Director: Val Guest
Writers: Nigel Kneale and Val Guest
Cast: Brian Donlevy, John Longdon, Sydney James, Bryan Forbes, William Franklyn, Vera Day, Charles Lloyd Pack, Tom Chatto, John Van Eyssen, Percy Herbert, Michael Ripper, John Rae, Marianne Stone, Ronald Wilson, Jane Aird, Betty Impey, Lloyd Lamble, John Stuart, Gilbert Davis, Joyce Adams, Edwin Richfield, Howard Williams, Phillip Baird, Robert Raikes, John Fabian, George Merritt, Arthur Blake, and Michael Balfour
Composer: James Bernard
Release Date: 5/10/1957
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Professor Bernard Quatermass discovers a collection of meteor-like objects that, upon contact, emit an ammonia-based gas with a poisonous effect on human beings. On further investigation, Prof. Quatermass locates a top-secret facility run by zombie operatives—with devastating implications for the people of Earth.
Released as Enemy from Space in the United States and Canada, this film is a compelling installment in Hammer’s Quatermass trilogy. Specifically, classic science fiction buffs will enjoy Quatermass 2 for its body horror tropes, alien invasion themes, and conspiratorial undertones.
Similar to Fox Mulder from The X-Files, Prof. Quatermass conveys the inner torment, frustration and desperation of a man who, despite uncovering a terrible government secret, fails to convince the brainwashed masses of a grave threat to humanity’s existence—a factor that compels the viewer to relate with the main character, initially written as a cold and unsympathetic figure in the first film (The Quatermass Xperiment). (On a related note, astute fans may observe commonalities between the synthetic food in Quatermass 2 and the black oil from The X-Files—both of which take over human bodies in order to serve the agenda of an alien race.)
Modern audiences may dismiss Quatermass 2 for its dated production values, which become most apparent when giant, pulsating blob monsters—portrayed by men in cheesy rubber costumes—break loose during the climax of this film.
Heightening the paranoid atmosphere of Nigel Kneale’s narrative, composer James Bernard deserves praise for his screeching violin music. Nevertheless, Bernard’s heavy use of strings—though creepy and unsettling—becomes quite repetitive after a while.
Revealing that the majority of people scoff at the prospect of questioning government authority, Quatermass 2 should be commended for its penetrating social critique and insightful message on human behavior patterns.
Quatermass 2 provides a unique and terrifying twist on the concept of invaders from outer space. Sci-fi/horror enthusiasts will therefore enjoy this offering, which benefits from solemn performances, gruesome makeup effects, and captivating action sequences.
Overall Quality: 8/10
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