August, 2013; $19.97
Review by Anthony Dluzak
Q The Winged Serpent is a 1982 New York sleaze and grime, gritty and low-budget creature flick brought to you by director/writer Larry Cohen. This cult classic was released by Scream Factory on Blu-ray last August to the delight of Grindhouse genre fans everywhere. However, if you are a big fan of this film and already own the Blue Underground DVD released in 2003, then you may be a touch disappointed.
True, the Scream Factory Blu-ray is cleaned and looks fantastic with more color consistency all while keeping the nostalgic look and feel of the natural film grain. The commentary track from Larry Cohen is also new (Blue Underground’s version was commentated by Larry and William Lustig) and gives some additional insights to the film and Larry’s firing from the film I, The Jury. Unfortunately, that is where the highlights of Scream Factory’s release ends.
What saddened me the most of this release was the audio. Mixed in DTS HD 2.0 – wait, 2.0? That’s stereo! Sure, back in ’82 stereo was the norm – and I even expect these new releases to feature a stereo track, but I also expect a full 5-7.0 surround in this day and age. Listening to this new DTS HD 2.0 track, I was disappointed in the quality. There are slight distortions at points, and the audio levels are mismatched forcing one to turn up the dialogue. Once again, compared to the Blue Underground DVD, this release falls short. Blue Underground’s featured a mono, stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and finally a full 6.1 DTS-ES. Why Scream Factory fell short here is beyond me.
Also notably missing are any subtitles – not a biggie, but could have been added. Another standard feature missing is the scene selections. This release just has chapter breaks. The rest of the special features are minimal – the original trailer as well as the teaser. Sure, this isn’t the Collector’s Edition, but even the Blue Underground version contained a poster and stills gallery as well as a DVD-ROM feature called “Q Memorabilia.”
As far as the film itself goes, it is exemplary of its cult following status. Michael Moriarty’s performance in this film is genuinely excellent and worthy of any New York style of character such as from Dog Day Afternoon or Taxi Driver. Plus – he can play a mean piano. If you haven’t seen this film already and love a good monster feature with a surprisingly good story, this picture deserves a viewing. If you are a huge fan of this film already, you won’t get anything new from this version other than the commentary.