1957 Blog Brian Donlevy Bryan Forbes Enemy From Space Film Reviews Hammer John Van Eyssen Les Bowie Margia Dean Nigel Kneale Quatermass Quatermass And The Pit Quatermass II Sidney James Tom Chatto Val Guest

Film Review: Quatermass 2 (1957)


“Professor Quatermass, trying to gather support for Moon colonization, is intrigued by the mysterious traces that have been showing up on his radar – meteorites crashing down. Following them to the place where they should be landing he finds a destroyed village, a mysterious factory too close to his designs for the Moon colony for comfort, and some strange aerodynamic objects containing a mysterious, ammonia-based gas that infects one of his assistants. Officially, the factory is producing synthetic food but, despite the veil of secrecy surrounding it, Quatermass succeeds in finding out it harbours aliens with deadly designs on the Earth. The second in Hammer’s trio of screen versions for Nigel Kneale’s classic fifties BBC serials, with the same director and star as The Quatermass Xperiment.”


The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) proved to be so profitable in the UK on a degree that was totally sudden by Hammer executives. It was additionally a minor success in america too, where it was launched underneath the title The Creeping Unknown (1955). This prompted the studio to place other science fiction horror movies into production. One of many first of these was X: The Unknown (1956) and, though it had many similarities with The Quatermass Xperiment, there were two necessary variations. Firstly, it wasn’t made by the identical Hammer staff, however was as an alternative directed by Leslie Norman from an unique script by Jimmy Sangster. Secondly, the monster in X: The Unknown was very depersonalised and subsequently had none of the emotional influence of the doomed but harmful astronaut in the first movie. The identical yr Hammer also made a sequel to The Quatermass Xperiment entitled Quatermass II aka Enemy From Area (1956) based mostly on the BBC tv serial of the same identify transmitted in 1955. It also needs to be famous that this was one of the earliest examples of utilizing Roman Numerals within the titles of film sequels.

Brian Donlevy again played Professor Bernard Quatermass, who this time turns into concerned with an alien invasion on a much bigger scale. Now answerable for the British area challenge, he’s making an attempt to influence the federal government to finance the event of a life-support bio-dome that may enable mankind to reside on the moon. The federal government pleads lack of funds, so a disgruntled Quatermass returns to his rocket set up where he’s informed by his assistant Marsh (Bryan Forbes) that various mysterious small objects have been picked up on their radar. These look like falling within the course of a nearby city referred to as Wynerton Flats. Whereas checking the world the subsequent day, they find several small projectile-like objects and, to Quatermass’s nice amazement, additionally they discover an institution that looks precisely like his personal proposed bio-dome! Quickly after, the projectile held by Marsh explodes, leaving a wierd scar on his face. At that moment, masked troopers emerge from the bio-dome, encompass the scientists and take away Marsh.

Livid, Quatermass goes to London to seek out out who is in control of the bio-dome however, though he learns that it’s a bona fide authorities venture, it has been categorised Prime Secret and no-one will speak about it. He encounters a Member of Parliament named Broadhead (Tom Chatto) who can also be trying to find out what’s going on at Wynerton Flats. Broadhead and Quatermass be a part of an formally organised tour of the institution, where they are informed by their coldly aloof tour-guide that it’s truly a plant for manufacturing artificial food for the Third World. Unhappy by this purpose, Broadhead goes off alone to find what the mysterious domes actually include – and reappears coated in a smoldering black substance. Screaming in agony, he warns Quatermass to not touch him, then dies horribly.

Quatermass escapes and returns to London but his efforts to boost the alarm are in vain. He notices that each one the federal government officials he meets have the identical V-shaped scar on their skin and he realises that the British authorities has been utterly infiltrated by ‘something’. Finally, with the help of a trustworthy police inspector and a crowd of staff who stay close to the bio-dome, Quatermass forces himself again inside, after first ordering his rocket installation to fireside a missile at a mysterious object they’ve detected in orbit across the Earth. There’s a fierce battle inside the mysterious institution between the guards and the workers, throughout which Quatermass manages to cut off the availability of the black substance to the bio-domes, resulting in the big blob-like aliens breaking out. The substance, it appears, was food for the large creatures dwelling inside the domes, and the institution itself was the spearhead for a full-blown invasion of Earth. However, because the the large monsters converge on Quatermass and his men, the missile hits the orbiting alien spacecraft above, and all of the aliens die immediately. Once again Quatermass has saved the world.

