeing in terror from a gigantic monster, yet time and time again we see people in the crowd smiling and laughing. Worse, far too many of them glance directly into the camera as they pass by. Do they not grasp the concept of acting? At least try and pretend that a colossal snake-thing is hot on your ass….and don’t look at the freakin’ camera, ya jerks! Worse yet is the fact that such footage made it into the movie! Did the producers not see these people when editing the film together? Sheesh!

Back now to scenes of Reptilicus trashing Copenhagen and spitting acid slime, people running helter skelter, soldiers firing weapons at the beast, etc, etc, etc. Grayson FINALLY gets the good idea to use flame-throwers against the monster. It's about freakin’ time! I guess he remembered that fire was the only thing that ever injured the beast. Alas, the report comes in from the field that flame throwers are not an option as the men cannot get close enough to Reptilicus to use them, on account of the acid slime it keeps disgorging all over the place. Grayson says they will take "other measures." That’s what I like about this Grayson guy…nary a vague statement in him. These "other measures" don’t seem to be any different from what they were doing before…in other words, spraying the monster with bullets. Grayson asks where the monster is and Svend, who is manning a radio now, reports that it is heading for the canal. "Langebro Bridge!" Captain Brandt exclaims.

Over at Langebro Bridge, we see that it is business as usual – traffic passing over the bridge without a panicked citizen in sight. Heck, none of them look even the slightest bit concerned. This must be stock footage! The bridge operator is busying himself in his little booth while in the distance, Reptilicus can be seen approaching. Actually, it is just the same shot we saw a couple minutes ago when it was spotted nearing the city…only now the footage has been mirrored. Realizing that Reptilicus is bearing down on such a landmark, Grayson shouts, "Let’s go!" before abandoning HQ. Brandt and Svend are hot on his heels. Now…I have no idea why Grayson feels they must all rush off to Langebro Bridge. Is he concerned that Reptilicus isn’t going to pay the toll? Is he hoping to snap a few photos of the bridge with Reptilicus in the background? Plus, I really don’t understand why the General feels that he must personally go to Langebro Bridge. Isn’t that what subordinates are for? Why can’t he order someone else to go…like Svend? That guys seems to be Grayson’s bitch, doing all sort of odd jobs for him. Send his ass. I would also imagine that a commanding officer abandoning HQ so readily would be frowned upon by his superiors up the chain of command. Especially when he is running off to a bridge for no apparent reason.

"Quick! Everyone jump and hide in the water…he’s almost done counting to 100.""...97...98...99..."The panicked masses are making their way towards Langebro Bridge, Reptilicus bringing up the rear and spitting acid slime at attacking army units as he goes. The bridge operator sees both the massive wave of people and the giant monster steadily coming towards him, so he does what any sane and rational person would do: he raises the bridge. One half of the bridge slowly begins to rise above the other. For a few seconds people can still cross from one section to the other, but soon the gap is too high and people are sent plunging into the water fifty feet below. The throng of people comes to a stop at the ledge, but the weight and press of so many people sends a few more unlucky sods over the edge and into the cold waters. The bridge operator, horrified at what is transpiring, now does what any decent and responsible civic worker would do when he sees the populace in danger: he buries his face in his hands and cowers against the wall. It is up to the recently arrived General Grayson and Svend to rush into the operator’s booth and work the controls to lower the bridge again. The bridge lowers and the panicked masses continue their mad dash to…wherever.

What was up with General Grayson running out of HQ so he could race down to Langebro bridge? I know the guy is the "hands on" type, but isn’t such behaviour taking it just a bit too far? First, what was so damn important that he felt someone needed to rush over there? He couldn’t have known that the bridge operator was going to panic and raise the bridge before freezing up like a scaredy-cat bitch and leave it raised, trapping hundreds of people; so Grayson couldn’t have been racing over to help with the bridge controls. Was he trying to make sure that Reptilicus didn’t destroy the bridge? If so, how was he planning on accomplishing that…harsh words and a threat of legal action? Secondly, wasn’t there anyone else nearby that he could have sent down there? Isn’t that what being a commanding officer is all about…delegating such tasks so you can focus on the larger issues? It just goes to show what an incompetent mess this guy was.

Grayson now spots Reptilicus slipping into the channel. He orders Svend to tell Brandt to head on down there and take command, while the two of them head back to HQ. Ok…hold the phone. I guess this proves that Grayson is psychic. He came rushing all the way down to Langebro Bridge from HQ, just to work the controls and lower it for the people running from Reptilicus. Now he is heading back to HQ. Somehow he knew that the bridge operator was going to panic and raise the bridge. Why else would come flying down there?

We return now to HQ, where Grayson and Svend have just come busting through the door like the Kool-Aid man’s retarded siblings. Grayson now hits upon a genius idea. Since they know from experience that their small arms fire won’t hurt Reptilicus, they will drive the monster into an open area where they can "clobber" it with their heavy stuff. Um…question…if your small arms fire won’t hurt it…and the heavy stuff cannot be used because the creature is lurking within the densely built up parts of town and you can’t risk toppling buildings and killing innocents…then how IN THE HELL are you going to force it anywhere? Aside from blasting Yanni music at it, I cannot see how they are going to persuade it to go anywhere. Grayson pinpoints a spot on the map and notes that Reptilicus is now at that location. "The Stock Exchange," Svend remarks. A quick cut shows the giant beast trashing the Stock Exchange and spitting acid slime on soldiers. My advice: Sell!

