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I re-watched Hammer Films' 1967 Quartermass and the Pit and was struck by how Lovecraftian the whole thing is.  You've got ancestral taint, ancient aliens, mutant humanoids, a history of supernatural occurrences, and a threat to sanity and all humanity.  You've got inexplicable phenomena that leave even the smartest man in the room, Bernard Quartermass, speechless.

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Still got the NPC write-ups?  ;)

 

FYI, the original six-part 1958 BBC television serial is apparently available on DVD as well as the Hammer movie.  According to customer reviews, it is even more effective than the bigger budget film despite its age.

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The Chorazin (an avatar of cthulhu) from the Malleus Monstrorum appears to be a rip off of the martian plasma being that hangs over London in the Quatermass movie.

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Thanks for posting these. It's great to see these classics and good to see what can be achieved with a good plot and script, despite minimal special effects; Hollywood should take note. 

I really like the old 'weird sci fi' which came out of Britain, it has a flavour that is worth preserving and continuing.

Edited by Mankcam
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SPOILER ALERT!!!

I agree.  Gore galore, foul language out the wazoo, and CGI special effects are no substitute for a thoughtful, suspenseful script and competent acting.  It is why Doctor Who survived long enough to be revived in the 21st century.  Movies that have a similar feel are The Unearthly and Night of the Demon.  In the original version of both films, the supernatural entity was never actually shown, requiring the audience to fill in the blanks and draw its own conclusions.

After watching the first two segments of the 1958 version of Pit I am struck by how subtle and understated it is.  The show presents the evidence that the "missile" is indeed prehistoric without any of the characters drawing the conclusion for the audience by exclaiming, "Geez!  This thing has to be 5 million years old!"  It assumes that viewers are attentive enough and smart enough to figure out on their own that something isn't right.

I will be interested in seeing how the TV show ties the haunted house meme into the weird stuff surrounding the missile.  The Hammer version was rushed and the 1927 weirdness didn't seem to connect.

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I need to watch the BBC TV version.  I loved the original movie.  Nowadays moviemakers (especially Hollywood) treats the viewers like idiots and rushes everything.  I prefer the slower shows (old-school Doctor Who being one) that take their time. 

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I like the Hammer movie version of this but agree after watching the series that the TV version has a lot more going on and is generally creepier.

The Stone Tapes is another BBC TV product that melds modern technology with ancient horror... and has that slow build to the sinister: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtvJWKaDI9s

If anyone has seen the old BBC Halloween special Ghostwatch, it's subtle/creepy as well... a bit apocalyptic if not overtly Lovecraftian but I'm sure it could be turned that way with little effort: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yfy9UHAIwgQ

Edited by Simlasa
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Anything by Nigel Kneal is worth reading or watching. The last Quatermass series on TV - just called "Quatermass" on UK independent TV was in the 1970s and took place in a society on the brink of anarchy, with space hippies gathering at ancient stone henges. Once the reveal is given, it's possibly the most Lovecraftian - as in utter cosmic horror - of all TV I have ever seen. Talk about humankind being insignificant!

 

 

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I second Mike M.  All of the Hammer Quatermass films are excellent (despite Kneale's dislike of the the first two), as are the two surviving BBC serials - and all of these are available on DVD.  I also unequivocally recommend the three Quatermass serial scripts, which I think are still in print - they read very well.

"The Stone Tape" too, is excellent, and that script is also well worth a read - you can find it in a collection of three teleplay scripts with the very odd title "Year of the Sex Olympics", which includes "Stone Tape", the title play (a kind of social sci-fi satire that predicts today's `reality TV' culture), and third teleplay entitled "The Road" which is also superb (I've sometimes thought it would be cool to direct a stage version of "The Road").

I'm not familiar with, but have heard good things about a later BBC mini-series he scripted called "The Beasts".  I haven't seen the 1970's "Quatermass" but did read his novelization - not as good as the earlier Q's but still quite worthwhile and full of fascinating ideas.  

His short story collection "Tomato Caine" is also quite good.  A handful of the stories are supernatural.  

He also scripted an adaptation of "1984" for the BBC which I think might be on YouTube.  I know it too was highly thought of.

And here's one - Kneale wrote a screenplay in the late 1970's for a proposed remake of "The Creature from the Black Lagoon".  I've heard that copies are out there but have never pursued it.  I also recall reading someone's brief synopsis of it and, like all Kneale stories, there were a lot of interesting ideas - though I can no longer remember any specifics.

And yeah, there are Lovecraftian-like elements in many of these, though I've heard Kneale never read fantasy or sci-fi outside of H.G. Wells.  I statted up the alien fungus/vegetable/blob in BRP terms years ago, but not sure if I still have it (if I find it I'll post).  

One of the great sci-fi/fantasy/horror talents, no question.

 

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Beasts is good - well, some stories are better than others - but still worth checking out the DVD of the series (each episode is a different story). 

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Quatermass certainly has his place in the alternate Cthulhu Mythos busting organizations, like the BBC drama, The Invasion...they remain classic cosy catastrophes, especially, for Atomic Age Cthulhu - one should check The Quatermass Memoirs.

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