The Quatermass Xperiment (1953)

US title: The Creeping Unknown

Dir. Val Guest

Starring: Brian Donlevy, Jack Warner and Margia Dean

At the very onset, the idea of a Hammer film made in 1953 intruigues. From 1955 to 1959 Hammer Film Productions introduced moviegoers to what would become the classic horror villains; Frankenstein, Dracula and the Mummy. From ’59 to 1974, Hammer hammered us (sorry, but it’s true) with relentless sequels, churning them out at an astonishing rate while redining the horror genre by introducing elements of tongue-in-cheek comedy. With this legacy in mind, I was very curious to see this sci-fi classic.

The first half of the film does not disappoint. The suspense pours out quickly and seemingly effortlessly but what really enchants about the first three quarters of the film is how the filmmakers were able to tackle subjects of rocket ships, astronauts and alien life forms so effectively in 1953. The filmmakers demonstrate mastery in letting the audience see enough without showing too much which keeps the film well within it’s own grasp, technologically speaking.

The crying shame is in the last moments of the film, where they started screwing up everything they did right in the beginning. Apart from the disappointing revealation of a creature who appears more sad than threatening (due to the aforementioned technological limitations of the time), the film seems to rush to its own ending at its very climax.

Nonetheless, the film is very much worth seeing even if it’s just for the first hour.

My rating: 4/5 stars

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