Reptilicus – sort of a review

Who is that boy that is trying to clean the pool in that Periwinkle suit?! And why does he keep inviting people to pee into the pool? Sunny wondered about this and for the first time in a while he decided to stay in his hut near the resort.. to keep track of this strange guy! Sunny had spend many days on the beach fishing so it felt good to finally be back in his hut again.. there was also a tv! When he turned it on, he was fascinated by huge monsters… and he completely forgot about the weird pool boy!

A Strange Suggestion

The PLAN (is that the sound of Gods laughing) was to watch a couple of kaiju movies courtesy of TubiTV which has a plethora of them for free – let them pick me a random two movies – call it a Creature Double Feature and then review. 

The first movie I chose was Reptilicus because you simply have to find and choose a movie before TubiTV starts suggesting kaiju movies at you. Searching under monster, kaiju or horror nets you zero or completely unrelated stuff. They need to work on their search function. 

Anyway, I searched for and watched some old kaiju stuff a whiles back and Reptilicus was one they suggested and I thought it looked interesting. 

Movie poster via Wikipedia

First though, I should warn you that I’m a bit of a science nerd and that I find kaiju movies hilariously funny. So that’s where I’m coming from, most of the time. I expected Reptilicus, released in 1961, to be a prime example of horrible special effects, bad acting, worse script and beyond shaky science. 

I was wrong. 

Partially, at least. The special effects were really bad. I mean, REALLY bad. 

screencap from TubiTV

The acting actually was not bad at all. Two characters really stood out to me for different reasons. 

The comedic relief. Dirch Passer is hilarious as Peterson. He delicately remains on the good side of over exaggerated big dumb farmer hired to clean and look after the lab at night. 

screencap from TubiTV

But the one who really impressed me was Poul Wildaker (the Americanized version of his name, I don’t trust myself to try and get the Dutch letters on here so I’ll stick with the way he was credited in the American version of the film). He portrays the Dutch scientist, Dr. Peter Dalby – and he forever endeared himself to me in this one scene where he stands up to the (clearly American) war mongering general sent by some International governing body who wants to bomb the creature. I mean, check this out.

screencap from TubiTV – Don’t blow him up, he’ll regenerate and we’ll have even more of them! (You idiot)

The doctor then passes out – he’s just had a heart attack and apparently is a bit delicate (!) – which is what triggers the brilliant idea to sedate the creature as the Dr. was now sedated and resting. 

But really, no one EVER stands up to the American Warmonger General who wants to drop the bomb. I loved it. You tell ‘em Doctor!!! 

Idiot Americans, Heroic Dutch and Destroyed Danes

Wikipedia tells me that the first version of the film was considered unshowable to American audiences. I bet. And there was some sort of lawsuit over the whole thing, no information about what that was about, but I can guess. Americans don’t like to come off as the idiots we are. We want to be the heroes, and in this kaiju movie, the Dutch are the heroes. I loved it. Anyway, there was finally a version put out that our delicate little American egos could handle. 

Another thing that endeared the movie to me was watching Reptilicus stomp Copenhagen. It was just a nice change from Tokyo and New York City. 

screencap from TubiTV

The science was shaky, of course. Reptilicus grew his whole self from a bit of tail. That sounds slightly kinky now that I read it. Some animals can do that, of course, like the Starfish the Dr. uses as examples and it is so true that Reptilicus is the most complex animal to (not) grow his entire body back. And let me tell you from experience that sedating a reptile is not easily done. They have very different metabolisms from mammals. Drugs work differently if at all. The main problem is they have not just slower metabolisms, but the ability to slow their metabolism even more if something is wrong. Actually killing a reptile with sedation is quite an undertaking with a perfectly normal snake, never mind a lizard of that size. 

Reptilicus has a bit of a cult following, it turns out, as the first, last and only Danish kaiju movie, made in cooperation with American International Pictures. So if you check the Wikipedia entry you’ll find bits and bobs of this picture have popped up in all sorts of places, from Green Acres to South Park. 

But who knows…maybe he’ll strike again…since the warmonger blew his foot off and then left it behind in the first round of attacks.  He grew back from a bit of tail to begin with after all. 

Screencap fromTubiTV – whoopsie, we missed a piece…