Legendary and Hammer Films are resurrecting the classic sci-fi series to terrify a whole new generation
Some of us over a certain age fondly remember an old BBC series entitled ‘The Quatermass Experiment‘. The 1953 six-part television series followed the lead character, Rocket Scientist Bernard Quatermass. In the story, the very first manned flight into space returns with a dangerous alien lifeform which has bonded with its human astronaut on board and Quatermass has to stop the alien creature, which is slowly destroying the host inside and out, from destroying all life on Earth. This was the first of four Quatermass adventures made for television and three of the TV series were remade again as feature film adaptations. The series ran from 1953 until the final show, made by Thames Television and starring the late John Mills as the ageing scientist was broadcast in 1979.
Of the film versions, my opinion is the original Quatermass Experiment stands out as the best. An old fashioned Black And White horror movie that scared me as a young child and to this day still plague my nightmares from time to time. Is it overly scary? No, it’s not but at the time, the film had the power to scare audiences out of their minds. Quatermass II didn’t hold as much fear as it’s predecessor and the other film, Quatermass And The Pit had more in line with Science Fiction movies alongside its American Cousins than a scary horror/sci-fi film. That’s not to say that neither was any good because they were. If you go back through the years and discover these wonderful films, I advise you to watch them and wallow in the nostalgia.
The character and its premise were created by British writer Nigel Kneale. His work was so well regarded that the legendary film director John Carpenter (who is still to this day a huge Quatermass fan) personally hired Kneale to write the screenplay for Halloween III: Season Of The Witch. Kneale proudly did so but upon discovering the fact that Universal Pictures was not a fan of his screenplay and had hired another writer to re-write Kneale’s take, Kneale chose to have his name removed from the credits of the final film and refused to have any association with it.
The Quatermass franchise (apart from a 1995 BBC radio drama and a 2005 live remake for British television) has largely remained dormant, an afterthought in the annals of science fiction writing, television drama and film history. All that is about to change. Legendary Entertainment and Hammer Films have teamed up to bring Quatermass back to the big screen again. David Farr, the writer of the 2011 film and the upcoming Amazon series on which it’s based, Hanna, has been hired to write the screenplay for the new film. This new incarnation will be produced by Simon Oakes of Hammer films and Jay Ashenfelter for Legendary Entertainment.
No word yet on what direction the film will take or cast at this time but we at Future Of The Force will keep you updated with any more news regarding this exciting developing story. I for one hope they do the property justice. If treated correctly, the film could be a frightening science fiction horror story for this new age. It would be great to scare the pants off a new generation of film fans worldwide and to send them home with a fear of what lies out there not only in space but on our own planet. To this end, I wish the filmmakers well.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Entertainment/Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!