31 Days Of Horror: Quatermass And The Pit

10 Years of FearCreated by Nigel Kneale, Dr. Quatermass started off as TV serial for the BBC in 1953. The success of that show lead Hammer Films to adapt it into a movie, The Quatermass Xperiment which I’ve written about a couple of times here and here.

Kneale would write two more TV serials <em>Quatermass 2 and Quatermass and the Pit which where both made into films by Hammer. Dr Quatermass was played by American actor Brian Donlevy for Hammer’s first two outings to get theatrical screenings in North America. Kneale disliked Donlevy as Quatermass. Donlevy sort of played the doctor as kind of almost huckster instead of a brilliant scientist. For the third film Quatermass and the Pit Andrew Keir stepped into the role and was perfect for it. I enjoyed the first two films and Donlevy is okay in the role but Keir is much much better as Quatermass.

In London workers are digging underground to extend the London subway when they come across a strange looking skeleton in the area known as Hobbs End. Palaeontologist Dr Matthew Roney (James Donald) is called in who concludes that the skeleton is an ape man skeleton that is almost five million years old. More digging discovers a strange metal object. The military are quick to declare it to be a bomb.

Meanwhile Quatermass is mad that the military are taking over his plans to colonize the moon. Colonel Breen (Julian Glover) is now in charge of Quatermass’s British Experimental Rocket Group. Breen gets a call about the object and Quatermass tags along. Another skeleton is found by the object but there is no way to get in. Quatermass researches the area known as Hobbs End and discovers a history of hauntings and sightings of the devil. Quatermass is certain the strange object is alien in origin. While trying to drill into the object it sudden opens revealing strange insect humaniod skeletons with horns like a devil.

Quatermass believes that the creatures are martians that came to the Earth millions of years ago. The creatures had strong psychic powers and can affect those around even after all this time. Quatermass takes his discovery to his bosses but he isn’t believed. Then disaster strikes.

This is an excellent and creepy Hammer film and a dark finale for Hammer’s Quatermass films. Here is my original post.