At HQ Grayson is still going on and on about driving the monster out of the city using concentrated fire. Svend notes that the destruction will be terrible, but Grayson replies that they have no other choice. The General now gets on the radio and orders Captain Brandt to begin using the heavier guns. Brandt complies but the folks at HQ listen live over the radio as one unit is overrun by the monster. Eventually, the use of the heavy guns forces Reptilicus to turn back and begin a trek out of the city. Grayson orders Brandt back to HQ and then we get another montage of stock footage - this time it is of ruined and bombed out buildings.

Now Grayson has set up all his toy tanks on the map, forming a perimeter around the down town part of the city. Reptilicus is heading towards the suburbs (there goes the neighborhood!) and the line of artillery is to ensure that it does not return to the heart of the city. Grayson stresses that no one…NO ONE on the line is to fire unless the monster turns back towards the city, and then only on direct orders. The General believes they can turn the beast, but only if everyone opens fire at the same time. Brandt concurs. However, out in the field, some idiotic soldiers spot Reptilicus passing by and decide to open fire. Brandt orders them to cease fire but it is too late. Being shot at has drawn Reptilicus back towards the city and the lack of concentrated fire has allowed the creature to break through the defensive line. Needless to say, Grayson is PISSED. Hell, I think he was about to go supercritical and take out all of Copenhagen himself. Some civil authority guy tells him that the streets are nearly "On the count of three, let the world championship musical chairs tournament begin!"impassable from the flood of people as well as all the wreckage. Grayson debates on using a heavy bomb to kill Reptilicus, but others remind him that such a course would also kill thousands of people.

Then a voice speaks up from the doorway, saying that Grayson cannot use a bomb. The camera pans over and we see…Professor Martens, foot loose and fancy free. Well, supported by daughter Karen, at least. Lise runs over to her father’s side while he emphatically states that they cannot use a bomb in the city…or anywhere for that matter. Reptilicus cannot be blown to bits or they risk creating many more such creatures. Grayson asks just how he is supposed to combat the monster. As a soldier, the only way he knows how to kill is with bombs and guns. Martens suggests finding a new way. I have news for you folks, this guy has ALREADY found a new way to kill…with his acting. If it gets any worse, some of us may need emergency surgery. The General and the Professor are facing off now, the former wanting to do things his way while the latter says that Reptilicus must be killed whole. Grayson says that they can just pick of the pieces, as so many component parts will be easier to deal with that one large animal. Martens then asks the General what he will do when he is dealing with many large animals. This seems to calm Grayson some, but he still wonders how long he can be expected to continue "this hell." Let’s see…the movie has about…ten more minutes, so I’d say about that long. Martens stumbles out the door, aided by his daughters while the sounds of explosions, gunfire and screams can be heard over the radio. The situation seems bleak.

Um...why was blowing the monster up such a bad idea? Yes, I know that the scientists were all butt hurt over the idea that each piece would regenerate into an entirely new organsim, potentially creating dozens of monsters to roam the land…but so what? It’s not like each piece would grow into a new monster within minutes or hours. It would take days or weeks, even with a growth spurt. That is more than enough time to find all the scattered pieces – especially if the monster was lured to open country before being blown up. The parts then would just be laying around out in the open. After numerous sweeps to collect all the pieces, they could drop napalm over the area and reduce anything left to ashes. Aterwards just keep an eye on the area to look for any big piece of flesh that has appeared overnight. It's not like those regenerating chunks are going to go anywhere. Sheesh, even I could have come up with a winning plan to defeat the monster.

 

Note - It is at this point that the movie enters its final segment, so if any of you really feel the need to watch this film and not know the ending ahead of time, skip the rest of this section.

 

Reptilicus is getting more difficult to control and as Captain Brandt puts it, it is like the beast knows the puny humans cannot hurt it. At HQ Lise has returned. Grayson asks how her father is and she says that he is sleeping, a doctor having given him a hypo. Svend now jokes that it is too bad that they cannot give Reptilicus a hypo and knock it out. This gets the General’s gray matter working overtime. You can almost see the heat coming off his forehead. He asks if there is a drug powerful enough to knock out something the size of Reptilicus. Connie says that yes, there is, but they’d need at least a gallon of it. Another problem is that the drug would have to be injected directly into the monster’s blood stream…a difficult task given the creature’s strong bony protective scales. Grayson now asks if they can get their hands on the stuff. Lise says that everything they’d need is stored at the university. The General outlines his plan: knock out Reptilicus and once the beast is unconscious, finish him off. Svend wants to know how the General plans on administering the drug. Grayson says he has an idea and will need Svend’s help, and that he will explain his idea on the way to the university. He wants Svend to find someone who knows about the drugs to meet them there (how does Svend even know what drugs they are supposed to have knowledge of?), but Connie points out that Lise knows the university quite well and that the two of them will be accompanying Svend and Grayson. Meanwhile, the General has ordered something pulled from ordnance and brought to the university lab on the double. Then he relays a command to inform Captain Brandt where he has gone. With that, the four of them are out the door.

