Quatermass Xperiment, The

Tagged: Film

Film (1955; vt The Creeping Unknown US). Hammer. Directed by Val Guest. Written by Richard Landau, Val Guest, based on the BBC TV serial by Nigel Kneale. Cast includes Brian Donlevy (Quatermass), Jack Warner and Richard Wordsworth. 82 minutes, cut to 78 minutes. Black and white.

It was this film version of the BBC's television serial The Quatermass Experiment that convinced the Hammer company there was money in horror. (The spelling "Xperiment" referred jokingly to the X certificate Hammer correctly expected the film to be given because of what seemed in those innocent days its alarming horror content.) An astronaut returns to Earth infected by spores from space that slowly take over his body, finally transforming him into an amorphous blob that retreats into Westminster Abbey, where it is electrocuted by Quatermass. (The original television serial ends with Quatermass talking to all the three astronaut psyches lingering within the monster, thus convincing the blob to self-destruct.) Richard Wordsworth's shambling, pitiful performance as the afflicted astronaut is quite moving, communicating (though he barely speaks) a sense of something utterly alien to human experience. The Quatermass Xperiment is a minor classic. [PN/JB]

see also: Monster Movies.

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