KAIJU DAY MARATHON: Reptilicus (1961)

As Jonah taught us on the new Mystery Science Theater 3000, every country has a monster.

This movie was filmed twice in Copenhagen, Sjælland and Jylland, Denmark.

Huh?

That’s because it was shot once in Danish and once in English because why dub this movie? Only Danish actress Bodil Miller doesn’t appear in the American cut because she couldn’t speak the language, so she was replaced by Marla Behrens.

Well, that was the plan.

The truth is when American-International Pictures saw the American cut, directed by Sidney W. Pink* (Bwana DevilThe Angry Red Planet), they realized that there was no way that it could play even the fourth feature at a drive-in. Ib Melchor, whose story The Racer became Death Race 2000 and who also wrote the American dialogue for Godzilla Raids Again and Planet of the Vampires, did major rework to get it into theaters.

Pink sued. Then he saw the new version of the movie and dropped the legal fight.

All they find in the beginning of this movie is Reptilicus’ tail, a fact that frightened me as a child, because it soon grows into a full creature who goes wild in Denmark until those wacky Danes ply it with downers and blow it up real good with a bazooka.

Charlton Comics — the soon-to-be home of Steve Ditko — published two issues of a Reptilicus comic book. They changed his name to Reptisaurus the Terrible and the series lasted until issue eight with one special issue. In 2012, that series was republished by Scary Monsters Magazine with the even better title of Scarysaurus the Scary.

There was also a Monarch paperback that referred to the creature as the “spawn of hell” on the back cover, which is way cooler than this movie. The book is also filled with sex, which upset Sidney W. Pink so much that he — you guessed it — sued them.

*Poul Bang did the honors in Denmark.

You can watch this on Tubi. If you have Netflix, I recommend the Mystery Science Theater 3000 take on the film.

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