Thursday, 21 October 2010

Film: The Quartermass Xperiment, 1955, Val Guest

Last week and part of the narrative project lectures, we were shown a british b- movie, where by watching it we would be able to find the differences between the British and American versions of B-Movies.
The film shown was the Quatermass Xperiment, or the Creeping Unknown for the American audience, this film is a sci-horror British B-movie directed by Val Guest.
Quatermass Xperiment's plot starts when a a strange object is seen by a young couple, this object happens to be a Missile/ Spaceship sent by the Prof. Quatermass. Being aware of the strange happening Police and Fireman hurry to the landing site, to find that two members of the crew disappeared and the other is barely alive.
Taken to the hospital under supervision, this third member of the crew undergoes a state of metamorphosis transforming into a horrible monster, to satisfy his needs he starts to attack people and animals and retreats from the world, Inspector Lomax, the man in charge to find this monstrous thing, is not fortunate to find until they meet at the last part of the film.
Set in a really familiar place, the Westminster Abbey, the Alien monster is ready to scavenge again, however this time the inspector is ready to capture it.
After beating the monster, Prof. Quartermass realises that Aliens had evolved into superior being and have a different way of trying to capture the human race, however Quartermass is more than ready to carry on his experiment again.

As some people may know Quartermass Xperiment, at first, was a BBC Sci-fi series, that later became a film, and recently was remaked in 2005.
Quartermass Xperiment the first hammer film which set the beggining of British cinema in the realms of sci-fi and horror, has became a landmark in the same genre.
This reputation was earned by different factors, according to Kim Newman, a reviewer for Empire Magazine, 'The Quatermass Xperiment benefits from its documentary-style approach, menacing score, and some sterling performances.', indeed this film although being a low-budget film, has some really convincing acting, not only by the main actors, but principally by the muted survivor of the space rocket, who by not speaking gives shivers down your spine when looking at his poorly state, ho overtime will transform and that only in the last part of the film will reveal its true form.
In terms of set design, being a low-bugget film much is not to be expected, not a perfect use of lighting neither special effects is used, however, in my opinion, this film is successful make the audience of that time or even of today with an uneasy feel and chilling feeling.
Being a British film , many things it derived from its fellow American horror/ sci-fi style, one of them being the use of a different accent, the use of main landmarks to center and clearly in what place this film is from. In terms of styles, british culture being different from American, the whole film has a meaning in his core, which such films like Frankenstein, or Elephant
equally bear. In Quartermass Xperiment and for my whole surprise , is the first time I see a Scientist/ Professor as the villain, as the monster who will sacrifice people for his own studies and where the sacrificed crew members, have no choice to turn into aliens.
Also, I found the last part of the film really intriguing, although the perfect setting for a sequel, I found how cruel a human being can be when the only thing he is thinking is his pride.
This type of ending from that time ownwards, has turned into an cinema formula to create sequels.

Overall an enjoyable film, and really useful particularly for my narrative project, in which British b-movies are being used as main reference.

Watching the trailer now, I realised how cheesy and underdeveloped it looks, surely to take in account for our animation.

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