Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reptilicus Redux!

Once upon a time in the late 50's and early 60's, giant monsters were all the rage. Denmark feeling that it too wanted to contribute its unique flavor to the monster surge of the time initiated by Japan's Godzilla, unleashed the prehistoric might of Reptilicus on the the city of Copenhagen and film-going public has never been the same since.

Great Poster! Who did it? Anyone know?

I've certainly never been, since I lensed the movie as part of an all-night Halloween film fest when I was youngster. The first few scenes scared me pretty well, though even as a kid I found the big monster's romp somewhat regrettable. Here's the trailer.

Sidney Pink produced this flick and thought the way to go for special effects was puppets. Puppetry was a classic approach, and one only has to look back to the very first giant monsters created by the master special effects kahunah Willis "Obie" O'Brien, to see the stop-motion mastery of that form. That's not the way they went with Reptilcus.

They went with a marionettes and hand puppets. Take a look.

Reptilicus does have one advantage over Godzilla and Kong, he can fly. But for some reason those scenes get cut from the American version and so his little wings seem attached to the big lizard for no good reason. Here's a look at him on the fly.

And here's a scene with him flying from the Danish version.

Needless to say Sidney Pink was interested in maximizing his profits from this creation, so he licensed the creature to comics, in particular Charlton Comics. They had a history with these kinds of things, having done Konga and Gorgo.

They created two issues of Reptilicus in 1961 and both sport outstanding covers.

Rocke Mastroserio

Dick Giordano

But Charlton also was associated with the paperback imprint Monarch and they too adapted Reptilicus using the writer David Owens. Pink took issue with some of the scenes created for the novel version which are reputed to have a somewhat lascivious quality. I've never read it, so I cannot speak first hand about it. But apparently it upset Pink who pulled the license from Charlton.

But Charlton must've seen some good numbers from their monster book, so they just kept on publishing it under the new name "Reptisaurus". It ran for six more issues through 1962, and a 1963 summer special edition to boot.

Sal Gentile & Vince Alascia

Joe Sinnott & Vince Colletta

Joe Sinnott & Vince Colletta

Charles Nicholas & Vince Alascia

Bill Montes & Ernie Bache

Bill Montes & Ernie Bache

Bill Montes & Ernie Bache

A few years ago an independent science fiction movie was made using the "Reptisaurus" name. I've not been able to see most of this movie, but I have seen the trailer and for this kind of Indy stuff it looks typical. I'd love to see it full length.

Here's the trailer.

So we are faced with the odyssey of this monster character who begins life in the cinema and then tumbles into comics only to return under his new name to the screen again. There is an irony here somewhere.

For more details on this offbeat tale of monsters and comics, see this link at Stephen Bissette's rather scholarly blog.

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  1. Spread the Reptilicus love. Heard that the flying sequences were cut out as AIP felt they looked ridiculous. Always wondered about that. After seeing the flight sequences, I thought they were no worse than any of the other effects in the film (and actually better than many).

  2. Ia agree. The flying stuff is at least as good as the other material and adds to the monster's power. I don't get why they cut it out.

    Thanks for taking time to respond. This Reptilicus report was the 1500th post here at the Dojo and I want to take a moment to thank everyone who stops by to check out the meager doings here.


    Rip Off

  3. Reptilicus was one of my favorite monster movies as a kid. I was very disappointed that they never made a sequel. I remember seeing pictures of Reptilicuds flying and wondering why they were taken out? Around 20 years ago when I wasn't working I decided to make my own sequel to Reptilicus called King Kong vs Reptilicus. Here is the link to part 1.


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