Hammer Films swift follow up feature to The Curse of Frankenstein released in the same month of 1957 would be a sequel to the previously successful The Quatermass Xperiment. Continuing with the exploits and investigations of Professor Bernard Quatermass, this time around would see the brash scientist look into the strange goings on at Winnerden Flats following a high amount of meteorite falls. What he uncovers though is a lethal toxin being experimented on and an alien infiltration that could lead to disastrous consequences for the human race.
Based on the BBC production, this time around screenwriter Nigel Kneale would oversee writing duties for the feature but much to his chagrin would see American actor Brian Donlevy take on the lead role for the second time. Kneale was much aggrieved that Quatermass was portrayed by an American, a man very much considered to be British, but also by a man that he would describe as…
a bully whose emotional range ran from annoyance to furyMarcus Hearn & Alan Barnes – The Hammer Story: The Authorised of Hammer Films.
It doesn’t help that Donlevy was allegedly on the sauce throughout filming and apparently read off what is commonly known as idiot boards to recite his lines.
The film itself feels remarkably different from its predecessor, tapping into a more action, thriller style of exposition and one that in my opinion, goes against the grain of my high-held expectations. In this instance, I identify with Kneale’s plight about the casting of Quatermass, and find little to connect to, but admittedly I may be being biassed, as I much prefer Andrew Keir’s take in follow up Hammer film, Quatermass and the Pit.
Val Guest however does cut a fine take as director to the government, alien conspiracy flick, tying into the paranoia surrounding a post-war paranoia. It’s the beating heart of the feature and one that led some to believe that it was ahead of its time.
- Saul Muerte