Outside, people are still running around all crazy through numerous shots. We see Grayson and gang arrive at the university and then it's back to scenes of people running like mad. Reptilicus is shown thrashing the oriental-style buildings we saw earlier in the film at Tivoli. Maybe Reptilicus took my suggestion and is planning on trying out that NIMB restaurant after all. At the university, Connie and Lise are busy readying the drug while Grayson is prepping a bazooka rocket to contain it. Once the drug is ready, Grayson carefully pours it into the warhead, the explosives having been removed. All of this action plays out while the movie switches back and forth between it, MORE scenes of people running and Reptilicus thrashing more cardboard buildings. On their way out of the university, Grayson and gang run into Captain Brandt, who asks what is going on. Grayson says that they are "going to take a crack at Reptilicus." He explains his plan to Brandt, who is doubtful. The scales on the monster are just too tough. However, Grayson thinks they can introduce the drug into the monster’s blood by shooting it in the soft tissues within its mouth. Brandt points out that such a plan will require firing point blank at very close range. The General acknowledges this and then looks at Reptilicus in the distance. The monster is nearing the town hall square. There, in the open, they will uses their drug rocket on the beast, but they had better not miss since they have but the single shot.

They race to the town square just as Reptilicus enters from the far side. Grayson, Svend, Brandt and some other soldiers take cover behind an overturned car. Wait a minute! How did that car get overturned? Reptilicus just got here, so he didn’t do it! I guess cars just spontaneously flip onto their sides in some places. Grayson is carrying the bazooka and now he orders Brandt to withdraw. Brandt objects, but the General explains that if his plan fails and something happens to "them," Brandt will need to take command. It will be his "show" to run. At this point I’d think Svend was having some reservations about it all. Grayson just included him as part of the group that may very well perish in the next few minutes. That mining operation back there "high above the Arctic Circle" may be looking more and more appealing.

Grayson prepares to fire at Reptilicus but an ambulance passing through the area distracts the monster, which turns to follow it. Grayson no longer has a good shot at the creature’s mouth and he begins bitching and moaning about having to outflank the beast. Overhearing this, and no doubt fed up of both playing second fiddle to Grayson’s lame hero as well being sick of this movie, Brandt jumps in a jeep and slams it into gear, barreling his way straight towards Reptilicus while honking the horn nonstop. "No Brandt! No!" Grayson yells, but it is too late. Someone else is going to be the hero of this flick. Brandt races towards Reptilicus, getting the beast’s attention. The bad news is, the monster then proceeds to smash both Brandt and the jeep into pancake dimensions. The good news is, Reptilicus is now facing the right way for Grayson to take a shot. The REALLY good news is that there is only three minutes left in this movie! Yay! Oddly enough, when we see Reptilicus again, Brandt’s flattened jeep is nowhere in sight.

Here his mouth is not much bigger than the farmer.Here his foot is roughly the same size as a jeep (circled)Suddenly his foot is much smaller than his mouth, making that farmer who got eaten the tallest man on earth.I know we're almost free and clear of this mess, but I have to pause to talk about the size of Reptilicus. Just how big was Reptilicus? Once it was fully regenerated, did it remain the same size or did in continue to grow? I think there is evidence to support the idea that it was getting larger every day. Look at the screen caps at left. The first shows Reptilicus when it swallowed that poor farmer. We can see here that the farmer almost fills the creature’s mouth. At the end of the movie, which takes place at least two weeks later, Captain Brandt gets his jeep flattened. We see this in the second picture, where the crushed vehicle is not that much smaller than one of the monster’s feet. The last image is from a few seconds later where we see that in addition to Brandt’s jeep having mysteriously vanished, the creature’s feet are significatly smaller than its mouth. This means that about four or five jeeps would have now fit in the beast’s mouth. I wonder how big it would have gotten. Worse yet, imagine when it had to take a dump.

So Grayson has the bazooka loaded and decides that he is going to fire it himself. He takes aim at the approaching Reptilicus and …ZAP, a cartoon missile can be seen flying into and impacting within the monster’s mouth. The mammoth creature begins writhing around, which in all honesty, looks exactly like every "normal" movement it has made so far. Gradually the monster begins to slow down and it steadily collapses into a giant heap.

Finally! You’ve really got to wonder why Grayson did so much griping over his lack of weapons. Any informed military leader would have immediately gotten on the line and made a deal with the Japanese to borrow one or more of those Maser Cannons that they haul out whenever they have to deal with oversized pests. Hell, with their experience dealing with giant monsters, the Japanese Defense Force should have just been called in to run the show. Then again, with the number of times they have failed to prevent Tokyo from getting trashed, maybe Grayson was the better choice…but not by much.

One Japanese Maser equals...    =     ...one dead monster.

