Search - Quatermass (1979) on DVD


Quatermass (1979)
Quatermass
1979
Actors: John Mills, Simon MacCorkindale, Ralph Arliss, Paul Rosebury, Jane Bertish
Director: Piers Haggard
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2005     3hr 24min

As the millennium draws to a close, civilization is on the verge of collapse. Gangs rule the streets. Books are burned for fuel. And a monstrous force from outer space is destroying the world's youth. Planet Earth is in di...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: John Mills, Simon MacCorkindale, Ralph Arliss, Paul Rosebury, Jane Bertish
Director: Piers Haggard
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Classics, Alien Invasion, Aliens, Classic TV, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: A&E Home Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/26/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 3hr 24min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 11
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A dose of Quatermass
Thomas F. Bertonneau | Oswego, NY United States | 12/17/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

""The Quatermass Conclusion" is the fourth movie-length installment in the long-lived "Professor Quatermass" series of films, the first of which appeared fifty years ago with Brian Donlevy in the title role. That was "The Creeping Unknown," which remains scary even after the sad jading of our collective special-effects appetite. Donlevy reprised the Quatermass character in the 1958 sequel, known in the United States as "The Enemy from Space." Andrew Keir took over for the 1967 "Quatermass and the Pit," called "Five Million Years to Earth" for transatlantic audiences. It wasn't until 1979 that screenwriter Nigel Kneale managed to get a fourth Quatermass story on film, this time as a BBC "mini-series" in four parts featuring John Mills as a by now aged protagonist. This is conceptually the most ambitious of the Quatermass stories: Kneale sets it in a world afflicted everywhere by social and economic collapse and - this is a key element in the unfolding story - the withdrawal of young people, especially adolescents, from all communal ties. The landscape swarms with packs of juvenile "Space People," as they call themselves, dressed in flower-child fashion awaiting their deliverance to a paradise planet. They believe that their redemption will occur at the ancient megalithic sites and it is to these that they gravitate. Redemption it is not. Quatermass, coming to London from the countryside to seek a lost grandchild and drawn into the investigation of events, theorizes about "the harvesting of mankind." He is aided by an astrophysicist played by Simon McCorkindale, whom many viewers will recognize as a screen presence of the time. This is the most apocalyptic of the Quatermass stories, more so even than "Quatermass and the Pit," with its mass revival of ancient Martian "race memories" in the human population of London, and with its subsequent mad "cleansing of the Martian hives." The images of British society - and by implication all societies all over the world - in its material and moral downward-spiral are stark and disturbing. A few scenes of a near-earth space station and of a space shuttle in distant orbit are unnecessary in that they look toy-like and detract from rather than add to the verisimilitude of the production, but this is quibbling. The atmosphere over the four hours of the story becomes increasingly desperate and grim. Essential equipment breaks down and is irreparable; key people die in riots. The climax smacks of the nihilism that I associate with the 1970s, but it could be interpreted as throwing Quatermass into the role of redeemer, complete with martyric self-sacrifice. A brief epilogue seems tacked on, as though the producers could not accept the uncompromising final scene of Kneale's script - but it does allow for some détente, which might be needed in the moment. Recommended for its far-above-average intelligence: "The Quatermass Conclusion" refreshingly does away with the hoary cliché that the young, and only the young, can save the world."
Gripping, intelligent science fiction.
Dennis Hawley | Asheville, NC | 03/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's a given among science fiction aficionados that the three theatrically released Quatermass films are among the best of British science fiction. This rarely seen, final installment of the series does nothing to tarnish its reputation. Available up till now in a severly truncated version, the complete 4-hour mini-series is now available, and well worth getting.
The premise of 'Quatermass' has to do with an alien 'force' (a beam of energy), originating from a distant part of the universe, which "harvests" human beings. It seems that the beings behind this 'force' visited Earth 5,000 years previously, leaving a collective fright among the human population. As a result of that event, the early peoples constructed megaliths (Stonehenge, Ringstone Round, etc.) to mark places where the aliens landed, and where they left transmitters or beacons under the earth. As the film begins, we see a world in decay. Social and environmental calamaties have been rife, with barbaric tribalism resurgent. Young people seem to be in the grip of some kind of collective madness, compelled to mass at these megalithic locations. It seems that that the alien 'collectors' are drawn to the physiology of younger humans (this assumes great significance as the film progresses). The young, anxious to leave behind this bleak environment, believe they will be taken to another planet (they call themselves 'Planet People').
