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The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)

Professor Bernard Quatermass' manned rocket ship returns to Earth, but two of the astronauts are missing and the survivor seems ill and unable to communicate.

Director:

Val Guest

Writers:

Richard H. Landau (screenplay) (as Richard Landau), Val Guest (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Brian Donlevy ... Prof. Bernard Quatermass
Jack Warner ... Insp. Lomax
Margia Dean ... Mrs. Judith Carroon
Thora Hird ... Rosemary 'Rosie' Elizabeth Wrigley
Gordon Jackson ... BBC TV producer
David King-Wood David King-Wood ... Dr. Gordon Briscoe
Harold Lang Harold Lang ... Christie
Lionel Jeffries ... Blake
Sam Kydd ... Police sergeant questioning Rosie
Richard Wordsworth Richard Wordsworth ... Victor Carroon
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Storyline

In the countryside of London, a rocket crashes on a farm and Professor Bernard Quatermass and Scotland Yard Inspector Lomax arrive in the spot. The rocket was launched by Prof. Quatermass with the astronauts Victor Carroon, Greene and Reichebheim; however only Carroon is found very sick in the cabin. He is transported to a private clinic to stay under observation despite the protests of his wife Mrs. Judith Carroon. She bribes a nurse to bring Carroon to her and she finds that he is transforming into a monster. Carroon escapes, killing people and animals during his metamorphosis while the Scotland Yard is hunting him down and Dr. Quatermass discovers that his process is an alien invasion. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Beware of "THE CREEPING UNKNOWN!" See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 June 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Creeping Unknown See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£45,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hammer Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

When the spaceship is first seen, it is stuck into the ground at an angle of approximately 70 degrees, yet when Quatermass and his team enter, the inside is shown almost level. See more »

Quotes

Insp. Lomax: Nobody ever wins a cold war.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original 1955 "Quatermass Xperiment" print has the closing caption "The End"; the reissued version (with a still bearing the new title "The Quatermass Experiment" inserted into the opening credits) replaces this with "A Hammer Production Produced at Bray Studios". See more »

Connections

Followed by Quatermass (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Xcellent! Xquisite! Xhelirating!!
23 June 2005 | by CoventrySee 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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