Quatermass 2 (1957) [31 Days of Hammer Horror Review]

With Halloween looming large at the end of the month, and Hammer Horror recently making its return to the world of comics courtesy of the fine folks at Titan Comics, we figured now was the perfect time to take a look some of the fantastic Hammer back catalogue.

So this month, Jules is planning to watch every single Hammer Horror movie and share his thoughts with you fine, horror loving people.

You can check out the rest of our “31 Days of Hammer” by CLICKING HERE.

 Released: 1957
Starring: Brian Donlevy, John Longden, Sidney James
Director: Val Guest

Despite making the jump into full-colour gothic horror with Curse Of Frankenstein, Hammer still had some black and white sci-fi in the pipeline and we’re so lucky they did.

A return for Quatermass was always on the cards, especially after the nearly-was of X…The Unknown, so a mere three weeks after Curse Of Frankenstein dragged into the studio into the lurid past, up popped Nigel Kneale again with an even more paranoid and very contemporary atomic horror than he dished up the last time.

American Brian Donlevy was back as the titular Professor, who stumbles across a full-fledged alien invasion during an investigation of a meteor shower.

A huge complex based on Quatermass’ lunar colony plans has been built Winnerden Flats, an area being battered by regular meteorite activity.

The meteors release a strange gas, leaving victims with a v-shaped mark and a complete lack of free will.

It turns out there’s not only a top-secret government project going on at the Flats, but it’s also a front for a race of small, oxygen hating aliens who have designs on making our planet their own.

Cold War paranoia was rife in the mid-50s, but Quatermass 2 ramps those fears right up. It might be aliens behind it all, but for the most part it’s masked armed guards and shady government officials up to no good, with even the local constabulary in on the conspiracy, while the locals are just not wanting to rock the boat and keep their jobs, so don’t need much encouragement to turn into an angry mob.

Donlevy settles back into his most familiar role with ease here, though he’s more of a man trying to do the right thing this time. It’s a slight softening which makes his character much more appealing, though he can’t compete in the charisma stakes with Carry On legend Sid James who pops up as a permanently-pissed journalist who stumbles upon the story of a lifetime

While still retaining that actuate sense of paranoia and Cold War atomic tension, Quatermass 2 feels much more like an actioner than its predecessor, with the final assault on the factory coming over like the end of a James Bond film done on a Doctor Who budget. Saying that, the final effects of the giant alien creature rampaging through the factory, while basic, have no small amount of charm and make for a suitably catastrophic conclusion.

Often overlooked in favour of the first film and it’s (undeniably superior) sequel Quatermass And The Pit, this second outing for the Professor is well worth paying attention to.

Rating: 3/5.

JULESAVThe Writer of this piece was: Jules Boyle
Jules tweets from @Captain_Howdy

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