Saturday, 18 December 2010

Val Guest The Quatermass Xperiment '1955'

Well, this one seemed to have slipped under the review radar, possibly because I changed books halfway through but nevertheless, here's what I took from the British take on Sci-Fi in the Golden Era of B-Movies

From the beginning, this film appeared very faced paced, getting straight to the heart of what the base of the film would be about, starting with the cliche 'lover's in a field moment' intro, until a ship came crashing towards them.

I must say the ship prop (interior and exterior) was very well done for it's time, and has a very rich sense of the '50's style'. From that point on, after the police and rescue services appear to the scene, we are introduced to Professor Quatermass (who appears to be the token American, whose rash behaviour contrast the calm reservedness of British behaviour) leader of the experiment into space. Losing communication with the crew inside, it appear all have died, bar one who survived emerging drastically.  However, of the three crew, he appeared to be the only being aboard. From this point, the film takes a mystery turn, which works in it's favour, as it made me feel very curious, taken in by the events that began to unfurl, and what had exactly happened in space (after watching a suspenseful recording of the pilot deck inside the ship).

Whilst the only surviving character from the ship lay in an almost shock state in an infirmary, we begin to watch the slow, silent decent of his sanity, but in a way which never gave to much away until 3/4 of the way through the film, which we find that he is the victim of a host alien being, struggling to control himself. The host has the ability to absorb living organisms, and their abilities that make them unique, which is portrayed to us through his contact with a 'cactus'. Although this ability had alot of potential, it felt somewhat wasted on a 'cactus' only half imagined although was interesting to watch.

However, this was used to some advantage, as the spore effect of plants was also fused with the being, allowing an accelerated reproduction rate, making the threat even bigger. At this point, the curiosity element had died out completely, and had gained it's 'B-Movie' status, along with the 'exaggerated acting' for instance, the hosts constant emotional soundless gasps, followed by his shrill cry, and generic overpowering screams.

The ending howver, in contrast to begining seemed to let the film down, with it's abrupt ending in the church, exterminating the final being with a somewhat handy set of tools at the scene, along with the walk off down a street with the ignorant Professor Quatermass, that didnt quite reach the climax I was hoping for, though this could possible be because of the Britishness of the film that came staright to the point. All in all, a very interesting watch :)

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