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Cover of Reptilicus - which really misrepresents the content of the movie
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Reptilicus (1962)

When the accidentally thawed tail of a huge prehistoric monster is discovered … The process of regeneration begins growing into a full-sized monster… Reptilicus! Which attacks the city of Copenhagen.


Reptilicus … or, when puppets attack! Attack Copenhagen, that is. Why Copenhagen? Well, why should Tokyo get all the monster attacks? I have to admit, in my head I heard “Wonderful Copenhagen” multiple times …

In short, Reptilicus is a cheesy movie, with really poor special effects, and fairly mediocre acting. It has quite a few monster movie cliches. See the cover of the movie? Reptilicus really doesn’t look much like that. Except for the screaming lady. That, there’s plenty of.

The adorable Reptilicus puppet

It’s not that Reptilicus is worthless, however. The puppet looks cute. 🙂 The comedy relief of the janitor is actually funny. It’s enjoyable “let’s make fun of this movie” material. Which is why the revived Mystery Science Theater 3000 began with Reptilicus.

Editorial review of Reptilicus courtesy of

Poor, dead, Reptilicus
Poor, dead, Reptilicus

You’d have to be pretty desperate to enjoy this cheesy Danish monster flick, imported by American International Pictures in 1962 to capitalize on Japan’s barely-better Godzilla movies. The titular beastie begins as the frozen tail of a prehistoric reptile, discovered when a scientific drill hits a bloody mass of monster flesh buried deep in the Lapland tundra.

The tail is accidentally thawed (echoes of The Thing) and regenerates into a massive demon-lizard that spits fluorescent green ooze and terrorizes Copenhagen! Padded with archival military footage and stampedes of panicking Danes, the movie’s too earnest to be campy (save for some funny hamming by the science lab’s handyman) and too cheap to qualify as a guilty pleasure, with special effects that make rubber-suit romps like Godzilla look masterful by comparison. By the time an unwitting army general says, “It’s a good thing there are no more like him,” you may find yourself wishing he was right. –Jeff Shannon

Updated October 15, 2020

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