As with The Quatermass Xperiment and the later Quatermass And The Pit (1968), Nigel Kneale cunningly mixes science fiction with conventional horror parts. The alien invasion could also be a science fiction concept however it’s introduced with the trimmings of Gothic horror, such as the V-shaped ‘mark of the devil’ which all the alien-possessed individuals show. The film, like its American style movie contemporaries, can also be an fascinating symptom of the state of paranoia that existed in the West in the course of the fifties, but the paranoia in Quatermass II is of a peculiarly British type, and reflects fears of presidency paperwork turning into all-powerful. This worry has lengthy been a serious one in Britain – a physically small nation with a robust centralised authorities – and often emerges as a subject in movies, tv and literature, from George Orwell‘s Nineteen Eighty-4 to Decide Dredd comics. Whereas, in America, with its numerous States still retaining some autonomy inside the federal system, the identical worry is much less intense.

Nigel Kneale truly repudiated the film, despising Donlevy’s portrayal of Quatermass, as well as Val Guest‘s rewrite, so much so that when the rights reverted back to Kneale in 1965, he immediately withdrew the film from circulation. I had the opportunity to get Mr. Guest’s aspect of the story once we met on the set of the 1976 tv present Area 1999: “Whether Nigel gave us a draft script, I honestly can’t remember. I think it was probably the former, seeing as he has a script credit on the film with me, but I certainly didn’t work with him on the script. Quatermass II was a little more expensive than the first one, mainly because we went on location. On The Quatermass Xperiment, the furthest we went on location was Whipsnade Zoo. We did everything else on the lot at Bray, though we did a couple of night shots in Windsor, for the scenes of the old chemist shop and things like that. Otherwise it was all contained in the studio. But on Quatermass II we went down and filmed the Shell refinery on the coast, and it was a major operation for a small company like us to take a whole unit down there.”

“We also had a bigger cast including people like Bryan Forbes. I used to employ Bryan all the time in those days. Whenever I had a picture I would try and give him a part, even if I had to write him in especially, to help him pay the rent. I had a small stock company that I used from picture to picture. One of them was Sidney James, and another was John Van Eyssen, who later became head of Columbia Pictures in England. I can’t remember if Brian Donlevy was actually part of the Lippert distribution deal, but Margia Dean was, because I think she was Lippert’s girlfriend. But Donlevy was in it just because it was thought he would be a good star to hang the picture on. It was obviously important to have an American star from the American release point-of-view and, of course, he was well-known. He was a great guy and great to work with. He used to like his drink, however, so by after lunch he would come to me and say, ‘Give me a breakdown of the story so far. Where have I been just before this scene?’ We used to feed him black coffee all morning but then we discovered he was lacing it. But he was a very professional actor and very easy to work with.”

The following yr Guest directed another movie based mostly on Kneale’s work. Referred to as The Abominable Snowman (1957), it was adapted from Kneale’s BBC tv play The Creature, which was initially transmitted in 1956 and anxious the hunt by a gaggle of males for the legendary Yeti of Tibet. With that, Hammer gave up science fiction movies – modern ones a minimum of – having decided that it was the monsters and never the science fiction parts that attracted audiences. In order that they went back to fundamentals with the prototype of all trendy science fiction – Frankenstein – in all its Gothic period splendour and, most significantly, in superb gory colour. It proved to be an incredible success and launched the dynasty of Hammer’s now-famous Gothic horror movies, however that’s one other story for an additional time. Proper now I’d wish to profusely thank the British TV Occasions (24th July 1975) for aiding my analysis for this article, and graciously invite you to please be a part of me again subsequent week when I’ve the chance to boost the hackles on your goose-bumps with extra ambient environment so thick you can minimize it with a chainsaw, in yet one more pants-filling fright-night for…Horror News. Toodles!

Bonus Features

  • NEW 2K Scan Of A Pristine Archival Film Print
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Filmmaker/Film Historian Ted Newsom
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Writer/Film Historian Steve Haberman And Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr
  • NEW Interview With Academy Award-Profitable Particular Effects Artist Brian Johnson (Alien)
  • NEW Interview With Assistant Director Hugh Harlow
  • Vintage Interview With Director Val Guest
  • Audio Commentary With Director Val Guest And Author Nigel Kneale
  • World Of Hammer – Sci-Fi
  • U.S. Theatrical Trailer – ENEMY OF SPACE
  • Nonetheless Gallery

Quatermass II (1957) is now out there on bluray per Shout Manufacturing unit