DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE FLYING SERPENT (director: Sam Newfield; screenwriter: John T. Neville/story by John T. Neville; cinematographer: Jack Greenhalgh; editor:  Holbrook Todd; music:  Leo Erdody; cast: George Zucco (Prof. Andrew Forbes), Ralph Lewis (Richard Thorpe), Hope Kramer (Mary Forbes), Eddie Acuff (Jonsey), Wheaton Chambers (Louis Havener), James Metcalf (Dr. John Lambert), Terry Frost (Vance Bennett), Henry Hall (Sheriff Bill Hayes), Milton Kibbee (Hastings); Runtime: 58; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sigmund Neufeld; Adventures Unlimited Media; 1946)

"shows no imagination."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A remake of The Devil Bat (1940) with Bela Lugosi, that offers a slightly different theme and instead of a bat it offers a special effect flying creature (looking harmlessly like a stuffed puppet) that's half bird and half reptile. It's a poorly produced by PRC on an extremely low-budget. It explores the Quetzalcoatl myth, of Q as the Aztec god, in its flimsy and uninspiring way. So-so B-film director Sam Newfield ("Motor Patrol"/"The Lost Continent"/"Overland Riders") shows no imagination or ability to make this a fun movie, even if it has staying power as horror camp. The sci-fi tale is based on the story by John T. Neville, and is written by him. He also wrote the script for The Devil Bat.

In San Juan, New Mexico, madman archaeologist Professor Andrew Forbes (George Zucco) discovered on Pine Mountain, at the ruins of the Aztec temple, the treasure Montezuma, the emperor of Mexico, buried in the temple 300 years ago. The crazed Forbes now secretly gloats to himself that he's the richest man in the world and vows to kill anyone who tries to learn of his secret. That includes his wife, who mysteriously died a few years ago. By killing his wife, it left the sinister scientist in charge of his pretty young adult step-daughter Mary (Hope Kramer).

We soon learn that the treasure is protected by the caged flying creature, Quetzalcoat, now controlled by Forbes. When the local ornithologist, Dr. Lambert (James Metcalf), writes an article about its myths he exposes the area to curiosity seekers and treasure hunters. Because of this  the sinister Forbes has the creature kill him. When Forbes removes one of the creature's strange feathers and places it in Lambert's room, the creature, who will kill anyone possessing it, then attacks Lambert and returns to his cage in the temple with the feather.

The local radio station hires the noted mystery writer from NYC, Richard Thorpe (Ralph Lewis), to investigate Lambert's mysterious murder, where his blood was drained, and he carries on his investigation live while on the air.

Zucco gives a hammy performance as the sinister villain, while everyone else gives dull performances. It's the kind of inept film that if you enjoy, which is quite possible,  you might think you have to explain why or else you might be judged for having bad taste.

REVIEWED ON 9/26/2014       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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