Quatermass and the Pit (1967) (aka: Five Million Years to Earth) starring James Donald, Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley, Julian Glover directed by Roy Ward Baker Movie Review

Quatermass and the Pit (1967)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Andrew Keir in Quatermass and the Pit (1967) (aka: Five Million Years to Earth)

Quatermass is Going Underground

As a team of engineers work on building a new London underground tunnel they unearth a misshapen skull. It leads to archaeology expert Dr. Mathew Roney (James Donald) being called in as more skeletal remains are uncovered. But it is not just remains which are uncovered as a metal object thought to be a bomb is found which is why Prof. Bernard Quatermass (Andrew Keir) and Colonel Breen (Julian Glover) are also called in. But it seems it is no bomb they have and the experts try to fathom out what it is with Quatermass putting various clues together as he tries to make sense of it all whilst battling bureaucrats when theories come up that the large metal object is a spaceship which puts in to doubt the origins of man.

What if someone told you that something which you had thought to be true all your life is suddenly not? How would that make you feel? Would you suddenly begin to question everything you have believed especially if this revelation turned out to be huge with massive knock on effects? That is the overall power of "Quatermass and the Pit" the discovery of something which puts into doubt what everyone had accepted for so long as being fact with some unable to accept the possibility and look for a more acceptable answer. I am not going to go in to specifics for the simple reason that whilst "Quatermass and the Pit" actually tells a familiar story it does it quite magnificently.

Julian Glover in Quatermass and the Pit (1967) (aka: Five Million Years to Earth)

So what does "Quatermass and the Pit" do which makes it so good? Well it is quite simply that this movie takes us on an evolving journey as we go from the discovery of skulls beneath London which leads archaeologists to suggest that ape men once resided in the city only for this to evolve when what is first thought to be a bomb is unearthed. We then go from bomb to something planted by Hitler during the war too mind controlling powers of this strange object before we end up in full "X-Files" territory. It is because it cleverly evolves, making us change what we begin to accept is going on before delivering an explanation with huge ramifications which make us feel uneasy. As such it doesn't need much in the form of physical scares as it is the manipulation of what we accept is the real horror.

It is because the strength of "Quatermass and the Pit" comes from the concept that the acting whilst all very good is nothing special. Basically the performances are similar to what you could find in a whole array of movies made in Britain during the 1960s and so they don't end up that memorable even if they are good.

What this all boils down to is that "Quatermass and the Pit" is still a fantastic movie, a thinking man's horror movie which plays on your mind as to whether what we believe we know is anything but and what it could mean if things we once were sure were fact were not.