George Zucco (The Cat and the Canary) stars in this campy, supernatural horror story. Zucco plays a crazed archeologist intent on protecting the fabulous Aztec treasure he has discovered. The professor invokes the Aztec go... more »d Quetzlcoatl, an ancient serpent, to guard his bounty. Soon, however, his paranoia leads him to turning the beast on anyone he thinks is a threat to his fortune.« less
Steven W. Hill | Chicago, IL United States | 02/09/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"THE FLYING SERPENT has no aspirations of greatness. But it does have the coolly sinister George Zucco! A bargain-basement remake of another poverty row classic THE DEVIL BAT, this film passes the hour (running time: 59 minutes) serving up mild amusement. Zucco pretends to be innocent, but we all know (and so should everyone else in the movie) that he's behind the strange killings that are always preceded by the discovery of an unusual feather. Zucco's (admittedly average) performance really is the only thing that makes it worth a view.As a lover of old low budget horror films, I give this one a "weak but fun". I'd recommend a rent instead of a buy, though, because the DVD is not a good value for the money. The picture quality is decent but the source material's quality is not very good. There are no significant extras included. It's only an hour long. Add those facts to a too-high list price, and you're best advised to buy it only if you KNOW you must have it."
Great horror film from poverty row's best studio
Simon Davis | 08/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"George Zucco is excellent(again) as a mad scientist is this adapation of PRC's earlier effort Killer Bat (starring an aged Bela Lugosi). By leaving a beautiful feather from an ancient Mayan prehistoric bird by any intended victim, the angry bird kills that person in order to retrieve it's coveted feather. Great atmosphere shots with Zucco in cave with caged bird, and cool but clumsy shots of the serpent flying and attacking. This is not a B picture, but a Z picture (my favorites)and it's tops in that catagory. The wonderfully ill finaced PRC studio(Producers Releasing Corp)also gave us the Z horror classics: Black Raven, Man made monster, the Monster maker and the above mentioned Killer Bats. If you think Blair Witch Project was done on the cheap, you ain't seen nothing yet!"
Interesting Poverty Row Horror Story Starring The Always Exc
Simon Davis | 01/03/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"George Zucco was one of Hollywood's favourite bad guys through most of the 1930's and 40's and is still best known today for his skillful playing of mad scientists, demented high priests, or murderous conmen. "The Flying Serpent", came quite late in his starring career and was a product of the "poverty row", company called the Producers Releasing Corporation. Making all their films on shoe string budgets they actually produced some very interesting films with their most famous probably being the eerie "The Devil Bat", starring the legendary Bela Lugosi. "The Flying Serpent", is basically a remake of that earlier film with the title creature being changed from a deadly Vampire Bat into the more exotic flying serpent of the title, ie the Aztec serpent God Quetzalcoati which guards a precious Aztec treasure trove and kills any intruders on George Zucco's command. "The Flying Serpent", really illustrates what great fun "B" films can be and is enlived considerably by a surprisingly ok lead monster which is light years better in appearance than many of the flying monsters of the 1950's such as the infamous bird from outer space in "The Giant Claw".
As the story opens we find gifted but decidely unhinged archeologist Prof. Andrew Forbes (George Zucco)coming across the long hidden treasure of the Aztec king Montezuma in a secluded cave near his diggings in New Mexico. Lured by the riches which he intends to keep for himself Prof. Forbes also discovers a large serpent creature, part bird and part reptile living in the cave and which turns out to be the ancient Aztec bird God Quetzalcoatl. Developing a strange hold over the creature Prof. Forbes keeps the monster in a cage in the cave and begins to use the creature to ruthlessly dispose of any individuals who might get in his way. Having discovered that the creature will attack and kill anyone who takes one of its precious feathers after it attacks and kills Forbes' wife, Forbes harnesses this power and sends Quetzalcoatl on a indiscriminate killing spree. First to die is his too curious rival Dr. lambert (James Metcalf) who has his throat torn out and is drained of all his blood when he comes into possession of one of the feathers. Sheriff Hayes (Henry Hall) also meets a similiar fate however the law starts to close in on the demented scientist when radio show host Richard Thorpe (Ralph Lewis), and Forbes' own step daughter Mary (Hope Kramer), begin to suspect him of being behind the murders. Dr. Forbes however ironically becomes the victim of his own greed when after a murder attempt on Mary after she finds out about his scheme, he ends up being the last victim of this mythical beast.
Obviously when talking about "B" features such as "The Flying Serpent", things like production values and storyline become relative terms. The Producers Releasing Corporation were a low grade film company that made Monogram Studios even look good however their effort here with "The Flying Serpent", running at an amazingly short 58 minutes wasn't that bad. George Zucco of course is always worth the price of admission and he lent his great talents for villianry to many efforts such as this. He was a man who had a strange career during the 1930's and 40's alternating between working in "A" level productions at places like MGM while then appearing in many Universal and Monogram "B", horror efforts in the very same year. Here he does his usual accomplished job in a part he was born to play giving his all even in these low budget surroundings. Hope Kramer as his step daughter has a rather colourless screen persona here in a role that if the film had of been made at Universal would have seen resident 40's scream queen Evelyn Ankers undoubtedly playing it. Her romance on screen with Ralph Lewis lacks any real animation and admittedly she does her best work in the latter part of the film alongside George Zucco as the story reaches its climax. Visually the creature of the title, the half bird, half reptile Quetzalcoatl is actually one of the films strong points and the clear views we get of the creature flying and going in to an attack are generally well done. As with many of these horror efforts logic sometimes goes out the window as we never do learn how Dr. Forbes trained the creature to attack its intended victims and how it came to live down through the centuries from the Aztec era and indeed who originally trapped it in the metal cage in the cave. Despite those flaws however the story is an interesting one which moves along very quickly because of its short running time and was based largely on the better known 1940 effort "The Devil Bat".
The whole "B' movie industry that spawned efforts such as "The Flying Serpent", and even its production company the Producers Releasing Corporation are nowadays most definitely a thing of the past. But these efforts are never less than enjoyable often for the wrong reasons and I find I love these low budget efforts that most often were low on money but big on imagination. To their credit veteran performers like George Zucco never simply walked through film such as this and collected their pay checks, they always gave their all in whatever role they were tackling which makes films like "The Flying Serpent", such enjoyable viewing still even today. The Quetzalcoatl Serpent God was certainly a most original creature to feature in a Hollywood movie and despite the film's sometimes rough edges it makes great late night viewing. Try and catch the "ancient terror born a billion years ago", in the low budget horror effort "The Flying Serpent" soon.
You can't spell "slaughter" without "laughter".
S. Kingsley | Indiana, USA | 10/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is really not a bad movie, it has several things going for it. It is short, like 58 minutes, which is a relief in this day of three and a half hour bore-a-thons. It has a good monster, the mindless killing machine Quetzalcoatl, who does nothing but kill, kill, kill and kill. And it has a sinister scientist as the bad guy who, of course, gets hoisted by his own pitard in the end. Oh yeah, it was shot in one of the most historic spots in the western hemisphere, San Juan county, New Mexico, home of the Anasazi culture and both Aztec Ruins National Monument and Chaco Canyon National Historic Site.
The 40's vintage special effect of the monster flying is much better than I expected, better than lots of the stuff from the 50's and even later, although it is obviously a puppet "flying" along on a string. And it's attack technique is suprisingly realistic and believable. And it's thirst for blood saved the producers from having to splash fake blood all over the place.
It falls down on a couple of points, the transfer ain't great and there never is any explaination as to why if "Q" is supposed to be guarding Montezuma's treasure why he is locked in a steel cage. And where did the cage come from in the first place. And how did he become so easily enlisted by Zucco's character and turned into a cut-rate hit man. Quetzalcoatl was, after all, supposed to be a God.
Don't forget to look at George Zucco's filmography, which is also on the DVD. This guy made lots of movies, most of which I haven't seen, yet."
What an Interesting Feather...
Joshua Koppel | Chicago, IL United States | 03/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"George Zucco plays the villain in this little film. The story is very similar to Lugosi Devil Bat but more rural.Zucco has found a Quetzalcoatl and keeps it captive. The serpent bird is very protective of its feathers. Zucco collects them and gives them to those he has a grudge against. The creature is then released which attacks the holder of the feather. Of course good triumphs over evil as it usually does in these old films.The effects of the creature and its flights are actually quite sophisticated. Zucco does his usual good job as the villain and gets good support from the rest of the cast.A fun old B-film that holds together well even after all these years."