Horror

They Walk Among Us – Quatermass 2: Enemy from Space (1957)

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Where the first Quatermass film found the good professor in demand for his skills, this second picture finds him essentially being laughed at. No longer is Professor Quatermass the go-to guy, even being told so far as to go back to school. The man is insulted of course and intends to do just that until he hears of reports involving meteorites, which he then goes to investigate. Quatermass 2 22When an accident happens involving said meteorites and his colleague, Quatermass discovers a vast conspiracy involving possession, aliens, a government base said to be making artificial food and the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Now all he needs is someone to believe him. It is a completely different Quatermass than what we had seen previously, a man that was no longer quite the pillar of the community and one that now has to fight to get his opinions and calculations across.

Reprising his role in this second film would be Brian Donlevy and where he was able to bring all the bluster he could muster in the first film, here he had to tone it down a bit. As Quatermass was no longer a man in charge, at least until the very last act of the film, he was a little more pathetic and even a little more sympathetic in nature as well. The first film saw him as highly unlikeable and here, having fallen from grace, you were able to empathize a little more with the man, even sometimes feel a little sorry for him. Quatermass 2 26While there was some obvious behind the scenes drama with Donlevy, or so the story goes, the final product shows none of that, with Donlevy turning in a performance just as good as he had done in the previous picture.

Just as Donlevy had returned to the film, so had director Val Guest and he would be both behind the camera and aiding in the writing of the script. This time around, creator Nigel Kneale was the main writer on the film with Guest coming in after to make a few edits. While the story was interesting overall and a lot of fun to watch when all was said and done, a lot of the dialogue was quite stilted, especially when it came to Donlevy’s lines. Quatermass 2 23Whether they were heavily edited during certain scenes or simply terribly written, there were parts of the film that were hard to watch because of it. Perhaps part of it could be blamed on Donlevy and his performance, but the rest of the film was fine so it is hard to say who truly was at fault on this. It did not necessarily lessen the film’s impact, but it would have been a much better picture if the script had been a little more polished.

One good thing about this picture is that while it was fairly creepy and suspenseful for the most part, by the end of the film it degenerated into a full-blown monster movie which at that point, separated it completely from the last film and was frankly, quite unexpected. The conclusion was exciting to watch because there was a questionable air about it, not knowing if our heroes would save the day as three giant creatures were ready to let loose destruction upon the world. Sure, it might have looked fairly silly as the special effects were not as great as they could have been, but that little surge of adrenaline you got when those monsters broke free of their prisons was fantastic. So while the film might have had a few faults here and there, Quatermass 2 turned out to be a pretty good foray into the realms of horror and science-fiction.

3.5 out of 5
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