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Remember in the U.K. as "Quatermass and the Pit",
This review is from: Quatermass & The Pit [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Known in the Colonies as "Five Million Years to Earth" but first released as "Quatermass and the Pit" in the U.K., this science fiction/horror classic is for my money the best film ever produced by Hammer Studios. Whatever the title, the film quickly gets you hooked, as workers extending the London subway system uncover some ancient skeletons to the delight of Dr. Mathew Roney (James Donald) and his assistant Barbara Judd (Barbara Shelley). By the time Dr. Quatermass (Andrew Keir) arrives upon the scene, the workers have uncovered an alien spaceship and the strange insect-like creatures that apparently piloted it from another planet. Unfortunately the arrogant Colonel Breen (Julian Glover) dismisses it all as a Nazi hoax left over from the war, despite the fact the craft is made from an unknown metal. Quatermass deduces the strange creatures might have been ancient Martians and is worried about all the strange psychic phenomenon associated with this area. But Breen and the bureaucrats have their way until all hell breaks loose.
Like the original version of "The Thing From Another World," this is a film where the dialogue and the performances make you forget we are dealing with strange creatures from another planet. In point of fact, "Quatermass and the Pit" uses a bare minimum of special effects to create its thrills and chills. To be fair, the idea of Martians affecting human evolution to institute a surrogate race war is way out there, but such concerns are forgotten when the giant Martian image turns everybody in London mad and all that is left between humanity and the end of civilization are a couple of scientists and a giant crane. This 1967 film was directed by Roy Ward Baker, whose eclectic list of credits includes "A Night to Remember" and "The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires." Baker deserves a lot of credit for the tone of the film, which he maintains even during the final credits as an exhausted Quatermass and Barbara survey the ruins around them. If you do not watch the DVD version of this classic film, then make an effort to get the widescreen VHS version, which remains my favorite science fiction film of the Sixties (yes, over "2001").