Reptilicus (1961) poster

Reptilicus (1961)


Denmark. 1961.


Director/Producer – Sidney Pink, Screenplay – Sidney Pink & Ib Melchior, Photography – Aage Wiltrup, Special Effects – Kay Koed, Production Design – Koed, Helge Hansen & Otto Lund. Production Company – Cinemagic.


Carl Ottosen (Brigadier-General Mark Grayson), Asbjørn Andersen (Professor Otto Martens), Bodil Miller (Connie Miller), Bent Mejding (Sven), Poul Wildaker (Dr Peter Dalby), Mimi Heinrich (Karen Martens), Ann Smyrner (Lise Martens)


A drilling project in Lapland unearths the tail of a prehistoric dinosaur. The remains are taken for study at the Denmark Arkivarium in Copenhagen. When an assistant leaves a freezer open, the tail thaws and starts regenerating. A lightning storm finally brings the reptilicus back to life and it smashes out of the lab and rampages across the Danish countryside. American military brings all arms against it but to no avail.

This Danish effort is another copy of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953). The Beast from 20,000 Fathons created the great wave of atomic monsters film in the 1950s, as well as a spate of revived dinosaur films. In this case, Reptilicus is a much more blatant ripoff than most of its ilk. The plot is a virtual rewrite of Beast – even down to the bullet being fired into the Beast’s gullet at the climax.

The film is badly made. The reptilicus is possibly the least convincing giant monster to ever grace a science-fiction film. It is laughably scrawny – it looks for all the world like it is made out of pipe cleaners. The model effects scenes that it appears in are extremely poorly photographed, while the effects of it breathing radioactive goo looks like someone has animated green paint directly onto the film frame.

The Reptilicus attacks Copenhagen in Reptilicus (1961)
The Reptilicus attacks Copenhagen

Though made in Denmark, Reptilicus has obviously been made to appeal in the American market – it brings in American characters (although played by Danish actors) for the purpose of audience identification, even has the American military coming to the rescue. The film even includes a lengthy Copenhagen travelogue sequence, no doubt for added tourism value.

Danish-born writer Ib Melchior and his American co-writer/director Sidney Pink, both in the USA and Sweden, combined on a number of other science-fiction films, including The Angry Red Planet (1959) and Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962), alternating duties as writers and directors. Melchior wrote and directed The Time Travelers (1964) and also wrote Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964), Planet of the Vampires (1965) and Death Race 2000 (1975).

Trailer here

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