Fanboy Planet is brought to you by the letters Q and X.
letters from the Z.
In tribute to Samuel Z. Arkoff's passing, the double feature is two
of his greatest productions that also happen to have single letters
X, sometimes subtitled The
Man With The X-Ray Eyes, stars Ray Milland as a scientist working
on a serum that will improve eyesight and, in accordance with convention,
knows the only proper test subject is himself. The experiments give
him X-Ray vision that becomes more and more intense as the film continues.
The film features Ray Milland in the second half of his career. He'd
already done Dial
M for Murder and The
Lost Weekend, but he still had Battlestar
Galactica and Escape to Witch Mountain to look forward
to. The effects in X impress even today with some really neat
trick photography. Director Roger Corman at the top of his game knew
that while effects were cool the story and performances needed to sell
the terror. And they do. Without a doubt X features one of the top ten
endings of all time and, as an added bonus, Don Rickles in a performance
that would be his all time best if not for Innocent
From X we back up seven letters to Q, also carrying a subtitle: The Winged Serpent. Short for Quetzlcoatl, the Aztec god who was half reptile and half bird, Q also stands for Arkoff's greatest post-AIP work. It involves a huge flying dragon-like creature that lives in the Chrysler Building. An ex-con (Michael Moriarty) knows where the beast nests and tries to profit on the information.
Written and directed by forgotten genre great Larry Cohen (It's
Alive and The
Stuff), Q features some great stop-motion animation and
Moriarty's greatest performance. Also in danger of being lizard food
are Caine from Kung-Fu
and the original Shaft
Both pictures are solid works that show that Arkoff knew good material, talent, and titles when he saw them. They serve as fitting tributes to a man that loved to put butts in seats for some low-budget fun that never failed to entertain.
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