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Quatermass 2

UK 1955
produced by
Rudolph Cartier for BBC
directed by Rudolph Cartier
starring John Robinson, Monica Grey, Hugh Griffith, John Stone, Rupert Davies, Austin Trevor, Derek Aylward, Roger Delgado, Michael Golden, John Rae, Elsie Arnold, Ian Wilson, Denis McCarthy, Philip Levene, Melvyn Hayes, Tom Clegg, Martin Lane, Wilfrid Brambell, John Miller, Brian Hayes, Eric Lugg, Hilda Barry, Herbert Lomas, Peter Carver, Michael Brennan
written by Nigel Kneale

Quatermass, BBC's Quatermass

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Captein Dillon (John Stone) is startled by a meteorite coming down near the village Winnerden Flats ... but he is even more starlled by the little interest his superiors show into htat incident, that even goes so far as ptrying to prevent him from investigating ... however, Dillon knows one man who will be interested, professor Quatermass (John Robinson).

Quatermass meanwhile is desperately trying to start another of his rocket6ships (which is faulty at best) & is planning to build a lunar city (which he of course can't do until he can lift a roketship off the ground). So to go investigating captain Dillon's neat little meteorite might be a nice diversion ... but once the 2 of them arrive at Winenrden Flats, which they expect to be a quiet little fishing village, they instead find a vast industrial complex looking not at all unlike the model for Quatermass' lunar city, which leads Quatermass to the absurd (yet correct) assumption that this might be some kind of outpost for alien settlers.

Near the complex, Quatermass & Dillon also find what they think to be the meteroite (or part of it), but when Dillon touches it, it breaks apart, some gas evades & something seems to be taking possession of Dillon ... but what's worse, suddenly guards from the complex take him prisoner, & prevent Quatermass at gunpoint from following, or doing anything else stupid.

As his on-site research led to remarkably little, Quatermass tries to solve the Winnerden Flats-mystery in London, where MP Fowler (Austin Trevor), who normally does little but turn down his budgets, gets him together with MP Broadhead (Rupert Davies), who makes investigations concerning Winnerden Flats, that is supposed to be a secret synthetic foods plant, but quite a number of things simply don't add up.. But when Quatermass accompanies him to a panel meeting, he discovers that all of the other panel embers seem to be brainwashed, & eventually Braoadhead is brainwashed too, before Quatermass can learn anything important ...

To investigate further, Quatermass & Fowler persuade the food-plant's PR-manager Ward (Derek Aylward), a rather naive but not brainwashed man, to give them a tour through the plant ... & there Quatermass discovers something beyond his worst nightmare, that the plant produces gases able to turn the earth'S oxygen based atmosphere into an ammonium based ice-age like atmopsphere ... which only leads to one conclusion (well ...), that aliens from one of Saturn's moons are trying to make earth their home, & all the people he thought brainwashed are actually possessed by the aliens as a sort of joined intelligence. & not only that, gradually, they have started to possess/brainwash persons in lead postions all around the country.

Back at his lab, he learns from his assistants - his daughter Paula (Monica Grey) & fellow scientist Leo Pugh (Hugh Griffith) that they have discovered an asteroid that might be the aliens' mothership & that does everyhting possible to hide from earth's radar (which was obviously not enough for the Quatermass gang), so Quatermass figures one way to stop the alien invasion would be to fly there in his faulty rocketship, place a few atomic bombs on the asteroid & blow it up, or even use the rocketship itself as a projectile ... but that might be a tad risky, since on one side the rocket is incredibly faulty, on the other it cannot be remote controlled - making this one a near-suicide mission.

So Quatermass puts another plan into action first, & together with reporter Conrad (Roger Delgado) visits a quitet village next to Winnerden Falls, where most of the people involved in the construction of the plant live in happy oblivion. It's only when Conrad is on the verge of becoming possessed too after having had contact with one of the meteorites, that the workers see the error of their (oblivious) ways & start a rebellion against their masters in the Winnerden Flats plant, take over key positions & eventually blow up the plant ...

... but despite this triumphant success, the war stillmight be lost, as the aliens have their plants all over the world, so it's up to Quatermass & his assistant Pugh to go up in their rocketship after all ... but once they are on the asteroid itself, it turns out that Pugh is possessed as well, & unfortunately he has brought a gun ...when he shoots at Quatermass thogh, he not only misses but has not taken into account the recoil of his gun & the fact that there's zero gravity on the asteroid ... & he is hurled off into space.

Quatermass can finally place his bombs on the asteroids, &, propelled by the force of the explosion, even make his way back to earth. & all people possessed by the alien intelligence turn back to normal ...


Within the confines of the science fiction story, this is a rather intelligent variation on the alien invasion formula, insasmuch as it has a very logical & plausible storyline (in the sci-fi-context, of course), & portraying the lead good guy scientist as a ruthless know-it-all does certainly have its merits - especially if all this is compared to similar American drive-in fodder, where the aliens seem to be content in conquering a backwoods village, & the illage's doctor is a notorious do-gooder who gets the girl in the end - all of which is of course charming on another level.

What brings Quatermass 2 down a little though is that it is way too long & has way too many characters to retain tension or remain wholly comprehensible (especially since many of the characters are basically killed of after being the co-lead in one or 2 episodes), & then there's the ratbher silly ending with the flight into space,t hat stretches credibility more than a tad, & is not at all helped by unconvincing boring effects ... on both tese accounts, the Hammer-version from 2 years later (also called Quatermass 2) fared much better, cutting the length down to less than half, omitting most of the killed-off co-leads & leaving out the space travel in full.



review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD