Region Code: A
Duration: 85 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA Mono with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1)
Director: Val Guest
Cast: Brian Donlevy, Sidney James, John Longden, Bryan Forbes, Vera Day, William Franklyn
Smart-guy adventurer Professor Quatermass, (Brian Donlevy, Curse of the Fly), a sort of precursor to Indian Jones, is Britain's most renowned scientific mind, we catch up with him investigating reports of hundreds of meteorites landing in the Winnerden Flats area of the rural British countryside. He heads that way to investigate along with a colleague, and the pair are startled to discover an industrial complex with a series of domed buildings, which looks suspiciously like a moon base that Quatermass himself has been designing. There his colleague finds a strange rocket-shaped meteorite, picking it up to examine it the meteorite releases a gas, spraying him in the face and leaving behind a strange v-shaped scar. Suddenly from out of nowhere armed security forces arrive on the scene, with the observant scientist noting that they are also sporting similar v-shaped scars. The security forces take his his colleague into custody and force Quatermass to leave the area immediately.
It doesn't take a scientist to figure out that something strange is afoot, and Quatermass actually being a scientist is alarmed by the encounter, inquiring with local officials in the area who tell him the base is producing a synthetic food of some sort, which doesn't really explain the heightened security and only puzzles him further. The quick-thinking scientist manages to arrange a tour of the facility through Vincent Broadhead (Tom Chatto, The Frozen Dead), a Member of British Parliament. While touring the massive industrial complex things seem a bit off, with Broadhead straying from the group to investigate one of the large domed buildings at the facility, only to reemerge covered in a thick black slime, screaming in pain.
This ramps up the paranoia quotient quite a bit, with Quatermass barely escaping the complex while alarms rings out, fleeing to the nearby village he comes to realize that, sort of similiar to the Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), that the whole of the local government seems to have been turned into drones under an alien influence. With no where else to turn he teams-up with a mob of angry locals who storm the facility pitchfork and torch style, discovering that a huge blob-like aliens are living in the domes. They angry mob manages to take-over a critical building, cutting-off the life-support system sustaining the blobs, resulting in the aliens breaking-free from their domes, and succumbing to the alien atmosphere of Earth, not unlike the seminal sci-fi film War of the Worlds (1953).
The films is directed by Val Guest (When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth) and was re titled Enemy From Space for its U.S. theatrical release, which is the title I originally saw the film under on a bad-looking bootleg some years ago, with this Blu-ray presentation thankfully looking many times superior! This is a Hammer film, and while the studio did not go onto be remembered for their sci-fi output I have to say that I absolutely love the Quatermass films, this slice of cold war era paranoia is a lot of fun and should appeal to fans of vintage sci-fi paranoia like Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and Invaders from Mars (1953) with some fun blob-like aliens that brought to mind Caltiki - The Immortal Monster (1959), both of which I think used cow tripe to achieve their blob creatures.
Audio/Video: Quatermass 2 (1957) arrives on Blu-ray from Scream Factory with a new 2K scan from the only surviving film element, a print of the film. Go into this one with tempered expectations, there's a few rough patches here to overcome, but overall it's a solid archival presentation with surprisingly few blemishes. Grain can be a bit course throughout with crushed blacks and a general lack of finely resolved detail, but all things considered this looks terrific. The specs on the back of the Blu-ray sleeve indicate this is a 1.37:1 full frame transfer, however the image is actually closer to 1.78:1 widescreen, a bit of a flub from Scream Factory.
Audio comes by way of an English DTS-HD MA Mono 2.0 with optional English subtitles, dialogue and effects sound good, with the James Bernard score benefiting the most from the lossless upgrade.
Extras begin with a trio of audio commentaries, the first is an archival commentary with with director Val Guest and writer Nigel Kneale, plus a pair of newly minted commentaries from filmmaker/film historian Ted Newsom plus a third with author/film historian Steve Haberman and filmmaker/film historian Constantine Nasr - all are solid listens from people who know a thing or three about the Quatermass franchise, both n film and their earlier TV serial incarnations.
We also get a 21-min interview with the director detailing his career at Hammer plus a pair of shorter interviews with special effects artist Brian Johnson (Alien)
and assistant director Hugh Harlow which total about 5-min together.
Extras are buttoned-up with a 26-min episode of the 'World of Hammer' spotlighting Hammer sci-fi, 2-min trailer for the film, plus a still gallery.
The single-disc release arrives in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a reversible sleeve of art, including vintage alternate artwork for the film under the title 'Enemy From Space', the disc itself featuring an excerpt from the key artwork.
- NEW 2K scan of a pristine archival film print
- NEW audio commentary with filmmaker/film historian Ted Newsom
- NEW audio commentary with author/film historian Steve Haberman and filmmaker/film historian Constantine Nasr
- NEW interview with Academy Award-winning special effects artist Brian Johnson (Alien)(3 min) HD
- NEW interview with assistant director Hugh Harlow (2 min) HD
- Vintage interview with director Val Guest (21 min)
- Audio Commentary with director Val Guest and writer Nigel Kneale
- World of Hammer – Sci-Fi (26 min)
- U.S. Theatrical Trailer – ENEMY OF SPACE- Theatrical Trailers (2 min)
- Still Gallery (3 min)
Quatermass II (1957) is an entertaining slice of cold war era paranoia with an adventurer-scientist and cool blob-like alien creatures, it makes for a fun watch. I am very pleased to to see this film and it's sequel finally getting a U.S. release, giving these Hammer sci-fi gems new life on home video for both vintage and future fans who have yet to discover it.