The Quatermass Xperiment

607It’s Halloween Time, and I had wanted to post more reviews this year. I’m really behind schedule, but tonight I watched the first scary movie of the season: The Quatermass Experiment, written by Nigel Kneale and directed by Val Guest.

The Quatermass movies are actually a loose series of movies and TV shows from the 1950s and 1960s; it’s classic sci-fi from Great Britain “end of the world looms” type science-fiction. I noticed the series first on amazon.co.uk. I was just browsing for old Sci-Fi movies and I found [Quatermass and the Pit](/2002/10/11/quatermass-and-the-pit/). I was so tempted that I bought it, and I have not once regrettet shelling out all that money for the import DVD.

I am not quite sure, but I think Quatermass Experiment predates The Pit. The stories are not connected and never reference each other, except by the title hero’s character. Where in the Pit, Alien horrors are excavated at a construction site in London, they come crashing down to Earth in the first rocket to be launched by mankind and constructed by Quatermass. There’s only one survivor, and when things start taking a turn for the worse, the Professor has to investigate and fight the horrors that threaten London and the world.

Quatermass Experiment shines – like The Pit – not because of it’s special effects.The creatures are obviously rubber and won’t scary even a kindergarden chid; and the way the rocket sticks out of the ground at the crash site made me laugh out loud. The story isn’t very original either, not by 1957 standards and certainly not by today’s standard. What the movie excels at is presentation, a tight script, and especially a very good performance by the main actors. Especially Quatermass and the man who plays the astronaut-victim Carroon are simply great. If I had to pick a favorite for this movie, then it’s the astronaut actor. Very good, simply wonderful.

The atmosphere of the movie is semi-scary. it’s a little behind [The Thing from Another World](/2002/10/14/the-thing-from-another-world-1951/) or the above-mentioned [Quatermass and the Pit](http://nils.jeppe.de/2002/10/11/quatermass-and-the-pit/). Still, I think you won’t be disappointed by this movie if you like old sci-fi/horror/suspense movies at all.

The DVD’s presentation is decent as well. I reviewed the German edition which is part of a collector’s series of Hammer movies. It includes the movie with English and two German sound tracks; one being the original movie dubbing of 1957; the other being the TV dubbing from the late 60s. (The TV version is much closer to the English original.) Also present on the DVD are a US trailer, an interview with Val Guest (which looks like it was taken at a hobby convention by an amateur cameraman) and a short documentation about Hammer movies.

All in all, I think the DVD is a good value for the current amazon.de price of about 13 Euros and a decent – if somewhat light – start for the 2003 Halloween season.

_Update, October 26th 2003:_ I should point out that I watched the German edition of the DVD – and that it has a noteable different set of features than the UK version. Above all, there seems to be an audio commentary included on the British DVD. If that is truely the case, then there is no excuse at all for the German DVD to miss this feature. Subtract a good notch from my rating. I’ll consider buying the british DVD but unfortunately it’s quite expensive (15 pounds).

One thought on “The Quatermass Xperiment


  1. Nils

    I think you ought to check out the BBC Quatermass box set. It contains the original TV serials from the 50’s. Very athmospheric and scared the hell out of most of the population of the UK when it was first broadcast. It’s a bit dated, but try seeing it as time travel rather than nostalgia and theres no problem.
    All the best.

    David

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *