DVD: Reptilicus (1961)
In all my years of movie watching, I’ve never watched a low budget, 1960’s Danish monster movie…until now. Thank you Fabulous Films.
When copper miners discover the fleshy remains of an unknown animal in one of their drills, the meaty find is sent to a laboratory in Copenhagen for study. Keeping the flesh frozen is imperative in not destroying its internal structure, but unfortunately they leave Peterson (Dirch Passer) in charge; a man so inept that he makes the 2 door guards from Monty Python and the Holy Grail look like Mensa candidates. Now thawed, the flesh begins to regenerate at an accelerated rate, and quicker than you can say “damn that Peterson“, what was once a lump of inert flesh is now a towering monster that is terrorising Copenhagen. Now aware of its regenerative powers, how can the military stop its rampaging destruction?
The first thing you notice when watching Reptilicus are the bright colours popping from the screen. In an age when low budget movies were still being released in black and white, this brings Copenhagen alive with some lovely looking shots. The 2nd thing that you notice is the hilarious dubbing. What would normally be quite innocuous dialogue, is suddenly turned into unintentional comedic gold through its stilted delivery.
The star of the movie for me was not the monster (more on that in a moment) but the aforementioned Dirch Passer as the inept Peterson’. His character and performance is straight out of a ‘Three Stooges‘ movie; watch out for his scene with an electric eel! Whenever he appeared on screen a big smile appeared on my face and I knew that he was going to do something memorable.
Reptilicus itself is far from being the threatening monster that the movie makers would have liked you to believe. Once again budgetary constraints means that initial ideas have to be pared down to meet the cashflow, this resulted in a monster that resembles a cross between a rubber snake from a toy shop and an elaborate sock puppet that your Aunty spent a few days making you for Halloween one year. I have NO problem with this at all though, and suspension of disbelief is essential when watching any genre movie, whatever its budget may be.
As well as entertaining dialog, Passer’s unmissable comedy routine and a monster that Yoffy* might have had on his hand, you also get a scene that could have come directly from Copenhagen’s tourist attraction brochure as the viewer is taken on an accelerated trip around the city…before Reptilicus tries to destroy it.
This is yet another sci-fi movie from Fabulous Films that is a worthy addition to your collection and I will definitely be revisiting it on more than one occasion.
Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Fabulous Films.
*Hidden competition alert: The 1st person to tweet @60minuteswith with an explanation of that reference wins a still sealed Blu-ray of Big Trouble in Little China.