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X: The Unknown (1956)

Approved  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  May 1957 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 1,706 users  
Reviews: 54 user | 31 critic

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


, (uncredited)


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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)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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


Horror | Sci-Fi


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

May 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Het onbekende  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film's release was delayed by eight months because of a dispute between RKO and Warner Brothers over distribution rights. See more »


Near the end, when John is backing up the jeep to the pit, he is sweating profusely. In the next scene his face is dry. See more »


Peter Elliott: How do you explain it, sir? All this extraordinary damage just to steal an old sample container?
See more »


Referenced in The Blob (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

Hard SF classic creepy from start to finish
24 December 2002 | by (Fountain Valley, CA) – See all my reviews

Back in the days when "Prince Valiant" still covered most of a page in the Sunday funnies, I first saw this wonderfully creepy SF sleeper. From the opening scenes of a stretch of the Scottish moors opening up under a British soldier's feet, I was hooked. I was very lucky that my parents didn't send me to bed then(although they did right in the middle of "From Hell It Came", but that's another story); I was resolved to catch it again just to get that creepy feeling! The ominous P.O.V. shots of the "X" monster shambling through the barren woods at night, the outrageous "melting" death by hard radiation of the medical tech in the X-ray room, Dean Jagger as Dr. Royston, describing his new invention that can (theoretically) speed up decay of radioactive materials without causing flare-ups(!) simply by leeching away its' energy, and the film's creepy, near-ambiguous ending ("We did destroy it...didn't we?") showed just what you could--and can!--still do with a small budget and respect for the material.

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