Science Fiction in British cinema, begins and ends often with QUATERMASS and his experiment. However for the aficionado, another route can be taken (one that avoids DR WHO and all that). The destination leads to Amicus studio and the cinematographer turned director Freddie Francis, a director who is considered the doyen of cult British cinema. He directed many stunningly good films and this sci fi classic that actually for once deserves the word, is up there as one of his best. Released in 1967, after a slew of good films from Francis that included, Hammers NIGHTMARE and Amicus DR. TERRORS HOUSE OF HORROR got him the greenlight from Amicus studios.

A mysterious meteor shower occurs in Cornwall. (Choose the right location why don’t you). A group of scientists are sent. In the lead is Dr. Curtis Temple (Robert Hutton), he is a man of skill and intelligence. He also has an issue that means he cant go straight away. This set up is subtle and suited to the smooth narrative drive that the film leads us through. In fact, if you know the Amicus and Hammer studio schtick. The scientists and local bystanders soon find themselves possessed by an alien force. A force that seems to be both obtuse and malignant. Dr. Temple arrives on the scene and suddenly the force of the aliens is released with death from boils and so the nightmare beings.

The points that wield the film strength are highlighted in the excellent commentary. From the strong but obviously solidly formula script. A clever and assertive direction from Francis, which also benefits from skilled editing and use of tone. I also loved that they pointed at the dynamic use of colour and setting. This is testament to Francis (another topic raised in the commentary).


Audio commentary with Film Historian David Del Valle and Filmmaker David DeCoteau
Original UK Theatrical trailer

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