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“The will to survive… it’s an odd phenomenon. Roney, if we found out earth was doomed – say, by climatic changes – what would we do about it?” “Nothing. Just go on squabbling as usual.” Hmm, … sounds familiar, right? Join this episode’s Grue-Crew – Whitney Collazo, Chad Hunt, Daphne Monary-Ernsdorff, and Jeff Mohr – as they brave the London Underground to learn the genesis of humankind as depicted in Quatermass and the Pit (1967), the third of Hammer’s Quatermass films, also known as Five Million Years to Earth.
Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 93 – Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
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A mysterious artifact is unearthed in London, and famous scientist Bernard Quatermass is called in to divine its origins and explain its strange effects on people.IMDb
- Director: Roy Ward Baker
- Writers: Nigel Kneale
- Selected Cast:
- James Donald as Doctor Roney
- Andrew Keir as Professor Bernard Quatermass
- Barbara Shelley as Barbara Judd
- Julian Glover as Colonel Breen
- Duncan Lamont as Sladden
- Bryan Marshall as Captain Potter
- Peter Copley as Howell
- Edwin Richfield as Minister
- Grant Taylor as Police Sergeant Ellis
- Maurice Good as Sergeant Cleghorn
- Robert Morris as Watson
- Sheila Steafel as Journalist
- Hugh Futcher as Sapper West
- Hugh Morton as Elderly Journalist
- Thomas Heathcote as Vicar
Chad is a huge fan of Quatermass but admits he prefers Brian Donleavy as Bernard Quatermass; there’s just something about a scientist that might punch somebody at any moment. On the other hand, he calls Quatermass and the Pit the most well written, most well thought out, and most influential of the Quatermass films, loving how the filmmakers were able to manifest psychic chaos on a grand scale. Daphne first saw the film with her dad and also says she loves it. She is amazed at the acting, the use of colors, and how ingrained the aliens have become in science fiction and horror. Whitney is in awe of how much disaster is seen unfolding in this film as well as how it questions the creation and development of humans. At his first viewing, Jeff was unimpressed but he now believes he was seeing a version that was severely cut to fit a 90-minute timeslot with commercials. He now loves Quatermass and the Pit and marvels at the acting throughout, especially Barbara Shelley’s performance, and Nigel Kneale’s stellar script which efficiently covers a very complex set of ideas and actions while making it very palatable.
By the way, Toho Company had nothing to do with the production of Quatermass and the Pit even though it was listed in IMDb along with Hammer as one of the production companies when we recorded the podcast. IMDb should soon be corrected.
As you can see, the Decades of Horror Classic Era Grue-Crew is head-over-heals gaga for Quatermass and the Pit and strongly recommends you give it a watch soon! At this writing, a streaming source for Quatermass and the Pit is difficult to find, but Jeff and Daphne highly recommend the Scream Factory Blu-ray and its abundance of extras.
The Grue-Crew also want to thank Richard Klemenson! Issue #40 of his magazine Little Shoppe of Horrors was very helpful with its deep dive into Quatermass and the Pit. If you love classic British horror films, this is the magazine for you!
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era records a new episode every two weeks. In the next episode, they will discuss a movie chosen by Chad, Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires (1965).
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