97 minutes

Dir: Roy Ward Baker

Producer: Anthony Nelson Keys

Cinematography: Arthur Grant

Prince George has just been presented before us all while I’m writing a film review about the awakening of a new insect overlord on planet earth.

Coincidence? Cognitive association?

Whatever the reason, before we’re impaled in the throne room by 9 foot high Praying Mantis it’s time to get some salted popcorn and blob out to ‘Quatermass and the Pit’, the last of the Quatermass films.

obscure film quatermass and the pit 2

Professor Quatermass is a sci-fi superhero character who had a cult following in the 50s on British TV. Imagine a scientist sleuth who uses reason and lab equipment to battle extra terrestrials. The show was subsequently translated into a series of three films, met with a varying amount of success at the box office.

The last of these, made 10 years after Quatermass 2 asks the topical questions:

  • Is religion more rational than you thought? Can it be explained with science?
  • Is mankind going to implode through unexpectedly opening a Pandora’s Box?

obscure film quatermass and the pit 1

The film opens on an excavation site at an underground station where a skull is unearthed. This is followed by unearthing a missile. Is it something leftover from WW2? Or is it something not from planet Earth? And what does it contain?

As much a thriller horror as it is a sci-fi, the legacy of Quatermass and the Pit exists because it successfully creates tension by keeping the viewer blind. It’s a technique employed and perhaps overused in today’s horror films, but feels surprisingly fresh and sinister in this film. It helps to constantly tease you (by not showing you events, happenings) and then out of nowhere unexpectedly surprises you with intense graphic images of horror.

It’s this technique that makes ‘Quatermass and The Pit’ an especially creepy film, a film that is pumped full of tension and unease. You aren’t really party at any point as to what is about to happen / who is going to die / what can we do?

It’s a film that plays with your psyche and leaves you feeling that perhaps something like an alien race taking over planet earth could logically happen… and perhaps it’s not as entirely far fetched as it sounds. This statement sounds totally absurd but the film lets you entertain this notion seriously, which is seriously smart considering it’s very much planted very much in the horror genre.

obscure film quatermass and the pit 3

Tips for enjoying Quatermass and the Pit

-If you enjoyed this film, then revisit not only the TV series – but also other vintage shows that deal with Sci-Fi on present ‘The Outer Limits’ or ‘Tales of the Unexpected’.

-The Daemons, a TV story from early Doctor Who, retells a similar story and the consequences of man unearthing things that should be left alone.

Can’t find it / buy it?


Other Links for Trivia and Info on Quatermass and the Pit:

Wikipedia entry


IMDB entry


IMDB Trivia page


Rotten Tomatoes



[…] Quatermass and the Pit (1967) (obscurefilm.com) […]

Leave a comment

Subscribe Scroll to Top css.php