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Archive for July 22nd, 2016

By Dean Treadway

pit 1

I have to admit, I was certainly surprised when the first results of this poll were first revealed, mostly because one of my favorite genre entries was not in our top 75. Luckily, when the poll was finally expanded, there was the Hammer film classic Quatermass and the Pit, landing at a too-low #84. I struggled to figure out why and concluded that not a lot of our participants have seen it. It’s been out of print on DVD for many years, and was only released on Blu-Ray in 2011 (and has quickly gone out of print again). Also there could be some confusion lingering as it was (not badly) renamed Five Million Years to Earth upon its 1968 American release (since the estimable UK TV and movie hero Professor Bernard Quatermass was largely an unknown quantity on US shores). Anyway, if I’m right and many of you have missed this bonafide masterpiece (or somehow have forgotten its rather nightmarish power), I’m glad to remind you to see it. For those, it’s now available on You Tube in pristine shape.

The Quatermass series has a complex history. It originated on British TV in 1953, with actor-turned-writer Nigel Kneale’s serial The Quatermass Experiment dramatizing the aftermath of a failed mission to space, resulting in the return to Earth of a single astronaut (out of a three-man crew), upon which Quatermass is charged to figure out why the spaceman’s flesh is slowly deteriorating. Reginald Tate would be the first of many actors to assay the role, and the piece would be remade for cinemas in 1955 with Brian Donlevy in the lead (the film would be rather strangely retitled The Creeping Unknown in the US). (more…)

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