HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Knife for the Ladies, A
Man in the Attic
Destroyer
Fillmore
Bumblebee
No Kidding
Honkytonk Man
Woman in the Window, The
Shed of the Dead
Dead Easy
Tucked
Widows
Last Movie Star, The
Death Game
Juliet, Naked
November
Arcadia
Sugar Hill
House with the Clock in Its Walls, The
Devil Thumbs a Ride, The
Suspiria
Secret People
Spy Who Dumped Me, The
Beautiful Stranger
House That Jack Built, The
Undercover
White Chamber
R.P.M.
Summer of 84
On Secret Service
Survive!
My Sister Eileen
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
Last Picture Show, The
Pathfinder
Skatetown, USA
Donbass
He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not
Mary Poppins Returns
Beyond the Sky
   
 
Newest Articles
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
Phwoar, Missus! Sexytime for Hollywood
   
 
  X the Unknown Inglorious MudBuy this film here.
Year: 1956
Director: Leslie Norman
Stars: Dean Jagger, Edward Chapman, Leo McKern, Anthony Newley, Jameson Clark, William Lucas, Peter Hammond, Marianne Brauns, Ian MacNaughton, Michael Ripper, John Harvey, Edwin Richfield, Jane Aird, Norman Macowan, Neil Hallett, Kenneth Cope, Frazer Hines
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Soldiers in the Scottish Highlands are conducting manoeuvres in the countryside, the superiors teaching the troops to find radioactivity buried in a muddy field with a Geiger counter. When it looks as if they have all had their shot, it turns out not to be the case because one soldier complains he had not had a go, so amid much grumbling the canister is buried once again and off he goes. However, he has some trouble, due to the sudden increase in radioactivity in the area: that canister has attracted something from beneath the earth... something deadly.

In Britain during the nineteen-fifties the most influential fictional name in science fiction, and horror for that matter, was Professor Bernard Quatermass, the scientist dreamt up by writer Nigel Kneale for a wildly popular television serial. The low budget production company Hammer seized their chance to get the rights for the movie version, which turned their fortunes around and made them the byword for British horror movies across the world, but Kneale was maybe not quite as prolific for them as they had hoped, so when they wanted a new Quatermass film he was not able to deliver one quite yet.

Therefore Hammer turned to one of their staff, budding screenwriter Jimmy Sangster, to pen a script for a sequel, but Kneale was protective of his character and refused to allow permission. Their solution? Change the name of the lead scientist, here played by American import (for more international appeal) Dean Jagger, and go ahead with the production anyway, and the results were another hit for the studio, not to mention a new career for Sangster who became one of the most respected chiller screenwriters around. But X the Unknown was never truly going to rival Quatermass, and now is regarded as a footnote.

Which is kind of a shame, because if it was not up to Kneale standards it was nevertheless efficiently assembled and offered some fair suspense, along with some envelope-pushing gore, nothing that looks too ghastly by today's standards, but it's still surprising to see characters getting their flesh melted off in a movie of this vintage. For the first half of a pretty short effort, we have little idea of what has emerged from the ground to terrorise the locals, and the implication is that it may well be invisible, but those victims are reacting to something off-camera, so you'll be wondering what it could possibly be. It had to be said that the film was ruthless in bumping off those who crossed the monster's path.

So not only do the comic relief soldiers get melted - one of them played by a pre-singing fame Anthony Newley - but a little kid gets offed as well, which is particularly grim but illustrates the take no prisoners attitude of the menace. As to what that menace is, if you thought the first killer blob movie was, well, The Blob in 1958, then here was its predecessor, getting in there first with an extremely simple but undeniably effective movie monster, for it's a great big mass of radioactive mud which is bubbling up from the earth to devour the humans. Along with that effective item of nastiness on a budget, you got some Scottish colour to add personality to what might have been rather undistinguished otherwise, including one of the scuzziest drunks in fifties cinema, and as a bonus Leo McKern showed up as an inspector assisting Jagger's no-nonsense boffin for a serviceable middle-aged blob-fighting duo. If it remained in the shadow of Kneale, and still does, X the Unknown did entertain. Music by James Bernard, himself starting a great career with Hammer.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1926 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Paul Shrimpton
Darren Jones
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: