The Quatermass Xperiment (AKA The Creeping Unknown)
Directed by Val Guest
Written by Richard H. Landau and Val Guest based on a BBC television play by Nigel Kneale
Exclusive Films/Hammer Films
This movie ticks all the boxes for classic 50’s science fiction.
Megalomaniac scientist Quatermass (Brian Donlevy) has secretly launched an experimental space ship. It startles the population when it returns to earth. Quatermass is in turn startled when, after some to-and-froing, it is discovered that only one of the three astronauts is still alive. The other two have simply disappeared. Their spacesuits are now empty shells. Quatermass cannot get any information from the survivor, Victor Carroon, who is mute, appears terrified and has an abnormal respiration rate and pulse.
Quatermass takes Carroon to his laboratory for treatment over the objection of Carroon’s wife, who along with Quatermass’s own expert thinks the man belongs in a hospital. Finally, the scientist is forced to relent and Carroon is taken to a clinic where he is to be kept in strict isolation.
I will not reveal everything that happens after Carroon is freed. It’s nice and creepy, though. Has a great ending as well. With Jack Warner as the detective on the case.
I really enjoyed this movie from the very first minutes. You know how you can tell something is going to be good just from the energy it puts out? Donlevy is fantastic as an eccentric who knows everything and won’t listen to anybody. I find most 50’s sci-fi more fanciful and amusing than scary. This one, however, manages to have some genuine thrills. Recommended.