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Reptilicus is the comedic relief you need right now

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1961 Danish theatrical poster of Reptilicus

1961 Danish theatrical poster of Reptilicus

1961 Danish theatrical poster of Reptilicus

William Schneider, Reporter

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Reptilicus is a movie with a near legendary status. It is not known for being good at any capacity, but as one of the funniest bad movies ever made.

The plot is as simple as they come. Some miners find a dinosaur skin in the Arctic, and they bring it to a lab. There, an accident allows it to grow to being a giant, and it goes on a rampage across Denmark, eventually laying waste to Copenhagen. In the movie, the military, led by Mark Grayson (Carl Ottosen), Professor Martins (Asbjorn Andersen) and reporter Svend Viltorft (Bent Mejding) is trying to destroy it.

Little in the film makes sense, including a forest in the Arctic, or why the general can’t seem to remember that the monsters can replicate from remnants. Hence blowing up the creature being a bad idea, like when the monster regrows from a tailpiece.

But let’s be honest, if you are seriously asking those questions in a movie called Reptilicus, you are taking things too seriously. The movies plot is very tight and moves quickly, and is ultimately incredibly average. Same goes for the dubbing. It is by no means bad, but nothing noteworthy.

With the acting and plot so stupidly average, the movies effects will either make or break the film. As such, how do Reptilicus’ effects hold up?

They don’t.

Even of the standards of the day it was released, Reptilicus itself looked laughable, and it is easy to see why. The whole puppet looks ridiculous. It’s incredibly stiff, like they glued scales and details to a hose. Its massive snout, tiny limbs, and oversized wings make it look less than menacing and rather cumbersome. And then there’s that green stuff coming out of its mouth.

Speaking of crap, this thing moves like the puppeteer what drunk. It is constantly moving in directions that are odd, and for whatever reason the film these scenes where shot on look like they went through a fire, at least at the beginning. The way it is composed into the shots with human actors looks terrible, especially a shot of Reptilicus eating a man. It looks so bad, I even burst out laughing when I first saw it.

The green stuff, by the way, was added by the American producers. In the original Danish print, Reptilicus does fly during his rampage in Copenhägen. The producers did not like this and to compensate, they had it spit out the green stuff instead. The flying looks as awful as you would expect, but it’s only remotely better than the monster vomiting Ecto-cooler on a fleeing populace.

And why did the producers replace it? Because it was “unrealistic”. Sure, unrealistic. In a movie where a wheelbarrow of dino skin found in a forest in the middle of the Arctic becomes a serpent, why not make it more “realistic” by making its huge wings not do the one thing they should and just have it expel battery acid out its mouth all over Copenhägen, just like a real dinosaur would.

Everything else? Totally fine.

These “special” effects and the unique dino vomit make this one of the worst movie monsters ever made, but also one of the most entertaining. Seeing the puppet slam against cardboard buildings while actors are dramatically terrified of it makes for one of the funniest combinations possible.

It falls into the class of so bad, it’s good. The rest of the movie is at least watchable too, with the plot being fast moving and quick. It is not a movie to watch expecting something serious or scary, but it’s perfectly suitable if you just want to watch something silly and fun. If that’s what you’re looking for, then I recommend it. If not, I still recommend it for its unequivocal stupidity and humor.

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Reptilicus is the comedic relief you need right now