Something is afoot! Connie, Lise, Karen and Professor Martens now come running up. Well, the first three were running as best as they could in those high heels, the Professor was just walking briskly. I suppose one heart attack per film is enough for him. Then we cut to more stock footage of bombed out and smoldering ruins….which can just as easily describe my brain at this point. After that we see a public fountain as it begins spouting water again, the music now uplifting and cheerful. Grayson and Connie are standing close by one another and the General says that it is a good thing that there are no more monsters like Reptilicus. Uh huh….famous last words…

The camera pans up into the blue sky. The shot then changes to a sky filled with clouds and then the camera pans down to reveal the open ocean. Deep down on the sea floor we see the foot that was blown off Reptilicus during "Operation: Fart in the Bath." It begins to move and the music changes from happy to ominous. The implication is that this body piece will regenerate into a new Reptilicus monster. My question is…how? The first didn’t seem to undergo a massive growth spurt until an unusal combination of electrified atmosphere and an increased nutrient flow. This leg has neither of those. Yes, the first tail was steadily growing and would probably have regrown to full size in time, with or without that sudden spurt, but will the severed leg really have that chance? Without a growth spurt, it could fall prey to some hungry fish, a giant squid or worse…Carcharodon Megalodon.

I told you that foot was going to come back to bite them all in the ass! Coming Soon - Reptilicus II: Electric Boogaloo!

Fade Out. The End. Roll credits. Seek Therapy.

Review


Reptilicus was the brainchild of Sidney Pink, who had provided American International Pictures with the successful The Angry Red Planet in 1959. In that same year, while Pink was in Paris trying to secure European distribution deals for the film, he met Danish film producer Henrik Sandberg, who invited him to Denmark. This would result in the two working together on a number of projects, ultimately leading to Reptilicus, the script for which Pink pounded out in six days after Sam Arkoff of AIP suggested his next film be a monster flick that incorporated the "beauties of the Danish countryside."

Pink assembled his cast, made up mostly of Danish actors and actresses. To make the film marketable in the U.S. he made the lead an American General and shot the film in English, the Danish actors memorizing their lines phonetically. At this point, the project was the talk of the Danish media with high hopes that the film would spark more interest and work for science fiction/horror projects in the local film industry. After filming had commenced, Pink claimed that his partners in the West were thrilled about what he had shot so far and many considered the film worthy of some Oscars. Pink enjoyed nearly unheard of cooperation from both Danish Civil and Military authorities and was allowed to shut down busy sections of Copenhagen for filming whenever he wished as well as given the use of Army units and a Navy cutter to help film sequences involving the military’s fight against the monster. Even the citizens of Copenhagen turned out by the thousands to be extras in the film. All of this would seem to indicate a smooth production, but nothing could be further from the truth. Pink’s admitted arrogance and lack of experience behind the camera would make for a chaotic shoot.

When the film was finally finished and shown to Danish audiences, the reaction was the last thing Pink had anticipated. The local press blasted it mercilessly in every way imaginable, audiences laughed themselves right out of the theater and others began to criticize the decision to use military resources in the film – thus wasting taxpayer’s money. In the end, the film was an unmitigated disaster in its home country, viewed as a contributor to a sense of national embarrassment. In 1962, Pink sold the film to AIP for distribution in the United States. It was after a preview screening that Sam Arkoff insisted that Pink re-dub the voices, as the Danish actors’ English was almost incomprehensible. The film was released to the drive-in theater circuit double-billed with the Italian made Marco Polo. It proved to be only a moderate hit, but like so many other films of the same caliber from those years, it found a second life on late-night television. Sid Pink never did sell the rights to the movie. Over the years it has served as a steady flow of income for him, despite his not understanding the appeal of the film and openly admitting to being ashamed of it. Hey, isn’t that what makes a B-Movie a great movie?

Holy crap. I think it is safe to say that those two words will pretty much sum up most people’s sentiments after having been subjected to this movie. Plenty of other words exist to describe not only this stinker of a film, but of the “good times” to be had while watching. Sadly, we’d be here all day if we truly attempted to fully quantify this film in linguistic terms. Better to just stick with the “holy crap” and be done with it. It's not so much that the movie is badly conceived – hell, films about giant monsters had seen their rise and fall in popularity in the decade prior to the film’s production and the fundamentals of the “giant monster plot” were well known by audiences and filmmakers alike. One would like to think that even adhering to these basic principles and tenets of the giant monster subgenre, Sid Pink and his cohorts could have easily turned out a mediocre picture at best and not the utter snoozefest that ultimately resulted. No, the fault doesn’t lie in the basic ideas, but rather with the truly piss poor execution. This film is almost a textbook example of how not to make a movie about a giant rampaging beast, on nearly every level of film making imaginable. That the film has survived throughout these decades and is still regarded with something approaching affection by legions of bad movie fans is a testament to both its raging cheeze factor as well as to the indomitable, and more often that not, stubborn spirit of B-Movie fandom, which refuses to let the damn thing die.

