Cheap, direct to video shitfest from Fred Olen Ray, the final frontier for the franchise you’ve never heard about until this very moment…. or did you really?
If you’ve been lurking and watching all things monster movies from a good decade or more, you probably already know of Reptilicus from 1961, the only Danish movie monster that had the privilege of being remembered by film historians, and like some of the others “Godzilla inspired” films, managed to get a shlocky comic book series, one that eventually crossed with the one based on Gorgo, of all fucking things.
But since this is that kind of story, Reptilicus’ comic book only lasted two issues. TWO.
Then the publisher, Charlton Comics, waited for the copyright on the name to expire, redesigning the creature a bit and retitling it as “Reptisaurus”, which at least gave the series more issues and a special one-shot, and – as said before – got a cameo in an issue of the Gorgo comic book series, also published by Charlton Comics.
Then 47 years later legendary exploitation director Fred Olen Ray decided to make a movie about it, because why not? I’m fairly sure the license was quite cheap, since we’re talking about a bastard revised version of an obscure Danish monster movie that got turned into a comic book series, almost instantly flopped and had to undergo a rebrand to survive a tiny bit more.
Though this is apparently a loose adaptation of the source material, not that it matters to me since i didn’t red it…..and i guess Fred Olen Ray too, since he just acts as a producer here (so no dragon-porking to be seen or wondered about, curiously enough), leaving directing duties to his son Christopher Ray, here at his directorial film debut.
The plot sees a group of friends get stranded on a deserted island, where they learn they’re definitely not alone, as it hard not to notice when a mutant dragon hunts you.
But fear not, as the movie has the – by then middle aged- star of old TV sci-fi series Buck Rogers in the 25th Centhury, ask your fathers or granpas about it, i’m not THAT old to have seen the series during its original run, or never, to be frank, i wouldn’t know, but i guess it’s a common fate to end up doing shitty b-movies for TV to make bank.
Not that it matters anyway since he just plays the “old colonel sitting at a desk barking orders via phone” role, most of the movie it’s actually following these special forces soldiers and this group of tweens trying to survive the Reptisaurus through a LOT of walking about in non-descript woods, searching refuge in a lab, once in a while shooting at a CG monster with wildly inconsistent size that changes from shot to shot, the characters are so bland you’re waiting for the monster to eat them not because you hate them but because then something would happen and they will be freed from their barren one-note existence….. you know, the same old shit.
It’s sure as hell it’s a crappy B-movie through and through, almost devoid of actual plot, there’s no reason given for the creature to attack everyone and everything it sees, or anything like a flashback on how the teens got shipwrecked, because who really cares, it would just make the movie cost more, so whatever, let’s just plop these tweens into the thing as uncerimoniously as the Reptisaurus itself, undeniably Christopher Ray got the chops and “attitude” of his film from his father, down to the overall cheap ambience that almost has whiffs of “homegrown cinema” to it.
Overall, Reptisaurus it’s a fairly below average made-for-tv cheap flick that somehow it’s far more enjoyable than it has any right to be, it’s quite bad but i’ve seen worse acting and effects, all things considered, so we have an ok “so bad it’s good” affair, plenty worse films to kill some time with.