Pre-Commentary: Touted as “Quite possibly the greatest sci-fi film to ever come from Denmark.” Whatever. Clips were used for recurring gags on the Monkees’ tv show, and reportedly the film now has cult status in Denmark.
Notes: Alta Vista. 82 minutes.
General Mark Grayson: Carl Ottosen
Professor Otto Martens: Asbjorn Andersen
Doctor Peter Dalby: Poul Wildaker
Lise Martens: Ann Smyrner
Karen Martens: Mimi Heinrich
Svend: Bent Mejding
Peterson: Dirch Passer
Connie Miller: Marla Behrens
Birthe Wilke: Herself
Directed: Sidney Pink
Summary: “Somewhere in the forbidding tundra mountains of Lapland” [Best opening phrase in a dinosaur movie: Reptilicus!] “high above the Arctic circle, a group of mining engineers were prospecting for copper. But what they unearthed was a story — a story that was to terrorize the whole world.”
Svend and crew bring up the drill with blood and “a piece of skin like leather” (which looks like liver to me). Expecting fossil bones, they decide they need paleontologists and to take pictures, failing to see that the liver is throbbing. The scientists include Otto Martens who assumes a “streak of icy muck” is responsible for the preservation. But it wasn’t frozen; neither was the blood! “The heat of the friction thawed it out and you got your blood!” They ship the “giant reptile” to wonderful wonderful Copenhagen, salty old queen of the sea, and the Danmarks Akvarium. Daughter Lise drops off Professor Martens and we meet Dr. Dalby and hear that Svend will be bringing more bone samples from Lapland. The tail they dug up is in the freezer. They calculate the whole animal would have been 90 feet long, “a giant dinosaur!” “70 maybe 100 million years old.”
Daughters Lise and the rather desperate Karen vie for Svend. Mr. Peterson takes over security duties and acts like an ass. Dalby works late, carves a piece of the tail, and falls asleep at his desk during a lightning storm. The freezer door accidentally opens, thawing the tail. At first Martens chews him out, but then realizes the tail is rejuvenating: “It is alive!”
Connie Miller from UNESCO and Brigadier General Mark Grayson from the UN (sent to provide “protective forces”) arrive with reporters for a press conference, at which the animal is dubbed Reptilicus and shown in its incubator tank. It secretes a substance “like strong acid.”
The big bastard General and Connie provide an obligatory tour wonderful wonder Copenhagen, salty old queen of the sea, and listen to the very wonderful Birthe Wilke (?) sing “Tivoli Nights” (a must for the dinofilm music collection).
Welp, it’s another stormy night and the phone lines go down. Dalby sees the animal moving and sends Peterson for the police. Later we find only the Doctor’s glasses and tracks to the water. Lots of army crap kicks in, and Reptilicus is sighted at a small farm on the coast where 14 cows have been eaten. The army fires on the animal, but “Those bony scales are like armor plates. We need a lot more fire power.” Everyone heads to the beach, Reptilicus crushes a house and eats the farmer, and the army tries flamethrowers, which drive Reptilicus off into the water where we know he’ll regenerate.
Martens blabs about the creature representing the attempt of Nature to bridge the gap between reptile and mammal, but let’s face it, the thing is a hand-puppet. Brigadier General Jack Ass executes the cleverly titled “Plan A” — depth charges. “We’ll get him this time: blow him to bits!” The Professor has a heart attack and Connie is almost speechless at his stupid plan to create thousands of rejuvenating bits of dino. Oh. He calls it off too late; one hits and a piece of Reptilicus floats to the ocean floor.
Two weeks later Reptilicus is back capsizing freighters and leaving a “trail of death and destruction.” Svend has angst. Reptilicus spreads green acid slime on beachgoers and heads for womderful wonderful Copenhagen, salty old queen of the sea, where [damn] the General can use “no bombs, no heavy artillery.” After street panic and running Danes, “Reptilicus is headed for the suburbs; we must keep him from returning to the city.”
Professor Martens is back from cardiological intensive care in time to stop the General from the same dumb-ass plan to use bombs: “Reptilicus must not be blown to bits.” “I’m a soldier, not a scientist. That’s the way I know how to kill.” “Then learn another.”
The Professor has more chest pains and is sedated. Svend thinks it’s too bad we can’t use a hypodermic on Reptilicus, an idea so crazy it just might work. We trot off to “the University” where the gals mix up a gallon of an unspecified drug for the warhead. The General announces, “There’s one place I think we can penetrate: the soft skin inside his mouth.” [There it is again!]
Reptilicus is “getting out of control! [Was he in control before?] He seems to know we can’t hurt him.” But we can and do. He collapses and the plan is to dismember him scale by scale. Well thank the good Lord there are “no more like him.” Cut to the limb formerly blown off and now regenerating in the sea. The End? Yes.
Commentary: Dreadful. The General is a colossal jackass and a rage-aholic and I have lost all interest in visiting wonderful wonderful Copenhagen, salty old queen of the sea, Birthe Wilke as herself singing “Tivoli Nights” notwithstanding.
The focus on the reptilian mouth appears pronouncedly here again, but otherwise I hope to live out my remaining years never seeing this stinkburger of a film again.