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Quatermass Experiment, The (1955)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

Quatermass Experiment, The (1955) The first rocketship into space, with three astronauts on board, crashes in the English Countryside. It's one of those 50's pointed ships with the fins, so when it crashed it did so like a giant dart. Professor Quatermass (Brian Donlevy), who is head of this project, shows up along with the military to find out what happened since they were out of contact with the crew for two days before. When they manage to get inside they find only one guy and just the other two's empty spacesuits. They develop some film that was shot on board and it shows some type of energy entering the ship and causing two of the men to go unconscious. What this energy did was start to transform the survivor, who begins getting weird skin growths. The guy's wife wants him home so she pays an orderly to sneak him out--but he attacks the orderly and messes up his hand when he crushes a small cactus that was in the room. When his wife sees his injured hand, which has now melded with the cactus, she starts screaming--and he wanders off into the city. By now he's really changing into something else--and kills many animals at a local zoo, including the lions, which are all dried-out looking. Back at the research lab they get a sample of the jelly like substance he leaves behind--and it digests some mice and grows. It also looks like it will soon reproduce by some type of spore. If that happens with the big monster then it could potentially destroy all life on Earth.

Quatermass eventually tracks the creature, which now looks like a giant Octopus, to an old church, where they try to destroy it with fire.

On one hand I thought this movie unintentionally funny, as it's all 1950's version of space travel and "what might be beyond the sky" commentary. Quatermass is also depicted as a total ass and he's the main character. However, the effects, particularly the humans who are killed and partially dissolved, are gruesome for a movie of this time and there's a general feeling of dread by the end of the picture.


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