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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 30 May 2017
Brilliant
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on 11 September 2003
watched this film when I was a kid and thought it was really scary. so I bought it again a couple of years back and have watched it loads of times since.
I really like it because it is very British (even Quatermass is British in this film, unlike the other two) and really gets it just right with the atmosphere. it is genuinely a bit creepy even now.
also the central ideas are quite intelligent, it doesn't assum ethat because it's sci-fi it can't try and say something similar. I particularly like the idea that our ideas and images of the devil and gargoyles have been formed by ancient experiences.
I haven't seen the original TV series, and by the looks of some of the comments below I should check it out. however I think the film stands up perfectly well on its own. just the thing for Sunday afternoon viewing.
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VINE VOICEon 5 July 2002
In more ways than one, this film alongside The Devil Rides Out produced a short time later, are landmarks in Hammer Film's History, for Hammer went into decline after these films were released. Overall, this version of Quatermass is a splendid achievement for its time. It does however, lack the atmosphere of the original Television broadcast of 1958/1959. One reason is that its made in colour and the atmosphere is lost somewhat. In black and white, there was a feeling that there was always something lurking in the shadows, especially in the haunted house scene which is one of the highlights of the Television version. Still, there is much to enjoy here despite budget limitations which had an adverse effect on special effects. The actors, especially Andrew Kier, Barbara Shelly and Julian Glover all played their parts with distinction. The final scenes of the destruction of London may look amateurish at times, but it doesnt detract from the film though. Worth seeing how well films can be made on limited budgets unlike the multi-million dollar productions which seem to be the norm nowadays. Needs to be seen on DVd though.
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VINE VOICEon 20 November 2003
This is an excellent British sci-fi from the 1960s, combining a genuinely intelligent, thought-provoking script (Nigel Kneale, as you would expect), and a host of familier faces. During major renovation work on the London Underground a strange craft is discovered, but there is far more to this than an exciting archaelogical discovery. Professor Quatermass is convinced that the answer lies in our very distant past, and an attempt by Martians to colonise the Earth by proxy. Ignore the Dr Who-sounding idea, the plot to this is very complex and intricate, bringing in poltergeist phenomena and Mankind's long-running obsession with the Devil and demonic horned figures. I particularly liked the idea that for the past 1000 years disturbances of the ground have set off paranormal activity in the immediate area of Hobbs Lane.
Even allowing for the age of this film there are still some very effective moments in it, most notably the image of the giant horned demon appearing in the sky over London, which is one of the most famous things Hammer ever did. But there is also the policeman, unaware of his own psychic abilities, getting taken ill in the derelict house, and the man with the drill getting besieged by poltergeist activity when he attempts to drill into the craft.
Some fine performances all round too. Andrew Kerr makes an excellent Professor Quatermass, flame-haired Barbara Shelley makes a rather more intelligent female lead than we normally get in old Sixties sci-fi's, Julian Glover as the so-very-upright army officer, and the under-rated James Donald as the scientist who sets out to destroy the evil force. There is also a strong feel of Swinging Sixties London to this film, which all adds to the flavour.
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on 8 November 2004
I remember seeing this one on one of those saturday night horror double bills that BBC2 used to show in the late seventies and early eighties. Some of the films that were shown were of very
dubious quality indeed ("Night of the Lepus" anyone ?), but most of them were interesting and some of them were very good indeed. Quatermass and the Pit was one of the very best.
The plot concerns and alien spaceship found during building work in a London underground station, and whilst that may seem a little bit creaky and familiar, it turns out to be anything but.
By the end of the film, the cast of characters are speculating on the nature of the strange race which visited Earth at some time in the dim and distant past, but more startlingly on that race's influence on mankind's development, beliefs and very existence upon the planet. Ambitious stuff, and all done intelligently and convincingly. Particularly good is the subtle investigation of the strange goings on which have been going on in the vicinity for hundreds of years, usually dismissed
as nohing but local superstition and ignorance but now proving to be just a little bit more than that.
The cast is impressive... Andrew Keir, in what is probably his best remembered role, is perfect as Quatermass who is pehaps used here as a linking character instead of a driving character. He is excellently assisted by James Donald as the committed and ultimately heroic archaologist, Barbara Shelley and Julian Glover, whilst familiar faces such as Michael Ripper and Sheila Steafal also pop up. As is usual in films were alien spacecraft are discovered, there's a bit of friction between the
military and the scientists but there's a nice bit of overlap as the story develops and everyone begins to understand the possible significance of what is going on.
It isn't a horror film as such, but when the chills are delivered they still manage to have an effect nearly forty years later, and the atmosphere builds up quite nicely from one of intrigue into one of psychological and physical menace.
The script is as excellent as the perfromances of the cast, and if the special effects look a little bit limited by today's CGI standards, it is a flaw which can be understood and forgiven.
In short, it's a very impressive film indeed, and modern film makers could well make a note or two when planning the next action packed special effects driven blockbuster. There's nothing particularly wrong with that approach, but a little intelligence never does any harm.
The DVD is basic and their are no extras to speak of, which is a little disappointing. However, it's still nice to be able to replace my 'taped off the telly VHS version' which was beginning to shoe the signs of wear. The professor didn't surface again in the movies as far as I know, and we had to wait for the
John Mills TV series to see him again.
All in all, a cracker, and at this price, and absolute must !
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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").
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VINE VOICEon 1 December 2002
This is a story about Martian hybrids that came to colonize earth five million years ago. One of their ships went off course and ended up in the mud. The ship is found during a subway excavation and the fun begins.

