Professor Bernard Quatermass is in charge of a manned rocket mission that has gone awry. They lost contact with the spaceship at one point and have no idea how far into space it may have traveled. When the rocket crash lands in a farmer’s field they find that only one of the three occupants, Victor Carroon, is on board; the others have simply vanished. Slowly, the surviving astronaut begins to transform into a hideous creature and Quatermass realizes that Carroon may have been infected by an alien being. When Carroon escapes from the hospital with the help of his unsuspecting wife, the authorities race to destroy it before it multiplies.


“The Quatermass Xperiment” is the first of the well-written British Sci-fi films based on Nigel Kneale’s Professor Quatermass. The film tells the story of how a rocket had been sent up to space with three aboard and how it lands with seemingly two missing. The man in charge of everything is the professor himself, played starchily by Brian Donlevy. Donlevy’s professor has no purpose except to succeed and to do anything and everything his way. He is certainly one of the prototypes of the determined, logical scientists to grace films afterward.

The film has a slow start as it really spends a great deal of time showing the two different ways of looking and doing things. On the one hand is the Quatermass way, the logical, scientific, and survivalistic way, and on the other hand is the government way, slow, plodding, and indecisive. Through these the story unfolds that the one man that returned is in actuality a carrier of an alien that has grown through the consumption of human vitals into a slithering blob, growing bigger in stature all the time.

Director Val Guest handles the filming in an almost semi-documentary manner, often employing a hand-held camera. The black & white cinematography aids in creating a dark, creepy atmosphere. This film is more of a disturbing and provocative story of the horrors that can emerge from irresponsible scientific research and not an outright action/effects opus. The monster effects are naturally dated, but Guest is clever enough to keep it off-screen through-out most of the film. Actually, one close-up of it is quite horrifying as it looks like something truly mutated. Keep it a mystery instead of a beloved character.

The DVD comes with no special features. But, you get amazing A/V Quality for a movie on a DVD-R disc. The audio also sounds much more cleaned up than the version I see floating around premium cable. The transfer still comes across a little rough, but that’s what you get for an unremastered film like this. I’d recommend a purchase for all classic horror fans.


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