28 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely shocking! One I'll never forget!,
This review is from: Quatermass : The Complete TV Series (3 Disc Box Set)  [DVD] (DVD)
Unlike most of the other reviewers for this, I did not see this when it was originally transmitted, and when I received it for my seventeenth birthday, I expected it to be another monster flick from the sixties, produced as quickly as possible for a cold war paranoid audience.
Fact no. 1: This film is more than slightly depressing.
There; as obvious as that may seem to those who have seen it, it still has to be said.
In fact, it has an air of utter hopelessness in some parts. Nigel Kneale, instead of his usual way of slowly taking Quatermass from the normal world into the para-normal, starts us off in a post-Thatcher England (not really, as this was done in 79), yet so terrifying even by today's standards, that I can't imagine what effect it must have had back then.
Streets in London blocked by burnt-out cars, dead bodies, and endless trash effectively illustrate to state of urban decay. Most of the population is dead or in hiding. Though these aren't new ideas, it's the fact that these are only a backdrop for the story that makes them so effective.
After the inciting incident is set up in the form of a disastrous space flight, the opposing forces appear to us as the desire to run away, and the need to stand and fight. While the Planet People abandon reason, our heroes do not. Alas, it goes without saying, that the easy way is not the right one.
Quatermass' goal in thi story appears to be, believe it or not, the solemn search for his lost granddaughter. This is wonderful, because it serves to illustrate my favourite aspects of the Quatermass character, in that he isn't an action hero in the ordinary sense. The British Rocket group isn't a secret government spy agency (ok, it is really), but the point is that he is what just used to be known as a 'Good man', very much like Doctor Who, and this is how you can tell that this is the same Quatermass from the rest of the other films.
There is also a beautiful message in here about the generation gap, and this is carried through the film by a brilliant cast who really understand their roles.
On the more personal side, I found this an absolutely devastating blow to my mind. I suffered much grief because it meant so much; because I realised how little distance there is from this world and that world. I think something like this is meant to make you feel a bit guilty and weak; otherwise there would be little point. I hope you gain something from it like I did.
This set includes both the film and the television version, which, if nothing else, is interesting from a writer's point of view.