The Quatermass Xperiment
The Creeping Unknown / Shock / The Quatermass Experiment / Schock
Anthony Hinds for Hammer
directed by Val Guest
starring Brian Donlevy, Jack Warner, Margia Dean, Thora Hird, Gordon Jackson, David King-Wood, Harold Lang, Lionel Jeffries, Sam Kydd, Richard Wordsworth
screenplay by Richard H. Landau, Val Guest, based on the BBC-tv-serial by Nigel Kneale, music by James Bernard, conduted by John Hollingsworth, special effects by Les Bowie
Quatermass, Hammer's Quatermass, Quatermass (Brian Donlevy)
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A spaceship, which professor Quatermass (Brian Donlevy) has launched
into space, crashes onto earth, & when Quatermass & company open
it, one of the crew, Caroon (Richard Wordsworth) has miraculously
survived, while the other 2 crewmembers have miraculously totally
Inspector Lomax (Jack Warner) of Scotland Yard thinks it was murder, so
he & Quatermass soon investigate, only to learn there's something much
bigger behind it. It seems the rocketship has passed through some flare,
by which the 2 crewmembers were disintegrated, while Caroon put into a
state of shock. Btu it isn't even as simple as that, at first Quatermass
& Lomax find out that Caroon's fingerprints do not match anymore,
later it turns out his DNA might not be quite human anymore either, but an
alien intent on taking over the world ...
But while Quatermass & Lomax are still nvestigating, his wife
Judith (Margia Dean) has hired small time crook Christie (Harold Young) to
help her husband escape from the hospital he's held at. Christie however
does not survive the assignement, before Caroon is out of the hospital, he
sucks al the lifeforce out of Christie.
Soon Caroon escapes his wife too, & goes on a murdering spree
around the city, /& with each person he murders he turns less &
less human. Finally he takes refuge in Westminster Abbey, by now being a
giant blob with tentacles ... which is when Quatermass figures the only
way to get rid of the alien Caroon has turned out to be is to electrocute
him ... & so he, with the help of the army, does.
But while everyone else is celebrating the disposal of probably earth's
biggest threat, Quatermass already plans his next mission into space.
Quatermass Xperiment, itself the remake of a popular BBC-tv
serial (click here),
was the film that put Hammer Films - a small independent studio
which had been founded in the late 1930's & had since found a niche in
producing cheap b-fare - on the map for good & would pave the way for
future things to come. The film itself is a tense little sci-fi-thriller,
cheaply made but a tad more intelligent & effective than comparable
fare from America (even if the monster in the end looks more like a
laundrybag & not in the least scary), & Brian Donlevy's
performance as the tough-as-nails, ruthless scientist is just priceless.