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X: The Unknown (1956)

Approved  |   |  Sci-Fi, Mystery, Horror  |  May 1957 (USA)
6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 1,533 users  
Reviews: 53 user | 30 critic

Radioactive mud-like creature terrorizes a Scottish village during the 1950's.

Directors:

(as Joseph Walton) ,

Writer:

(story)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Edward Chapman ...
John Elliott
...
Insp. 'Mac' McGill
...
LCpl. 'Spider' Webb
Jameson Clark ...
Jack Harding
William Lucas ...
Peter Elliott
Peter Hammond ...
Lt. Bannerman
Marianne Brauns ...
Zena, the Nurse
Ian MacNaughton ...
Haggis (as Ian McNaughton)
Michael Ripper ...
Sgt. Harry Grimsdyke
John Harvey ...
Maj. Cartwright
Edwin Richfield ...
Soldier Burned on Back
Jane Aird ...
Vi Harding
Norman Macowan ...
Old Tom
Neil Hallett ...
Unwin (as Neil Hallet)
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Storyline

British Army radiation drills at a remote Scottish base attract a subterranean, radioactive entity of unknown nature that vanishes, leaving two severely radiation-burned soldiers... and a "bottomless" crack in the earth. Others who meet the thing in the night suffer likewise, and with increasing severity; it seems to be able to "absorb" radiation from any source, growing bigger and bigger. What is it?? How do you destroy a thing that "feeds" on energy? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

NOTHING CAN STOP IT! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Mystery | Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

May 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Het onbekende  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was originally intended to have been a sequel to another Hammer success, The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), but creator Nigel Kneale vetoed the use of his character(s) by another writer--hence Prof. Bernard Quatermass swiftly became Dr. Adam Royston. See more »

Goofs

Out of interest, the Thompson sub machine gun was issued to British forces. It was issued to regular army, Home guard (later TA) and especially axillary units. It was also issued to commandos, both army and later RN. Originating form the early twenties, the Tommy gun was issued to Brits much later, and some stayed in service for a very long time. See more »

Quotes

Major Cartwright: You know this Royston chap. Brilliant, of course, I'm sure. But the trouble with these scientific types is they can't see the easy way out of anything. It's got to be complicated if it's going to work.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A nice early outing from the nice people at Hammer studios
7 March 2005 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

This early offering from the studio that would go on to become the greatest force horror would ever see lacks the vibrant colours and pseudo-Gothic style that would go on to epitomise their later output, but it retains the British charm and wit that Hammer became famous for. The film also succeeds in being entertaining, and that's what Hammer Horror has always done best. X the Unknown is your classic 50's B-movie, and it follows a seemingly bottomless crack that has opened up in the Earth. This is not all, as adding to the Earth's woes is the creatures that have come out of this pit; which are made of mud and feed on energy. For the time it was made, the effects certainly aren't bad and this was an obvious blueprint for several b-movie 'classics', including most notably; The Blob. Seeing the huge mud creature fumble over telephone lines and rooftops is very fun to watch, and is a good early indicator of the sort of film that Hammer studios would go on to mass-produce.

One thing that X the Unknown is notable for is the believability regarding the scientists researching the 'creature'. Too often in this sort of film, the scientists realise what is going on and everyone just accepts it, no matter how ridiculous it is; but here there's a bit of opposition and it's nice to see. The film remains interesting throughout thanks to the way that the plot is developed, and the fact that it doesn't go over the top with detail. It attacks the premise from lots of different angles, and seeing the army do it's best to thwart the creature is always amusing. The cast keeps the film afloat at all times, and the acting isn't bad at all; and certainly much better than I was expecting. Most of the cast are unknowns, but one standout is Hammer regular - Michael Ripper, who puts in a small appearance. X the Unknown isn't a brilliant film, and Hammer would go on to better this ten fold; but it's good for what it's worth, and I definitely recommend this movie to fans of classic 'B' cinema.


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