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X: The Unknown (1956)

 -  Sci-Fi | Mystery | Horror  -  May 1957 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 1,350 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 29 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

When the two soldiers "Spider" and "Haggis" are patrolling the crevasse and are confronted by "X" they are both carrying Thompson sub-machine guns. This firearm was never issued to British forces. See more »

Quotes

Peter Elliott: What happened, sir? I don't understand.
Dr. Adam Royston: Peter, I'm afraid I don't either. Yesterday the material in that container was giving a danger-point radiation reading. Now, as you just saw, it's nothing.
Peter Elliott: But that's impossible! Isn't it?
Dr. Adam Royston: Yesterday I would have said yes, but this fact is inescapable: The energy trapped in that trinium has been sucked right out of it. And furthermore, that window was barred and these doors were locked all night. So whoever it was came in here must be most ... unusual.
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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