Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Few Thoughts on Reptilicus

Blood Bound Books in a few months will be publishing Yeitso, my homage to the big monster movies of the 1950s that I grew up with. In the weeks leading up to that, I pulled out a bunch of my old DVDs and have been watching those movies again. The other night, I had on Retilicus while I was writing.

Anyone who knows me well knows that one of my guilty pleasures is Reptlicus.I know, it's a really bad B-movie from 1961 that begs to have three guys in the corner ripping on it, but the movie still holds a soft spot in my heart. While many people have seen the movie, few are aware that there are two versions. Much like Universal Studios did with Dracula in 1931, in which a version with English-language actors was filmed by day and an almost identical Spanish-language version was filmed at night, Saga Studios of Copenhagen did the same thing. Saga Studios used bilingual actors (for the most part) who filmed the original movie under Danish director Poul Bang, and then those actors reprised their roles for the English-language version directed by Sydney Pink.

However, when the English-language version came to the States, American International Pictures (AIP) considered Reptilicus unreleasable and had Danish-American screenwriter Ib Melchior completely rewrite the movie, removing scenes and entire subplots, and adding in horrible special effects (such as the green acid slime Reptilicis vomits up throughout the movie.) When the AIP version was released in 1962 in the States, it was different from the one released the year before in Denmark.I've been trying to find a copy of the original version, so far without success, but I was able to find some selected scenes from the Danish version to share.

One scene cut out of the AIP version was Reptlicus flying (as a kid I always wondered why he had wings but never flew--now I know). You can see the missing flight scene here. [Note Carl Ottosen, who plays General Mark Grayson in both movies, speaking Danish in this scene. The actress and actor who played Connie and Captain Brandt in the Danish-language version did not speak English and were replaced in the AIP version by Marla Behrens and Ole Wisborg.]

Another famous scene cut out of the AIP version is the Reptilicis theme, sung by famous Danish comedian Dirk Passer, who played Petersen in both versions.

This scene I could never understand. In the AIP version, you only see a close-up of the family as the roof of their house caves in. In the Danish version, you see Reptilicus' foot causing the damage.

Finally, Reptilics' return from the sea during his attack on the beach. The AIP version has him killing everyone by vomiting acid slime on them. The Danish version has him coming ashore and scaring everyone away. In my opinion, the latter version is much more effective, but you be the judge.

Enough geeking out on Reptilicus. I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I do.

No comments:

Post a Comment