Professor Quatermass is arguing against his British Rocket
Group being effectively taken over for military operations,
when a call comes through about strange occurrences at Hobbs
End underground station. Work had begun on extension modifications
when a number of skulls and other bones were uncovered. Further
excavation work revealed the origins to be a link to the earliest
prehistoric man. Now what appears to be an unexploded bomb
has been found, but Quatermass and his reluctant military
allies discover it to be a larger, missile-like capsule, which
cannot be penetrated by any substance. Furthermore, it is
suspected to date from the same period as the bones. When
a section finally falls open of its own accord, it is to display
several large but dead locusts. But that isn't the end of
the matter. It is suspected Man owes his intelligence and
development to these creatures, and there could be a repeat
of the catastrophe which killed life on Mars...
1967 Hammer Production, based on the story and screenplay
by Nigel Kneale, is more of a thinking story than an action
one. There's lots of bumping together of official heads, educated
theories and just plain speculation.
In fact, there are so many ideas packed into 94 minutes that
the film appears to constantly change its style; moving from
1950s-style B-Movie, through The Exorcist or Omen
territory, to Invasion of the Body Snatchers or Village
of the Damned.
there's no progression or outlet for these stories. Very little
happens in the entire film (though it's well acted); even
in the climax when the lead characters run around with British
stiff-upper-lips, seemingly unconcerned that a form of ethnic
cleansing is about to take place. Pretty
amazing coming little more than two decades after the end
of the Second World War.
effect there's no feeling of approaching threat. The movie
peters-out rather than reaching any ultimate conclusion, with
the end credits appearing over Andrew Keir who suddenly doesn't
know what to do with himself.
In conclusion, this Quatermass film is okay for a pit
stop (sorry!), but not really worth seeking out.
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