The Storyline.
The basic storyline is about the only element in this picture that cannot be mercilessly criticized…much. As mentioned before, by the time this film came out audiences were quite familiar with stories about giant monsters on the loose. America had seen its fair share of gargantuan creepy crawlies and Japan had exported the King of the Monsters himself – Godzilla – to these shores, to rousing success. So the template was in place for Sid Pink to build upon when crafting his opus. The only thing he really needed was a way to explain the origins of the beast and the circumstances that would allow it to rampage across the land. I must say that this particular aspect has always been outrageously silly in my eyes. A fifty million year old frozen tail that regenerates once it has been thawed out? Please. I’d have an easier time buying the idea that a frozen egg was thawed and hatched. Putting that ridiculous bit aside for the moment, the rest of the picture, sans annoying padding, unfolds like any other film of the same subgenre: monster escapes, monster causes widespread havoc, the military tries in vain to stop the monster and finally a last minute solution is pulled out of the script’s ass to kill the beast. While nothing new by any means, at least that portion of the film has the distinction of being familiar to the audience. We know what to expect, which makes our disappointment all the more tragic when we see what the movie has in store for us.

The down side to those segments of familiarity is that all together, they fall far short of achieving an ideal running time for the film. To compensate for this, Pink has liberally sprinkled the movie with sequences that are obvious padding. The notorious trip through Copenhagen and subsequent dinner at Tivoli, complete with lounge act musical number, undertaken by General Grayson and Connie Miller is the most notorious example of this. For the most annoying examples of this padding, we must turn to the character of Peterson and his odious comic relief. Whether it’s him reacting to his food under a microscope or dancing in pain at having been jolted by an electric eel, the comedic intent completely misses its mark and we can only stare, slack jawed at the sheer idiocy on display. Any laughs generated by this oaf are less from his shenanigans and more from the utter disbelief that such scenes were actually included in the film and meant to be funny. Between those two elements that slow an already glacial pace, the movie goes nowhere for the first forty minutes or so. By the time the monster escapes, we are echoing Grayson’s sentiments of boredom and fervently wishing for something…anything to happen in this film. Sadly, we’ll get our wish. At least in the American version, there isn't a musical number!

The second half of the film, which is comprised mostly of the main characters trying to locate and kill the beast while dealing with the death and destruction it is causing, is far more recognizable as a monster film. At least, viewing it by the broad strokes proves this to be true. All the staples are there: repeated failed attempts to destroy the creature, a series of isolated attacks by the beast before the major assault on a large metropolitan area (in this case Copenhagen) and then a last desperate gamble to end the threat. Heck, there is even the predictable “surprise” at the every end. All in all, a by the numbers giant monster outing. It’s when we take a much closer and scrutinizing look that we begin to detect the faint, unmistakable odor of crap. First up is the fact that the monster is easily hurt by fire. This is learned in the very first encounter with the beast, but do you think this approach is ever used again? Oh, hell no. Despite knowing full well how to kill it, Grayson spends most of the film’s latter half lamenting his lack of weapons. Then there is the colossal stupid reaction the authorities have to a giant monster on the loose in the sea. Do they close the beaches or limit shipping? Nope. Knowing that the monster is drawn to the Copenhagen area, do they try to steadily evacuate the area over the weeks the monster spends healing in the ocean? Nope. These various things just add to the feeling of idiocy that permeates this film. Of course, the one single element that contributes the most to the “crap factor” is the Reptilicus monster itself, which we will get to later.

Characterizations & Acting.
In most movies that require dubbing for American audiences, it is often hard to comment on the acting. The original foreign actors no doubt give it their all, whether they have talent or not, but it is often left up to the voice actors to instill each character with any sense of depth or personality with the verbalization of their dialog. Sometimes this is adequately achieved and other times it is not – poor lip synchronization and bland line delivery making for a somewhat disjointed feel. This film is a whole other animal. Because the Danish actors memorized their lines phonetically, their English came out as very stilted and artificial, lacking the natural flow of fluency. When it came time for American actors to dub their lines, the careful and over annunciation on the part of their Danish peers made it hard to give a fluid performance. In order to keep the lip movements synched up properly, the voice actors ended up giving a slow and wooden delivery. This makes for the perception of a really lackluster job by the original actors and lends an air of sluggish artlessness to nearly every scene…not exactly something that rivets one’s attention to the screen. On the contrary, the film seems more like one long dress rehearsal rather than the real thing.

The characters don’t fare much better in their development. For the most part, they hold fast to the cinematic stereotypes of the day. The women are all attractive and contribute nothing much other than something pretty at which to look. In fact, there seems to be an abundance of female characters in this film. Most movies of similar lineage are content to have one, maybe two such females, but this film decides that three is even better! If there were any more young attractive women in this flick, I’d almost be expecting a slumber party sequence complete with a pillow fight that leads to some discard pajamas. Hmm…now that I think about it, such an idea is not entirely without merit and would have livened up the film considerably! The chance at seeing Ann Smyrner in some skimpy clothes (as rumored to exist in the Danish version) would definitely improve this film’s rating…some.

The scientist types are typical in their quest to further the understanding of mankind, though refreshingly there is not a single one that places such goals ahead of the welfare of the population. Indeed, once Reptilicus is on the loose, Professor Martens is just as adamant about killing it as General Grayson is, which steers the film clear of the military vs. the scientists (AKA militarism vs. intellectualism) conflicts that feature so heavily in old genre flicks. Maybe the good Professor is just flat out pissed about what happened to his friend Doctor Dalby and wants to see the creature dead? Then again, it could be a case of the film not being nearly as pretentious as some of its ilk. For that it can be both congratulated for sticking with entertaining people without flaunting deep issues, while simultaneously being condemned for its sheer juvenile approach to the situation, You can decide. Regardless, the only sticking point with Professor Martens is how to kill the monster and it is this viewpoint that leads him to butt heads with Grayson near the end, the General nearly prepared to nuke the city in order to destroy the monster.

Speaking of Grayson, his character has got to be one of the worst leading men to ever grace a monster/horror/science fiction film. The man is just flat out an incompetent boob. I’d have a hard time seeing this guy win at paintball let alone a major military confrontation. In addition to that, the man is annoying as hell in his perpetual grumpiness. At nearly every moment of the film he is sporting a look and attitude as if someone just tried to kick him in the balls while stealing his steak sandwich and scratching his car with a key – all things guaranteed to make any man mad as hell. He engenders no sympathy with the viewer whatsoever and the only reason anyone might cheer him on is because the monster itself is so idiotic looking. Displaying no charisma, it seems one of the film’s great mysteries is how this moron attracts the attention and concern of Connie Miller. The other great mystery is how this doofus retains his command with such disastrous results stemming from his choices. With such an annoying jackass for the lead, it’s a good thing that he doesn’t even show up until nearly halfway through the film.

Just about everyone else in this film is one hundred percent forgettable with one glaring exception: Peterson. Played by the late Dirch Passer, a famous comedian in Denmark (some call him the greatest Danish comedian ever), Peterson is the without a doubt the Jar Jar Binks of Reptilicus: you either hate him or you hate him even more. It is hard to fathom how any sane adult could find his actions in this film funny beyond the morbidly curious stare-at-a-car-accident sense of the word. In fact, most adults would find him caustic in the extreme, consigning his moments on screen to the fast forward button before ill health takes hold. Kids on the other hand will probably find him hilarious beyond words. It makes one wonder if his escapades here in this film are an example of what passed for Danish comedy at the time, or were just the result of Sid Pink shoehorning into the film scenes which he thought were funny? The world may never know.

FX.
This is where the “crap” in the “holy crap” film description originates. While the vast majority of monster movies back in the 50’s and 60’s did not enjoy huge budgets and were required to make things work with little or no money, leading to less than stellar results, this film nearly sets a new standard for crappy monster FX. The only movie that springs to mind with even crappier work is 1957’s The Giant Claw. After that breathtaking crapfest of abominable puppetry, dreadful rear projection wizardry and appalling miniature work, one would like to think that earnest film producers would have learned the lesson imparted by that film and chosen to forego the same bargain-basement approach in bringing their monster to life…at least in favor of some other bargain-basement approach. Apparently not Sid Pink. While not quite as craptacular as The Giant Claw, the title beast in Reptilicus is just as stupifyingly atrocious in appearance. Anyone can see that the so called “giant” reptile is nothing more than a cheap-ass puppet being awkwardly maneuvered and manipulated around cardboard miniature buildings. The ineptitude with which the monster moves about the city of Copenhagen – in reality a result of the puppet’s limitations of mobility, gives the viewer the impression that the “giant” monster is suffering from some sort of epileptic seizure. Either that or the thing didn’t regenerate properly and is now the world’s biggest retard, gimping along through the city to the utter annoyance of everyone.

Making matters worse (yes, things can always get worse in B-Moviedom) is the fact that aside from being a freakin’ puppet, the monster isn’t even a scary-looking puppet. This thing is supposed to instill a sense of fear? It looks like it is geared more towards hosting Saturday morning kiddie shows that scaring the crap out of people. In just about every scene that features the monster, look close enough and you can see the strings that are holding it up. Yeah, that inspires real terror, all right. As horrendous as that sounds, even more horrifying is the knowledge that in the Danish version of this film, the monster actually flew! Can you imagine? That must have looked even worse than the battleship-sized bird from The Giant Claw. No wonder such footage was excised from the American version. It would have caused riotous laughter. But what makes the whole sordid affair even more curious is that in order to compensate for the creature’s lack of flying in the American version, the producers decided to bestow some other “neato” ability on the monster. This came in the form of the acid slime, which was sloppily added after the fact by splicing it into existing footage via a cheap bluescreen effect (or whatever the equivalent was called back then). In the end, Reptilicus the monster is about as cheap and goofy-looking as one can get.

Music.
The Internet Movie Database lists Les Baxter as the one responsible for the music in the American version of this film. I’ve got to say that there are parts that sound pretty good for the era we’re dealing with here. Listening to it again for the first time in nearly a quarter century, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that one of those ancient melodies floating around in my head was from this film. Who knew it was that pervasive?

Technique.
In a word: sloppy. Sid Pink admits that much of the on set chaos was due to his inexperience and ineptitude as a director. Watching the finished film, I can only agree with an enthusiastic nod of the head. While the narrative is assembled in a halfway decent order, the first half of the film drags far too much. Pacing aside, I must point out the liberal…no, make that constant use of fade-outs and fade-ins as scene transitions. At one point there are several in the space of just a few minutes. It’s maddening! Another thing that drove me nuts was the varying quality in the film itself. Some scenes are relatively clean while others – most involving direct shots of the monster, are scratchy and often slightly out of focus. Were they trying to prevent the audience from getting a good look at the cheap puppet and its strings? However, far and away the one single aspect to this film that made me clench my fists in frustration was the group of morons Pink used as extras in this film. Dear lord, never have I seen so many people look directly into the freakin’ camera in one film! On top of that, in nearly every shot of panicked crowds fleeing for their lives, not only do we get numerous glimpses of such morons looking at the camera, but we are treated to dozens of people who are laughing and smiling! For the love of all that is holy, how can one NOT see this when filming such scenes, let alone when it comes time to edit the film together? Did the producers think no one would notice all those smiling, happy people running from a giant puppet?

Summation.
There is no denying that this movie not only falls far short of being a good monster movie, it falls short of even being a mediocre one. Low budget films with cheap-ass monsters were the norm back in those days, yet even amongst the crap there were varying levels of crappiness. This movie is just about at rock bottom. The sad part is, it is nowhere near as cheap and shoddy looking as countless other films, it is just saddled with one of the saddest, most pathetic monsters in cinema history. Despite all the other lunacy in the film – annoying characters, obvious padding, goofy science, illogical behavior and whatnot – upgrade the monster and this film would no doubt be remembered far differently than it has been. Hell, a guy in a monster suit would have improved things remarkably…and considering how cheezy that is, you then get an idea of just how bad this film is. However, despite all such negativity, the film still has some weird, inexplicable X factor that draws people to it. Yes, it is bad…and I do mean bad, but it also a film that seems to pop up on people’s guilty pleasure lists. The quintessential “Bad Movie,” it sucks big time, but it at least it does it with its own sense of cheezy style.

 

Expect To See:
Comic Relief
Comic Relief - Ugh. We get Peterson the goofball monkeying around with microscopes, electric eels and generally being a grade "A" moron with his antics.
Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs - Well…a partial dinosaur. Reptilicus is a cross between a dinosaur and some unknown amphibious creature. He looks more like the love child of Barney and Manda.
Giant Monsters
Giant Monsters - Reptilicus starts out as just a tail and ends up being a couple hundred feet in length. Despite the massive size, it never resembles anything other than the puppet it is.
Gore
Gore - Very little, but we do see a handful of flesh and dripping blood when Svend unearths the Reptilicus tail – nothing you wouldn’t see in your local meat market.
Hotrods
Hotrods - This one isn’t in the film for too long, but Lise Martens can be seen jetting around in a little red sports car. General Grayson and Connie Miller borrow it on one occasion.
Ocean Hijinks
Ocean Hijinks - Lots and lots of footage of the Danish Navy dropping depth charges all over the Baltic Sea in what I deemed Operation: Fart In The Bath.
Romance
Romance - It’s implied that Grayson hooks up with Connie Miller. Plus, I’m sure Svend managed to bang one of Professor Martens’ daughters…if not both. Maybe at the same time!
Science
Science - Loads of gobbledeegook, from theories on how Reptilicus was preserved through the ages to what caused its sudden growth spurt.
Sea Terrors
Sea Terrors - Good old Reptilicus spends part of the movie lurking in the seas, capsizing stock footage boats and coming ashore to snack on fishing villages.
Stock Footage
Stock Footage - This is hit and miss. Some shots of ruined ships, ruined buildings, ruined power lines, etc. What is NOT stock footage is every scene with the Army or the Navy.
Undersea Hijinks
Undersea Hijinks - Very little. We see Reptilicus snoozing as the Navy drops its depth charges. The scenes in question appear to have been filmed in a fish tank.
Violence
Violence - Aside from the large amount of firearms and artillery being shot off in this film, the most violent it gets is when Reptilicus swallows that farmer whole.

 

Movie Stats:
Shadow's Commentary:

Total deaths: 3 seen, hundreds reported
People eaten by Reptilicus: 2
Cows eaten by Reptilicus: 14
Bare breasts: 0
Boobs: 2 (Grayson and Peterson)
Different jobs Svend has in this film: 4
Times an electric eel is the spark for comic "genius": 2
Fade-to-black scene transitions: 9
Famous Copenhagen landmarks seen: 7
Times Reptilicus spits acid slime: 18
Different dresses worn collectively by Lise, Karen and Connie: 17
Times Svend changes clothes after Reptilicus escapes: 0
Times we see the strings working the Reptilicus puppet: 9 (at least)
Times Danish extras look straight into the camera: Too many to count
Smiling/laughing people in the "terrified" crowds: Too many to count

00 Mins – Arctic? Where’s the damn ice and snow?
03 Mins - That’s the camera? My VCR is smaller than that.
04 Mins - Ask Dr. Stupid.
17 Mins - It means this film is taking too long!
24 Mins - Somebody please up the amperage.
27 Mins - Now we come to the travelogue portion of the movie.
28 Mins - Tivoli sucks. I’ll take Disneyland any day.
33 Mins - Feet don’t fail me now!
41 Mins - Hahahahaha…it’s a freakin’ puppet!
43 Mins - Time for the morning Danish!
48 Mins - A week has elapsed and Svend is wearing the same clothes.
54 Mins - Another week without Svend changing his clothes.
55 Mins - Stock Footage alert!
56 Mins - Where is Frankie and Annette?
79 Mins - Coming soon: Son o…er…FOOT of Reptilicus!


