ⓘ Reptilicus


ⓘ Reptilicus

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 films 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 films 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, however, the lawsuit was dropped.


1. Plot

Danish miner Svend Viltorft digs up a section of a giant reptiles tail from the frozen grounds in Lapland, where he and other miners are drilling. The section is flown to the Denmarks Aquarium in Copenhagen, where it is preserved in a cold room for scientific study. But due to careless mishandling, the room is left open and the section begins to thaw, only for scientists to find that it is starting to regenerate.

Professor Otto Martens, who is in charge of the aquarium, dubs the reptilian species "Reptilicus" upon a reporters suggestion and compares its regeneration abilities to that of other animals like starfish.

Once fully regenerated from the tail section, Reptilicus goes on an unstoppable rampage from the Danish countryside to the panic-stricken streets of Copenhagen including one of its famous landmarks, Langebro Bridge. The monster is finally rendered unconscious by a sedative developed by ingenious scientists and shot into its mouth from a bazooka fired by Gen. Grayson.

However, the film is left open-ended. A final shot shows one of Reptilicus legs, which had been blown off earlier by the Danish Navys depth charges, sitting on the ocean floor, raising the possibility that it could regenerate into a new Reptilicus.


2. Cast

  • Mimi Heinrich as Karen Martens
  • Povl Woldike as Dr. Peter Dalby
  • Bent Mejding as Svend Viltorft
  • Marla Behrens as Connie Miller American version
  • Ann Smyrner as Lise Martens
  • Asbjorn Andersen as Professor Otto Martens
  • Carl Ottosen as General Mark Grayson
  • Dirch Passer as Peterson
  • Ole Wisborg as Captain Brandt
  • Bodil Miller as Connie Miller Danish version

3. Production

Filming took place in several locations in Denmark, including Copenhagen, Sjælland, and Jylland. Several versions were filmed. The original 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 Marla 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.


4. Release

Theatrical release

As Denmarks first, last 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" as the first entry of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return a.k.a. Season 11, released by Netflix on April 14, 2017.

Home media

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.


5. Reception

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 script hits every conceivable monster-movie cliche, 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 MST3K its this one."


6. 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.


7. In popular culture

  • Argentinian music group Los Twist composed a song about this movie for their album La maquina del tiempo.
  • A clip of the movie was featured in the South Park episode "Cancelled".
  • The movie was featured as the premiere episode for the 2017 revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
  • Clips from this movie often appeared on various episodes of the 1960s TV show The Monkees.
  • In the 60s series The Beverly Hillbillies Season 5 Episode 3 Jethro double dates in a sports car to a Drive-In movie theater featuring this Film.
  • In the third episode of Season 1 of Disenchantment, King Zog refers to his wife Oona as Reptilicus.
  • The titular creature was referenced on a white board of different horror creatures in the film Cabin in the Woods.