Reptilicus is a 1961 Danish-American giant monster film about a prehistoric reptile. The film was produced by American International Pictures and Saga Studio, and separate versions were released in Denmark and in the United States.
The original Danish-language version was directed by Danish director Poul Bang and released in Denmark on February 25, 1961.
The American version, which was in English with a nearly identical cast, was directed by the film's American producer-director Sidney W. Pink; this version was initially deemed virtually unreleasable by American International Pictures and had to be extensively reworked by the film's Danish-American screenwriter, Ib Melchior, before being finally released in America in 1962. Pink was angry at the changes and wound up in a legal dispute with AIP. After Pink and others viewed the English-language version, the lawsuit was dropped.
However, the film is left open-ended. A final shot shows Reptilicus's foot, which had been blown off earlier by the Danish Navy's depth charges, sinking to the floor of the ocean, raising the possibility that it could regenerate into a new Reptilicus.
Filming took place in several locations in Denmark, including Copenhagen, Sjælland, and Jylland. Several versions were filmed, the original film was filmed using the native Danish language and the second was filmed using the English language. Each version of the film featured the same actors with the exception of Bodil Miller who was replaced by actress Marlies Behrens since the Danish actress could not speak English. However the English version of the film was heavily edited and the actors' voices dubbed over by American International Pictures for its release in the United States.
As Denmark's first and only giant monster film, this film has a cult following in its home country. Sidney Pink attempted to produce a remake of the film in 2001, due to the box office success of Godzilla in 1998, before his death in 2002.
The film was "riffed" on April 14, 2017, as the first entry in Netflix's Season Eleven of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The American version of Reptilicus was released on DVD on April 1, 2003 by MGM Home Entertainment under the Midnite Movies banner. The Danish version was released on DVD from Sandrew Metronome in 2002. On June 16, 2015, the film was released in the Blu-ray format by Scream Factory as a double feature with the 1977 film Tentacles
Reptilicus received mostly negative reviews from American critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 25% based on 8 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 3.9/10.
Author and film critic Leonard Maltin awarded the film a BOMB, his lowest rating for a film. In his review on the film Maltin wrote that the film was "only good for laughs as [the] script hits every conceivable monster-movie cliché, right to the final shot." TV Guide gave the film one out of a possible four stars calling it "A fair-to-poor monster film". Matt Brunson from Creative Loafing gave the film a negative review, writing "Awkward dubbing of foreign actors, special effects that look like they cost a buck fifty, laughably earnest dialogue, wince-inducing comic relief from a dim-witted character — if ever a movie was made that deserved to be showcased on the cult series, it's this one."
Novelization and comic
A novelization of the film was released in paperback at the time of its original release (Reptilicus by Dean Owen (Monarch, 1961)).
In 1961, Charlton Comics produced a comic book based on the film. Reptilicus lasted two issues. After the copyright had lapsed, Charlton modified the creatures look and renamed it Reptisaurus. The series was now renamed Reptisaurus the Terrible and would continue from issue #3 before being cancelled with issue #8 in 1962. This was followed by a one-shot called Reptisaurus Special Edition in 1963.
In 2012, Scary Monsters Magazine reprinted the Reptisaurus the Terrible series as a black and white collection called Scarysaurus the Scary.
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