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X the Unknown

Entry updated 16 February 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1956). Hammer/Warner Bros. Directed by Leslie Norman (replacing Joseph Walton). Written by Jimmy Sangster. Cast includes Edward Chapman, Dean Jagger, William Lucas, Leo McKern and Anthony Newley. 86 minutes, cut to 78 minutes in the USA. Black and white.

In this Hammer sf/Horror film made soon after the success of their The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) – the "X" in both cases being intended to signal unimaginable horrors, as in X-rated (adults only) movies – a radioactive blob, a sort of primal, semi-fluid, living creature brought to the surface by tidal pressures in Earth's core, emerges near a village in Scotland and heads for the nearest source of radioactivity, melting people who get in its way. It is a tense, low-budget thriller, with both Jagger and McKern good, one as a scientist, the other as an investigator from the Atomic Energy Commission. The anxious atmosphere is amplified by moody photography, with many sequences shot at night. Routine in concept, the film is well above average in execution. [PN/JB]


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