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Captein Dillon (John Stone) is startled by a meteorite coming down near
the village Winnerden Flats ... but he is even more starlled by the little
interest his superiors show into htat incident, that even goes so far as
ptrying to prevent him from investigating ... however, Dillon knows one
man who will be interested, professor Quatermass (John Robinson).
meanwhile is desperately trying to start another of his rocket6ships
(which is faulty at best) & is planning to build a lunar city (which
he of course can't do until he can lift a roketship off the ground). So to
go investigating captain Dillon's neat little meteorite might be a nice
diversion ... but once the 2 of them arrive at Winenrden Flats, which they
expect to be a quiet little fishing village, they instead find a vast
industrial complex looking not at all unlike the model for Quatermass'
lunar city, which leads Quatermass to the absurd (yet correct) assumption
that this might be some kind of outpost for alien settlers.
complex, Quatermass & Dillon also find what they think to be the
meteroite (or part of it), but when Dillon touches it, it breaks apart,
some gas evades & something seems to be taking possession of Dillon
... but what's worse, suddenly guards from the complex take him prisoner,
& prevent Quatermass at gunpoint from following, or doing anything
As his on-site research led to remarkably little,
Quatermass tries to solve the Winnerden Flats-mystery in London, where MP
Fowler (Austin Trevor), who normally does little but turn down his
budgets, gets him together with MP Broadhead (Rupert Davies), who makes
investigations concerning Winnerden Flats, that is supposed to be a secret
synthetic foods plant, but quite a number of things simply don't add up..
But when Quatermass accompanies him to a panel meeting, he discovers that
all of the other panel embers seem to be brainwashed, & eventually
Braoadhead is brainwashed too, before Quatermass can learn anything
To investigate further, Quatermass & Fowler persuade
the food-plant's PR-manager Ward (Derek Aylward), a rather naive
but not brainwashed man, to give them a tour through the plant ... &
there Quatermass discovers something beyond his worst nightmare, that the
plant produces gases able to turn the earth'S oxygen based atmosphere into
an ammonium based ice-age like atmopsphere ... which only leads to one
conclusion (well ...), that aliens from one of Saturn's moons are trying
to make earth their home, & all the people he thought brainwashed are
actually possessed by the aliens as a sort of joined intelligence. &
not only that, gradually, they have started to possess/brainwash persons
in lead postions all around the country.
Back at his lab, he learns from
his assistants - his daughter Paula (Monica Grey) & fellow scientist
Leo Pugh (Hugh Griffith) that they have discovered an asteroid that might
be the aliens' mothership & that does everyhting possible to hide from
earth's radar (which was obviously not enough for the Quatermass gang), so
Quatermass figures one way to stop the alien invasion would be to fly
there in his faulty rocketship, place a few atomic bombs on the asteroid
& blow it up, or even use the rocketship itself as a projectile ...
but that might be a tad risky, since on one side the rocket is incredibly
faulty, on the other it cannot be remote controlled - making this one a
So Quatermass puts another plan into action first,
& together with reporter Conrad (Roger Delgado) visits a quitet
village next to Winnerden Falls, where most of the people involved in the
construction of the plant live in happy oblivion. It's only when Conrad is
on the verge of becoming possessed too after having had contact with one
of the meteorites, that the workers see the error of their (oblivious)
ways & start a rebellion against their masters in the Winnerden Flats
plant, take over key positions & eventually blow up the plant ...
but despite this triumphant success, the war stillmight be lost, as the
aliens have their plants all over the world, so it's up to Quatermass
& his assistant Pugh to go up in their rocketship after all ... but
once they are on the asteroid itself, it turns out that Pugh is possessed
as well, & unfortunately he has brought a gun ...when he shoots at
Quatermass thogh, he not only misses but has not taken into account the
recoil of his gun & the fact that there's zero gravity on the asteroid
... & he is hurled off into space.
Quatermass can finally place his
bombs on the asteroids, &, propelled by the force of the explosion,
even make his way back to earth. & all people possessed by the alien
intelligence turn back to normal ...
Within the confines of the
science fiction story, this is a rather intelligent variation on the alien
invasion formula, insasmuch as it has a very logical & plausible
storyline (in the sci-fi-context, of course), & portraying the lead
good guy scientist as a ruthless know-it-all does certainly have its
merits - especially if all this is compared to similar American drive-in
fodder, where the aliens seem to be content in conquering a backwoods
village, & the illage's doctor is a notorious do-gooder who gets the
girl in the end - all of which is of course charming on another level.
brings Quatermass 2 down a little though is that it is way too long
& has way too many characters to retain tension or remain wholly
comprehensible (especially since many of the characters are basically
killed of after being the co-lead in one or 2 episodes), & then
there's the ratbher silly ending with the flight into space,t hat
stretches credibility more than a tad, & is not at all helped by
unconvincing boring effects ... on both tese accounts, the Hammer-version
from 2 years later (also called Quatermass
2) fared much better, cutting the length down to less than half,
omitting most of the killed-off co-leads & leaving out the space
travel in full.