This is the most popular of the movies taken from Nigel Kneale’s acclaimed BBC TV serial.
During work on an extension to the London Underground system at Hobbs End, a strange object is unearthed. At first, experts believe it is an unexploded Second World War bomb, but closer investigation reveals that it is something far more sinister – a strange spaceship in fact.
Digging deeper into the history of Hobbs End, Quatermass discovers that it has always been associated with demons. Even as far back as the Romans.
When the vessel is finally opened, startling creatures are revealed – dead for millions of years. But Quatermass realises that the danger for mankind is only beginning and in his desperate search for the answer he is faced by the very Devil itself, a huge horned creature containing all the forces of evil.
Although the Deluxe colour dissipates some of the atmosphere and mystery, the story retains much of its intrigue and sense of disquiet thanks to Roy Ward Baker’s careful direction and special effects that never attempt to exceed their technical or budgetary limitations.
The location was changed from the original television series version, which had the setting as Roman excavations, but the movie still contained the eerie atmosphere of the Hobbs Lane locale.
As well as providing a generous helping of shocks, Kneale’s script gives his complex themes and theories plenty of space, and both action and argument are neatly judged by leads Andrew Keir, James Donald and Hammer favourite Barbara Shelley.
20th Century Fox released the film in America under the title Five Million Years To Earth.
Professor Bernard Quatermass
Dr Matthew Roney
Roy Ward Baker