When large crowds of the young arrive at the various locations, a strange beam emanates from the sky to the location. Puff, they are all gone, leaving only charred dust. This is, as we learn, the "gathering time" for this 'harvest'. Quatermass (well played by John Mills) discovers the truth, and and sets out to combat the malevolent force. He's also searching for his granddaughter, who has run away and joined the Planet People. This subplot assumes a key role during the film's ending.
While this was a television release, it does an outstanding job (within its budgetary limits) of depicting an unsettling world. Nobody does a better job of creating a socially and environmentally depressing setting than the Brits. Reminiscent of the milieu portrayed in such films as 'A Clockwork Orange', the ominous feel generated by the film is hard to match. While much of the film occurs during daytime, this simply adds to the unnerving effect created.
This is the kind of science fiction that does not rely on glitzy special effects or fast-paced action. Rather, it draws the viewer in and dispenses the chills slowly, building the suspense and horror methodically. This is truly the thinking person's science fiction.
I agree with another reviewer that it would be nice for Anchor Bay to release this on DVD. However, even within the technical limitations of videotape (and the age of the production itself), the film transfer is remarkably good. Scenes where the sky is "sick", for example, show subtle transitions from blue to a putrid green. If it ever is released on DVD, I'll snatch it up. In the meantime, however, it is enough just to be able to finally see this engrossing film in any format. If you're a fan of the other Quatermass films, you will want to add this to your collection."
Best Sci Fi Series Ever Made...
Anton Garvey | Liverpool, UK | 09/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If your are familiar with the classic Quatermass films of old and you haven't heard of this one, then let me fill you in. I don't want to give too much of the storyline away so I'll try not to spoil it for you. The author of all the Quatermass films, Nigel Kneale had written this to be the follow up to Quatermass And The Pit - he was commissioned by the by the BBC (world famous UK channel) to do it on the back of that film's success. After reading the script, the BBC decided that it would be too expensive to make and so it was abandoned. However, in the wake of Close Encounters and Star Wars in 1977,the sci fi genre was back in fashion and Euston Films (English film company) put the money up - one and a half million pounds. That was a lot of money in 1978. Don't worry, the director Piers Haggard did an excellent job. John Mills, cast as ageing Professor Quatermass,is superb. The story is set in a world years from '78, say late 90's and civilisation around the globe is collapsing. The United Kingom has been reduced to a kind of civil war Yugoslovia. America is in a complete mess and so is the whole world for that matter. Gangs of killers roam the the abandoned inner cities. Fuel and food shortages have become the norm and in the countryside, bands of mystics calling themselves the Planet People wander round chanting their crazed belief that they will soon leave this sick world. Out of all this chaos, Quatermass arrives in London to appear as a TV guest on a late night NASA programme. It's being broadcast on the last operating TV station in the country. As they link up to a live satelitte view of the new American-Soviet space station, all hell brakes loose when it dissintegrates before their eyes and all astronuats are lost. The question is - why did this happen? Suddenly, things get more mysterious when thousands of Planet People around the world start to dissappear after converging on ancient megalith sites.
This video set is a four hour epic that will have you gripped on the edge of your seat. It remains suprisingly undated in an era of cellnet phones, internet and consumerism. I could imagine Nigel Kneale writing stories for Star Trek (superb as it is already). Buy this and blow your mind. The Planet People still haunt my dreams with their chant of "Leh!Leh!Leh!Leh!Leh!Leh...""
The final and best installment
Dennis Hawley | 10/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For the uninitiated, this is the latest and final of a series of films featuring the character of Bernard Quatermass. This particular version is the entire, unedited one, the one that actually aired in England.That said, allow me to say that this title is a dark version of the near future, but not as gloomy as Bladerunner. In a classic Sci-Fi tradition, death once again comes from the skies and only Dr. Quatermass can save the day! It's filled with character development and a large amount of pathos, so if you're a fan of British Sci-Fi, then you will likely love this one!"