Shadow's Drinking Game: Before Reptilicus appears, take a drink every time Peterson is used for comic relief. After the monster shows up, take a drink every time it spits green slime.

 

Images Click for larger image

’"The next one of you morons who
says that it can’t get any better
than this, is gonna get my
boot up his ass."




"I’d read it, but it has been
dubbed into English."

Sheesh, I had a bigger microscope
than that when I was eight years old.

 
"We're off to see the wizard!"


What is the secret of NIMB?

Reptilicus...it's what's for dinner.

 
Phyllis Diller prepares for her
big comeback.


"Dude, your countergambit sucks.
Here move this piece."

It's riveting FX like this that make
Gamera flicks look like ILM.

Tanks for the memories.

A scene from the lost "Beach"
movie: Frankie and Annette
vs. The Sea Serpent
.



"Pardon me, but can I borrow
some sun screen?"


"This just in…this movie sucks ass
and we actors apologize. We offer
up the life of the director
as recompense."

3-D! Comin’ at ya!

Test audiences for this film went
racing for the theater doors…
and kept right on going.

More upsetting than Reptilicus
was the news that Yanni
had arrived in town.
 

If I had two hot blonde Danish
chicks hangin’ all over me, I’d
have two words for you:
Three Way.

Just don't ask what Red Lobster's
fresh catch of the day is.
 

 

Immortal Dialog

Part of Grayson’s opening monologue.

Grayson: "Somewhere in the forbidding tundra mountains of Lapland, high above the arctic circle a group of mining engineers were prospecting for copper, but what they unearthed was a story. A story that was to terrorize the whole world."

Shadow’s comment: This movie?


Peterson outlines his approach to security.

Peterson: "Sure. Anything fishy going on, I’ll look into it."

Shadow’s comment: Start by looking into how this train wreck of a film got made.

 

Keep In Mind
  • The arctic doesn’t really have snow and ice.
  • Danish scientists are ready to fly to dig sites at a moment’s notice.
  • Flesh frozen for 50 million years and then thawed out won’t smell in the slightest.
  • Incompetent Generals are pawned off on other countries.
  • Electrically charged atmosphere + lots of nutrients = supersize.
  • Even gigantic reptiles like to start their day with a Danish.
  • Some Generals are real "hands on" types, opting to man the guns themselves.
  • Emergency situations suspend the need to change one’s clothes for weeks at a time.
  • Natives of Copenhagen make lousy movie extras.
  • Giant monsters are easily distracted.
  • Mining Engineers also make excellent drivers, radio operators and in a pinch, soldiers.
  • The first things to have power restored after a crisis are public fountains.



This Film & Me

This particular film represents one of my earliest monster movie memories. I can recall watching this one with three of my older sisters (and as I have mentioned before, they had all left home by the time I was five, so such a viewing had to have taken place before that) and them explaining to me what was going on. For example, when Peterson was freaking out near the electric eel tank, I thought the monster was already on the loose. My siblings had to explain to me that it was still just a tail at the time. For some inexplicable reason, as a child I had a morbid fascination with people falling…especially when they were falling large distances. The scene with people hurtling off Langebro bridge stuck in my memory for years and I can clearly remember making my own drawings of that scene, though mine depicted stick figures falling to their doom from a much taller structure. Another shot that stayed with me was when the army is trying to locate the monster soon after it has escaped and Captain Brandt sees its tail vanishing behind a farmhouse. To my youthful eyes, that looked one hundred percent real and I was amazed at such life-like FX. There are several other scenes that I remembered through the years: Peterson putting his food under the microscope, Reptilicus swallowing the farmer, the monster rising from the sea at the beach, the one soldier shouting "there he is!" while pointing to an advancing Reptilicus and the many shots of people running to name but a few. After seeing the movie about five or six times by the time the 70’s came to an end, I didn’t see this film again for years and years. I did manage to catch a few moments of it on a couple occasions in the 90’s but it wasn’t until it showed up on one of those pay-cable channels (one of those Encore or Starz channels – I forget which since there seem to be a million of them) this past summer that I saw it in its entirety for the first time in nearly twenty five years. Afterwards I decided I needed the DVD and began looking for it in stores. After a fruitless search I went ahead and bought it online.

Shadow's rating: Four Tombstones



The Good

  • Hot Danish chicks
  • Cheezy as hell
  • Um...not much else

The Bad

  • Peterson's odious comic relief
  • General Mark Grayson: worst military leader EVER
  • Civil authorities' lack of concern for public safety
  • Snow and iceless arctic locales

The Ugly

  • Utterly ridiculous puppet used to portray monster
  • Slime FX added after the fact
  • Smiling, laughing people in "terrified" crowds
  • Too many crowd members look directly at camera

 

 

Review Round-Up
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