"Looks like a very rare feather. Maybe it’s a good luck piece. You’d better keep it."
George Zucco played a lot of crazy people. Doctors, professors, it doesn’t matter, he’s done them all. In “The Flying Serpent” George plays Professor Andrew Forbes an insane archaeologist who has discovered a living ancient serpent known as Quetzalcoatl. The serpent is part bird and part reptile. It guards the treasure of the Aztec ruler Montezuma and has been doing so for 300 years. He keeps the creature imprisoned. The professor has learned that if you take one of it’s feathers it will kill whoever has it to get the feather back. Professor Forbes uses this information to destroy those he feels are his enemies.
Dr. John Lambert (James Metcalf) is an ornithologist who wrote an article about the serpent and used Montezuma and his treasure as part of the article. Professor Forbes is upset. He feels that because of the article treasure hunters will descend and find the treasure and the serpent. He drops a feather from the bird near Dr. Lambert so he will find it. The professor’s daughter Mary (Hope Kramer) finds the feather and unwittingly gives it to Dr. Lambert for his research. Professor Forbes releases Quetzalcoatl from his cage. On his way home Dr. Lambert sees the serpent and stops his car. He gets out to get a better look at it. That is when the serpent swoops down and kills him draining him of blood. It then returns to it’s cave.
Richard Thorpe (Ralph Lewis) is a writer of mystery stories. He believes he can solved the mystery of Dr. Lambert’s death. He announces on the radio that he will be going to the tiny town of San Juan, New Mexico. Thorpe begins interviewing people. When he talks to Professor Forbes he mentions that the professor’s wife died 5 years ago under similar circumstances.
The professor is not happy with Thorpe investigating Lambert’s death. He sets up a plot to have Quetzalcoatl kill Thorpe by planting a feather near him. Inadvertently the sheriff is killed instead. Thorpe is getting closer. He suspects the professor is involved and decides to set a trap.
There have been references made that “The Flying Serpent” made in 1946 is basically a rework of “The Devil Bat” done in 1941 with Bela Lugosi. There are similarities, however, you could say the same for “Night of the Demon” done in 1957 with Dana Andrews. The plot is a well used one. Bad guy plants something on his enemies that cause something else to kill them. Murder by proxy so to speak. In the end the passive aggressive killer usually ends up being the prey. Apparently even remakes have remakes. The movie “Q The Winged Serpent” done in 1982 is supposedly a rework of “The Flying Serpent” only with lots more blood and lots more gore.
The movie is OK. The special effects were very limited at the time. The serpent is a puppet. I’m OK with that. I don’t begrudge an old movie for it’s bad special effects.
I though the theme was an interesting one. Aztec serpent god movies weren’t that common at the time. It was entertaining.