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3.7 out of 5 stars37
3.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 12 September 2011
I have enjoyed X the unknown in the past and thought this new release from Icon would be a cleaned up print of the film. Sadly this is not the case and the print is about the worst I've seen. Not only is the picture very grainy but the sound has a high pitched whine noise at the beginning and other distortions throughout. The dialogue is hard to hear in some cases and some scenes (outdoors/night time) are dreadful. Avoid.
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on 9 September 2011
This review refers to the Icon Home Entertainment release of 2011.

My copy has arrived, and I hope it's not an indicator of the rest of Icon's classic Hammer output. The good news is that the X certificate screen is presented at the start. The bad news, and it is very bad news is that it's a dirty, scratched print and is covered in random colour noise. It's normally a clue that an older, composite analogue master has been used. Worst of all is ghosting reminiscent of either a NTSC to PAL conversion, or a dodgy interlaced one. Iffy sound tops it all off. It's noisy, full of clicks and pops and sometimes has a high pitched whine to it that'll set your dog off howling. Some dialogue in the second half of the film becomes inaudible through the sheer level of loud pops.

The disclaimer at the start about the quality and age of the material is surely a joke. The age or otherwise of a film is not an excuse to release a substandard DVD when better source materials do exist. It's criminal that such outstanding films from the history of British cinema are presented this way in 2011.
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on 27 October 2011
Having been a fan of Hammer Horror and sci fi all my life I was overcome with excitement when I heard X the Unknown was coming back out on DVD. I finally got round to watching it last night and well, what can I say? I was very very dissapointed with what I watched. The print was very poor with awful cracking noises and hisses all the way through. It was like watching it through 30 year old pyrex whilst sitting in a pit of angry snakes with someone holding a bowl of rice krispies by your ear!

Considering what the BFI and film restorers have to offer no one seems to have taken the time to clean up what is in fact one of the greatest British SCI FILMS ever. I find this lapse astonishing.

I suggest people take the time to buy an old VHS copy or the original DVD release from 2002 because in 2011 this is sadly not acceptable!
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on 21 September 2011
I love this film and with a better quality transfer would have given four or five stars.

I used to watch these sci fi films at the cinema when I was younger. They were great. However this one has been let down by poor quality transfer to dvd.
Do the producers of this rubbish know nothing about digital enhancement or how to clean up sound quality. This dvd has a background hiss all the way through. Very easy to eliminate these days.

The film quality is none too good either. It looks as if the original tape was badly kept. Probably in Dracula's vault.

This spoilt my enjoyment of this classic black and white escape from reality. A shame as it is in the same class as Quatermass in my opinion.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 September 2008
X The Unknown, directed by film buff Barry Norman's father, is a gem. Now available in the full uncut version, despite the low-budget special effects, the film still has the power to chill. It's a great idea, set in a remote part of the UK and does not pull its punches as children die of radiation poisoning, hands melt away before your very eyes, and a giant blob goes on the rampage ! The opening sequences, in which troops on training meet up with 'the thing,' are splendidly low key and imaginatively directed. One of the best of its kind and almost up to the standard of the legendary "Quatermass 2".
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VINE VOICEon 2 November 2003
Made to cash in on the successful The Quatermass Experiment released the previous year, this is a rather good old fashioned horror flick. Very atmospheric, haunting, and gory at times too. Witness the scene in the laboratory when the doctor, well, just see it and you will know what I mean. Dean Jagger portrays a Quatermass type of scientist (there is a rumour that the studio wanted to use Quatermass's name but Nigel Kneale politely declined.) who battles the unseen monster from the earth's centre. Much action and suspense along the way, culminating in the final scenes which leave the viewer on the edge of his seat. Picture and sound are quite good, and the disc is enhanced with extras such as interviews with Jimmy Sangster.
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on 17 November 2005
This is a British scifi film of the Quatermass type and I believe that Hammer did actually want to call the main character Professor Quatermass, only to have Nigel Kneale refuse permission. It follows the "realistic" British style of the era and manages to build up tension very well. There's the usual sprinkling of stock characters - the tramp, the gormless soldier, a small child in danger etc - but this doesn't detract from the storyline at all. I can recommend this film to anyone who enjoys old scifi - and it is several cuts above the monster movies being churned out by Hollywood around the same time. You will find the scientific equipment dated, but overall this is a fun film to watch.
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on 28 August 2012
Seemigly dragged across a floor ,kicked around a bit then with a awful sound hiss added this awful transfer kills any interest in the film stone dead .

At least Studio Canal are taking care with their Hammer Catalogue .
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on 3 February 2014
Rather fine 50s scifi that is very Quatermassy (it was intended to be a sequel to the original Quatermass movie, but Hammer couldn't get the rights), and rather good. It has a creature reminiscent of The Blob, and the effects in this film are better than The Blob, actually. Dean Jagger does a really good job as the American scientist in Scotland - good character actor. Very enjoyable scifi from Hammer before they concentrated so much on horror.
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on 11 March 2016
A caption card before the movie reveals that the best surviving elements of this movie were used for this DVD. Well, Icon, I suggest you take a look at the restored 720p version freely available on Youtube!! This DVD is a disgrace. It looks like a print that was buried in the radioactive mud from the film itself. The picture is littered with print damage and the sound was recorded through a piece of (frayed) string

AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!! What a terrible disc.
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