When I was a youngster many movies gave me nightmares such as "It Came from Outer Space" (1953) where I kept seeing eyeballs. Now only one movie left to get over, you guessed it, this one. I can not look a grasshopper in the face. And as with most viewers I saw it on late night television as "Five Million Years to Earth"

This film is logical and spooky especially by 1960's standards. And you get all the stereotypes such as the military that is just determined that this object found buried is a bomb. It makes you want to slap him around. Then there is the professor that knows better and is ignored. I could go on. But you need to see this movie. The only thing that is stretching but fits in a sci-fi movie is the device that changes thoughts into pictures; see this setup again in "Brainstorm" (1983).

It Came From Outer Space ~ Richard Carlson
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on 25 May 2005
It seems a contradiction in terms to label a Hammer horror film "sophisticated", but this one is definitely a cut above the rest. This horror takes a scientific approach to an intermittently on-going haunting event at the site of an underground railway excavation. A rocket scientist, the Professor Quatermass of the title, and a military man, Colonel Breen, who is poised to usurp control of Quatermass's rocket group, are sidetracked from their struggle for control of the group, by an intriguing find in the underground excavation. Things take a decidedly spooky turn when soldiers are brought in to dig out the supposed 'bomb'. Quatermass teams up with the archaeologist, Dr Roney, who is retrieving 5 million year old fossil bones from the site. Roney and Quatermass are also united in their dislike of Breen, the bumptious blimp who gets their backs up when he writes off every bizarre occurrence as some WWII Nazi propaganda plot. Dr Roney's assistant, Barbara, takes the initiative and starts investigating old records of the area and finds the 'hauntings' have been going on for a long time. These people are scientists though, and just because something inexplicable seems to be happening, their instincts do not lead them to look for supernatural causes. They begin to wonder if ghosts could just be phenomena that were badly observed and wrongly explained. The rocket expert's interests focus on space and the archaeologist's interests focus on our ancient ancestors. When the two get their heads together, their conclusions are astonishing.
This is the best of Hammer's adaptations of the three Quatermass BBC series, in my opinion. Andrew Keir makes a fine Professor Quatermass and the other actors are also very good. The atmosphere of fear and tension creeps up steadily. The music is excellent: it's not obtrusive, it doesn't drown out the dialogue, it's completely absent a lot of the time but when it is there, it's appropriate, sinister and adds wonderfully to the atmosphere of threat and danger. I've always taken the opportunity to watch this film when it's been shown on television. It terrified me when I was young and now I can still get hooked into the spirit of fear. I'm pleased with the DVD even though it offers no extras at all - not even subtitles. It's good just to be able to watch it whenever I like.
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on 4 February 2005
This third QUATERMASS film from Hammer Films is regarded by many to be the one of the best flicks Hammer has ever done and they are right.
QUATERMASS & THE PIT (1967) is an intelligent and at times, frightening film about an evil force being unleashed onto the people of London after an Martian spaceship is found in an London Underground excavation.
The acting is good, the music as well and the editing is tight. Even the special effects aren't bad, considering this was made in the late-1960's and we didn't had CGI in those days. There are a few unconvincing SPFX shots, but it isn't a harsh complaint.
A must buy for fans of science fiction and fantasy.
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on 23 July 2000
Definitely Lovecraftian, a real ideas film for those of us who read the actual sf books which are usually about 40 years ahead of stupid Hollywood movies. Nigel Kneale's sharp script almost manages a unified theory of good and evil, the Devil, the paranormal and the meaning of human life on Earth. Superbly edited down to half the length of the original TV series, with the usual Hammer production quality. Andrew Keir is the best Professor Quatermass. Forget pod-people; "We're the Martians now!"
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