Quatermass and the Pit (1967)

This film is not your usual sci-fi monster from the deep or outer space but a story based on comprehensible logic – the suggestion that the human mind and it’s psychic and sixth sense qualities was the result of alien intervention with our ancestral primates millions of years ago. Andrew Keir plays a fine role as the tweedy dressed sometimes gruff gentleman professor, Bernard Quatermass who teams up with equally amiable James Donald as Dr.Mathew Roney and his attractive female assistant Barbara Shelley as Barbara Judd to solve the riddle of a strange craft and several ape like skeletons unearthed during the reconstruction of an underground London railway station. At first thought to be an unexploded second world war missile an Army demolition team is brought in to disarm it, led by the bombastic single minded military thinking Colonel Breen played by Julian Glover who scoffs at the theories of the two scientists that this could be anything more than a German V weapon. The finding of large insect like creatures preserved within the hull of the craft and an analysis of their physical attributes leads Quatermass and Roney to conclude that they are Martians who along with their ape like passengers were killed as a result of a crash landing five million years beforehand. Quatermass also speculates that the apes had been previously taken from Earth to Mars and altered in order to give them Martian thinking characteristics which were then inherited by their human descendants. Breen dismisses the insect creatures as fakes and convinces his government superiors that the missile is safe, against the advice of Quatermass, Roney and Judd who have already discovered sinister awakenings within the craft after a workman dismantling his drill therein is seized upon by an invisible propelling force along with terrifying mental images. When the public and press are admitted to the site the craft comes to life generating a ghostly devil looking apparition, along with the now mind affected local population banding into groups and unleashing a killing spree on their own kind. Quatermass and Roney must now pool their scientific expertise to neutralize the menace and restore order. Nigel Kneale’s compelling screenplay is sheer brilliance and gives this film a distinct and special uniqueness in the world of science fiction. A must see for the serious minded movie watcher.