6.2/10
2,295
65 user 31 critic

X the Unknown (1956)

Approved | | Horror, Sci-Fi | May 1957 (USA)
Trailer
0:53 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

A radioactive, mud-like creature terrorizes a Scottish village.

Directors:

Leslie Norman, Joseph Losey (uncredited)

Writers:

Jimmy Sangster (story), Jimmy Sangster (screenplay)
Reviews

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

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
Stars: Brian Donlevy, Jack Warner, Margia Dean
Quatermass 2 (1957)
Sci-Fi | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Professor Quatermass, trying to gather support for his Lunar colonisation project, is intrigued by mysterious traces that have been showing up.

Director: Val Guest
Stars: Brian Donlevy, John Longden, Sidney James
Adventure | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A kindly English botanist and a gruff American scientist lead an expedition to the Himalayas in search of the legendary Yeti.

Director: Val Guest
Stars: Forrest Tucker, Peter Cushing, Maureen Connell
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The first manned expedition to Mars is decimated by an unknown life form which stows away on the rescue ship.

Director: Edward L. Cahn
Stars: Marshall Thompson, Shirley Patterson, Kim Spalding
Quatermass II (TV Mini-Series 1955)
Drama | Sci-Fi | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Professor Quatermass is trying to perfect a dangerously unstable nuclear-powered rocket engine. After a disastrous test firing in Australia, his soon-to-be son-in-law, Captain John Dillon, ... See full summary »

Stars: John Robinson, Monica Grey, Hugh Griffith
The Reptile (1966)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In a Cornish village, various locals die from mysterious snake bites, but the coroner rules the deaths as heart attacks, until a family of newcomers starts an investigation.

Director: John Gilling
Stars: Noel Willman, Jennifer Daniel, Ray Barrett
Tarantula (1955)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A spider escapes from an isolated Arizona desert laboratory experimenting in giantism and grows to tremendous size as it wreaks havoc on the local inhabitants.

Director: Jack Arnold
Stars: John Agar, Mara Corday, Leo G. Carroll
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Baron Frankenstein escapes from the guillotine and goes to Germany. There, he names himself Dr. Stein and plans to restart his experiments by using parts of dead bodies.

Director: Terence Fisher
Stars: Peter Cushing, Francis Matthews, Eunice Gayson
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A centenarian artist and scientist in 1890 Paris maintains his youth and health by periodically replacing a gland with that of a living person.

Director: Terence Fisher
Stars: Anton Diffring, Hazel Court, Christopher Lee
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In 18th Century Spain, an adopted boy becomes a werewolf and terrorizes the inhabitants of his town.

Director: Terence Fisher
Stars: Clifford Evans, Oliver Reed, Yvonne Romain
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Rocks from a meteor which grow when in contact with water threaten a sleepy Southwestern desert community.

Director: John Sherwood
Stars: Grant Williams, Lola Albright, Les Tremayne
Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A mysterious artifact is unearthed in London, and famous scientist Bernard Quatermass is called into to divine its origins and explain its strange effects on people.

Director: Roy Ward Baker
Stars: James Donald, Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley
Edit

Cast

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

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:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

May 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La incógnita X See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The U.S. version shown on TV for many years contained only introductory music under the Warners Brothers title, with no opening title music. The British version, featured on later DVD versions, contained James Bernard's opening title music. See more »

Goofs

There's no explanation given for why the creature returns to the fissure after every meal. See more »

Quotes

Peter Elliott: Is it safe?
Dr. Adam Royston: Unfortunately yes.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Stuff (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Serenade for Strings in E Major, Op. 22: V. Finale: Allegro vivace
(uncredited)
Written by Antonín Dvorák
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Good, grim, post-Quatermass horror/sci-fi
30 January 2002 | by HeathcliffSee all my reviews

The plot: In the remote Scottish Highlands, a living radioactive mass seethes out of the depths of the earth and kills everyone in its path as it seeks fresh radioactive energy. Luckily an American scientist is about the place and kicks the 'thing' back down from whence it came.

X the Unknown, while not having the innate intelligence of the Quatermass movies, is a good example of 1950's British pulp science-fiction cinema. While most of its American counterparts visited fantastic worlds inhabited by outlandish monsters and gorgeous 'space-babes', X the Unknown was a truly British effort: our monster was dollop of mud out of a hole in the ground doing a slow crawl around a dingy moor.

It's effective though. It has the same austere, grim intensity which made the Quatermass movies so memorable. The film also benefits from moody, high-contrast black and white photography, a typically acerbic score from James Bernard, and a good cast; Leo Mckern turns in a very good, naturalistic performance, much like his turn in The Day The Earth Caught Fire.

I first saw this movie when I was about six and the extraordinarily graphic scene depicting the monster 'devouring' a hospital doctor gave me a few... err....sleepless nights (there's a particularly ruthless zoom-in to the poor guys hand as it expands and melts!). Perhaps I should have stuck to Bugs Bunny.

Overall, a decent chiller, well directed by Leslie Norman (late father of the superb British film critic Barry Norman).

One last memory of a six year-old's first viewing of this picture: I remember sitting there stunned and horrified as the end credits rolled; I was not looking forward to a good nights sleep. The statutorily paternal BBC announcer came on and cracked the following nervous joke: "Well, I'll never eat cheese on toast again" (see the film and you'll know what he meant). I laughed with relief and my childhood was thus saved a terrible trauma! Thanks Uncle Beeb.


35 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 65 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed