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Quatermass And The Pit

Quatermass And The Pit

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Expertly done sci-fi/horror outing from Hammer

Quatermass And The Pit, Professor Bernard Quatermas (superbly played with gruff authority by Andrew Kier) is called in to investigate a mysterious ship and several skeletons that are unearthed in the London subway system. Quatermas uncovers a powerful ancient and maleficent alien force that had a hand in mankind’s evolution that still posts a threat to the human race.

Director Roy Ward Baker relates the intricate and intriguing story at a steady pace, ably crafts a spooky atmosphere along with an underlying sense of encroaching dread, gradually builds a substantial amount of tension, and stages the exciting climax with skill and flair. Nigel Kneale’s bold and intelligent script brings up several fascinating and provocative questions pertaining to preconceived notions concerning science, history, and religion. Moreover, the excellent acting by the top-rate cast keeps this movie humming: James Donald as the pragmatic Dr. Matthew Roney, Barbara Shelley as Roney’s loyal assistant Barbara Judd, Julian Glover as the bullish and arrogant Colonel Breen, Duncan Lamont as easygoing workman Sladden, Peter Copley as the skeptical Howell, and Edwin Richfield as the equally incredulous Minister of Defense. Kudos are also in order for Arthur grant’s crisp cinematography and Tristram robust’n’rousing score. An on the money winner.

One of Hammer’s most creative films

Hammer’s decision to return to the formula of their Quatermass films of the 1950s was a good one, resulting in this exciting, intriguing and intellectually stimulating film, which is a classic example of the science fiction and horror genres intertwining wonderfully. The story of aliens being discovered in a pit and opening up latent psychic energies within their ancestors (i.e. us) is an excellent one, much more thought out and far-reaching than other typical sci-fi fodder. No doubt this is due to Nigel Kneale’s involvement in the film. While I thoroughly enjoyed the Blob­-style aliens of the 1950s films in the series, this one tries something new and original and it really works.

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