Sunday, March 8, 2009

X the UNKNOWN / Hammer - 1956 / Music by James Bernard

Tonight we have one of my favorite sci-fi movies from the fifties... Hammer also used blobs and melting people in THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT and QUATERMASS 2, aka THE CREEPING UNKNOWN and ENEMY FROM SPACE. In this wild atomic nightmare, Dean Jagger plays the scientist Dr. Adam Royston. He's in charge of figuring out how to 'kill mud!'

And, who did the music for those two Quatermass movies?.. James Bernard, who else?! His strains are very identifiable. Its music that can send shivers up or down your spine!!

Eegah!! put together a nice sound piece, so, we might as well get on with the show!.. Clik a mouse to find out... HOW DO YOU KILL MUD?! As Dean works away in the lab, the radio plays classical music...

I'm really glad I missed this one at the theater as a kid even though the story was penned by my favourite writer, Jimmy Sangster. A few other gems he scripted are THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, HORROR OF DRACULA, THE CRAWLING EYE, JACK THE RIPPER, THE MUMMY... You get the picture!

In keeping with our 'Sadistic Bastard' week, I'm placing Jimmy squarely into that catagory! Here's why...

Remember, this is 1956!.. I was 8!! So, what's the first thing he does?!.. Right, he kills off a young boy who had a creepy encounter with X in the woods at night, and then became deathly ill!

Now, here's why Sangster's a sadistic bastard in this movie... Walking away are the parents of the boy, who has just died from radiation poisoning. The mother's grief is so genuine that the viewer is left stunned from the heart-felt performance. And, Roysten still has no answers.

Then, cut to this guy making a call to a nurse in another department in the hospital, to invite her over to his lab during her break for a little sexual rendezvous.

To remind you that a young child has just die a horrific death, the gurney is wheeled down the hall in front of the camera, actually nudging lover boy out of the way!

Nursie pays a visit and they get right down to business. Naturally, the viewer is immediately drawn in. Now, you're thinking about sex!!

Hey! What the?!!..

So, the flesh melts off the guy's face and nursie will end up in a mental hospital forever and a day!! That's a pretty damn sadistic series of events within 2 minutes!! But, again, that's one reason why Jimmy's my favourite writer!

Also, as a 2nd unit director, he must have directed some of those 'melting' or effects scenes.

Say goodbye to Spider and Haggis! Anthony Newley plays Spider!!

An awesome part of the film is where Edward Chapman goes down inside the giant hole where X dwells. Truly scary and disgusting!

The military drops a bomb into the cavern, then covers it over with concrete, that'll probably solve the problem!!

But, it doesn't, and, the guard at the power plant is barely able to sound the alarm before he melts.

Roysten and the guys watch as X devours it's atomic meal.

On the way back to it's lair, it causes severe damage to the countryside. X has to be stopped!!

They employ Roysten's equipment, so, Edward coaxes X out of it's hole with an after dinner mint!

Roysten's idea works, but, then, there's an another unexpected explosion, leaving the viewer with an uneasy, instead of satisfied feeling at the end. Jimmy wins again!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For some reason when I saw this as a child, the close up of the guys burned, swollen finger was more frightening to me than any other part of the movie. I guess it's cause that was an injury I could relate to better than getting completely dissolved.

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