Reptilicus
R2 - United Kingdom - Fabulous Films
Review written by and copyright: Matthew Crossman (3rd July 2016).
The Film

Whilst drilling for copper in the Arctic Circle in Lapland a team of miners drill through was seems to be a living creature deep underground. The skin and blood they retrieve is examined by Professors from Copenhagen and are amazed to discover that the flesh seems to be from a reptile from 70-100 million years ago. The team excavate a tail and take it back to the Danish capital for further studies. Once there the tail is kept in a frozen state within the laboratory until one night one of the professors, working late, takes a sample from the tail and fails to close the door properly. He then falls asleep and the tails begins to thaw. The next morning the discovery of the thawed out tail is discovered by amazingly it is starting to heal itself from wounds received many years ago and seems to be regenerating itself. The tail continues to regenerate itself and then once it is complete the beast, now dubbed 'Reptilicus' goes on the rampage through Denmark. The might of the World's military is brought in to try and combat against the creature but it seems like nothing can stop Reptilicus.

Reptilicus was originally filmed twice. The first version was a version where the actors spoke their native Danish language and the second version was for the English spoken language audience. It is the second version that is included on this disc with an alternate dubbing. All the actors in the film were in both versions except Bodil Miller who starred in the Danish version but was replaced by Marlies Berhens for the English version as Miller did not speak English. The English version was then picked up by American International Pictures (AIP) and heavily edited and re-dubbed by the studio. The Director, Sydney Pink, was strongly against this move by AIP and initially tried to sue the studio. The film itself has something of a cult following in it's native Denmark as it's the only monster movie ever to come out of this country. Such is the following that Sydney Pink lobbied for funds to make a sequel/remake after the success of the 1998 version of Godzilla but these plans fell apart after Pink died in 2002. The film is fairly standard fair for 1962. What does make it stand out is the fairly gruesome effects for the tail of Reptilicus and the funny script, some of it is even intentional, I'm sure. The model work for the creature is of a pretty decent standard for this type of schlock and it's nice to see a different location being used and Pink makes extensive use of Copenhagen. The cast perform gamely with such a ridiculous script and attempt to give the material a real gravitas but despite their efforts this a film to be laughed at (with?) rather than be scared of. Still, considering it's age and rather fanciful subject matter Reptilicus is still an enjoyable watch that rattles through it's storyline and quite a lick so even though some of the lines and some of the effects are quite ludicrous one barely has time to pause and think about it.

Video

Presented here, by Fabulous Films, in the original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 This is a pleasant surprise as many discs of this film on the, mainly American, market present Reptilicus in 1.33:1 The colour picture is quite soft and no effort has been made to restore the picture resulting in lots of instances of damage and speckling throughout. There is one instance, around the 14 minute mark where the tail is featured in the freezer and is inter cut with a lightning storm outside where the picture takes on a rather nasty ghosting effect which looks like the kind of effect you would notice during an anaglyph 3-D film (the kind with the red and blue lensed glasses). Thankfully this only lasts 15 seconds or so but it's unpleasant none the less. I do not know if this effect was present on the MGM Midnite Movies disc or on the more recent Scream Factory blu ray as I have not seen either of those versions. Other than those defects the film is watch-able.

Audio

The only soundtrack option is the English language 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono track. The dialogue is clear throughout and the musical soundtrack obviously lacks a bit of bass but overall it's acceptable. There are no subtitles available on this disc.

Extras

Nothing. Not a sausage. Not even a trailer.

Overall

The film itself is an enjoyable slice of hokum with a game cast and an occasionally witty script. Everyone tries to take the film seriously and that adds to the fun. The monster effects are pretty decent for the day it was made and it's nice to see Reptilicus rampaging through Copenhagen rather than just another small US town. The imagery on the disc certainly as it's fault and for serious Reptilicus fans it's worth investing in the Scream Factory blu-ray instead (which comes paired with 'Tentacles' on a double feature) assuming you have the ability to play Region A blu-rays, but for those that just want to see a good old fashioned monster movie then you won't go too far wrong with this edition from Fabulous Films.

The Film: C+ Video: D+ Audio: C+ Extras: F Overall: D+

 


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