Reptilicus (1961)

Reptilicus (1961)

Invincible…Indestructible! What was this awesome BEAST born 50 million years out of time?

The tail of a prehistoric monster is found during a Danish drilling expedition to the Arctic. Scientists take the specimen back to research it in Copenhagen. They then find out that it’s starting to regenerate itself. Once grown to full size, Reptilicus begins a destructive rampage through Copenhagen.

 

Every country has had their own giant monster at some point in time: America had King Kong, Great Britain had Gorgo, Japan had Godzilla and Gamera and even Korea had Yongarry. I thought the Brits had been given the short straw with Gorgo and Behemoth but then the Danes came along and brought the feeblest, most stupid-looking monster of the lot, Reptilicus, to the table. This could well be the ultimate low of the giant monster movie and perhaps Reptilicus has only The Giant Claw to rival it in terms of being the worst giant monster ever to grace the screen.

If you’re going to make a giant monster film at least make it a man-in-a-suit film or a stop-motion one. Instead, the creature of the title here looks like a feeble sock puppet to which the crew have little control over. It’s constantly swaying its head in the wrong direction that it’s supposed to be facing as if it is camera shy. At least have the creature look remotely scary – Reptilicus would provoke laughter from the people supposedly running for their lives from it. Its ability to spew ‘acid slime’ is also hilarious because the ‘special’ effect they use must just have been to colour the camera lens in green crayon. Reptilicus also gets to eat a cartoon man during another ridiculous moment of special effects hilarity. The monster tramples around a series of really cheap miniature sets which look to be made of cardboard and definitely don’t resemble what I’m sure is a beautiful city of Copenhagen. Still, the regeneration concept that the monster has is a good one and it means that the army can’t simply blow up the monster because there would be a lot more of them. But it isn’t used to its full potential and the creature still gets pelted with heavy artillery in an attempt to stop it. Sound logic indeed!

Reptilicus might have been a ‘so bad, it’s good’ consideration if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s so utterly boring. The first fifty minutes or so are tedious beyond belief. It’s not like the film picks up any momentum when the monster starts it’s rampage but at least there is something worthwhile happening, even if it is just a ludicrous giant sock puppet. Until then we’re treat to a lot of comic relief from the cast which is painfully unfunny. Maybe something got lost in the dubbing. The actors have all been dubbed over, no doubt because their English isn’t very good. Like many dubbed films, the dubbing jobs are poorly done and it means that the characters come off sounding so bored with proceedings. I mean it’s not to be expected because the film is pretty boring but at least when you’re dubbing a film, make the characters come to life or give them cheesy sounding voices to add to the camp value. A lot of the film is also taken up with a tourist guide to Copenhagen. Two of the military guys take a tour around the city and make sure that they point out the names of all of the famous buildings to the camera. If Copenhagen wanted to show itself off to the world, the city couldn’t have picked a more ridiculous way to show it than have an emaciated sock puppet try to destroy it.

 

Reptilicus is tacky little monster film from Denmark which may interest fans of Godzilla and co. looking to watch every giant monster movie out there but there is little here for anyone else. Danish filmmaking has never exactly been renowned for anything worthwhile and I bet you could trace the roots of that back to 1961.

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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