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The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)

Unrated  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  June 1956 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 3,286 users  
Reviews: 76 user | 66 critic

A missile, launched by the team led by Prof. Quatermass, lands in the English countryside. Of the three members of the crew, two have mysteriously disappeared. The third one, barely alive, ... See full summary »

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(screenplay) (as Richard Landau) , (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jack Warner ...
...
Thora Hird ...
Rosemary 'Rosie' Elizabeth Wrigley
...
BBC TV producer
David King-Wood ...
Harold Lang ...
Christie
...
Blake
Sam Kydd ...
Police sergeant questioning Rosie
Richard Wordsworth ...
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Storyline

A missile, launched by the team led by Prof. Quatermass, lands in the English countryside. Of the three members of the crew, two have mysteriously disappeared. The third one, barely alive, undergoes an horrible metamorphosis turning into a monstrous "thing". When he breaks out and, chased in vain by inspector Lomax, starts killing humans and animals to feed his transformation, Quatermass realizes that this is the way chosen by an alien form of life to invade the Earth. Written by Stefano Cristiani <cristiani@astrpd.pd.astro.it>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

All Earth Stands Helpless! Spawned in the depths of outer space -- a monster so horrible, so vicious, so incredible -- even when you see it you won't believe it could be! (U.S. poster for The Creeping Unknown) See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

June 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Creeping Unknown  »

Box Office

Budget:

£45,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Val Guest heavily reworked Richard Landau's story draft (which assumed Quatermass would be British so changed Briscoe into a USAF Flight Surgeon), particularly tailoring the dialogue to compliment Donlevy's punchy no-nonsense acting style, which he believed helped to sell the more obscure SF plot elements to audiences. See more »

Goofs

Although the newspaper reports all refer to Q1's crash-landing as occurring on the previous night, the "News Chronicle" is dated Saturday October 23 1954 whilst the "Daily Mail" hails from Friday November 12 of the same year. Additionally, after the opening paragraphs, all of the reports are clearly about different subjects (such as a trade union dispute with BEA). See more »

Quotes

Prof. Bernard Quatermass: There's no room for personal feelings in science, Judith!
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Quatermass Experiment (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Xcellent! Xquisite! Xhelirating!!
23 June 2005 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

You can't even begin to describe how essential (and quintessential) this legendary Hammer-movie in fact is! It was the unexpected success of this movie that single-handedly caused the horror-boom all over Europe! If this adaptation from Nigel Kneale's play hadn't been so popular, Hammer Studios probably never would have started with re-telling other famous franchises, such as "Frankenstein", "Dracula" or "The Mummy". It was "The Quatermass Xperiment" that all of a sudden showed that the audience's hunger for morbid Sci-Fi and fantasy tales is insatiable and Hammer cleverly exploited this given bit by bit. The film itself is about 50 years old now, but it definitely still stands as one of the uncanniest and mesmerizing Sci-Fi films ever made. With its uniquely tense atmosphere, the astonishing performance by Richard Wordsworth and the intelligent script, this movie is an experience that'll keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Quatermass is the name of a brilliant (but slightly obnoxious) scientist who – apparently without permission of the legal authorities – launched a rocket with a 3-headed crew into space, to travel distances no other space-mission ever reached. The movie opens when a catastrophe already took place and the rocket crashes just outside London. Two crew members seemly vanished into thin air while the other (Wordsworth) is "possessed" with something. The unfortunate astronaut inexplicably turns into a monster that threatens to extinguish the entire world…

The premise of alien-intelligence invading earth through an unfortunate space-mission is extremely stereotyped by today's standards, but "The Quatermass Xperiment" is one of the only oldies in the genre that still feels genuine and original. A form of criticism I often encountered while browsing through other users' comments is that this production supposedly hasn't dated well and that it's nowhere near scary. Frankly, I don't share this opinion at all. First and foremost because the film suggests more terror rather than showing it explicitly! I am aware that few people nowadays appreciate horror film if it doesn't contain graphic violence and tons of blood, but it really is the unsettling atmosphere what makes this film so brilliant. And besides, I do think that the special and make-up effects are staggering although half a century old. The images of Wordsworth mutating arm wrapped in a filthy overcoat and his facial metamorphose are still definitely creepy! To wrap it all up: "The Quatermass Xperiment" is an exhilarating and trend-setting genre film that should be viewed by every fan of fantasy-flicks. Giant thumbs up for director Val Guest who also made another Hammer classic, "The Abominable Snowman"


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