Blu-ray Review: QUATERMASS AND THE PIT

QUATERMASS AND THE PIT (aka Five Million Years to Earth) was written by legendary screenwriter Nigel Kneale and stars Andrew Keir, James Donald, Barbara Shelley and Julian Glover. The film was directed by Roy Ward Baker and produced by Anthony Nelson Keys.

Hobbs End, Knightsbridge, London. While working on a new subway tunnel for the London Underground, a group of construction workers uncover a strangely shaped skull. Nearby, another discovery: a large, mysterious and impenetrable metal object. Initially mistaken for an unexploded bomb, the object and its strange power turn out to be far more horrific than anybody could have possibly imagined. Is it of this earth? Could it be the ancestral link to mankind’s evolution? Or could it be an ancient link to the unleashing of the ultimate evil? There’s only one man capable of unravelling the clues, and his name is Professor Bernard Quatermass, a man of science who thrives on the dark mysteries of the world.

This 1967 sci-fi thriller once again follows Professor Bernard Quatermass, this time played by Andrew Keir, who joins his friend Dr. Roney and a few others on this unearthing of what appears to be ancient aliens close in the London Underground. The expedition also uncovers the remains of human ancestors dating back five million years. At the center of this find is a metal object that ends up being a ship from outer space and once this object comes in contact with some of the crew strange things begin to happen. This ship has a psychokinesis power, and with each victim it draws in, it becomes even more powerful.

What happens is, Quatermass comes up with his own theory as to what happened to the aliens and why their ship and these artifacts were buried in the first place. What he doesn’t know is that the strange things happening are linked to the alien ship and the destructive power it possesses but it doesn’t take long for him to realize its all connected. Disasters begin spreading all over the place with mass hysteria and chaos setting in. As the alien spacecraft morphs into this weird looking floating head that towers in the sky, Roney comes up with a plan to try and stop it before things get any worse and it ultimately works but not without sacrifice.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork and movie credits so you have your choice of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Quatermass and the Pit ended up being another first time watch for me and I have to admit that I enjoyed this third entry in the franchise a little better than Quatermass 2 which is also being released by Scream Factory. I’ve never even seen The Quatermass Xperiment or the distant fourth and final entry, The Quatermass Conclusion, but this was a great start. This sci-fi sequel is much different than its predecessor because its much darker and even features some impressive special effects for its time. I may be alone here but I also liked the actor who took over the role as Quatermass. The character wasn’t as arrogant and intrusive as he was in the previous movie which allowed me like him much more. There was never a dull moment in this suspense-filled sci-fi thriller that was directed by Roy Ward Baker who did a fantastic job telling the story and bringing it to life on screen. This Scream Factory release is also pretty fantastic because the movie’s presentation is near perfecto plus there’s lots of extras. Quatermass and the Pit will be available on Blu-ray on July 30th.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 97 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition (1.66:1) Color

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 20 Mono

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The impressive list of extras include two new audio commentary tracks and four new interviews with some of the cast and crew. There’s also six vintage interviews, audio commentary, a classic World of Hammer episode, a couple of theatrical trailers, two TV spots, alternate U.S. credits and a still gallery.

  • NEW audio commentary with film historian Bruce G. Hallenbeck
  • NEW audio commentary with filmmaker Constantine Nasr and author/film historian Steve Haberman
  • NEW interview with actor Hugh Futcher (06:40)
  • NEW interview with Academy Award-winning special effects artist Brian Johnson (Alien) (05:10)
  • NEW interview with clapper loader Trevor Coop (08:26)
  • NEW interview with focus puller Bob Jordan (02:23)
  • Interview with author Judith Kerr (17:56)
  • Interview with actor Julian Glover (30:43)
  • Interview with actor/writer Mark Gatiss
  • Interview with filmmaker Joe Dante (11:34)
  • Interview with author/film historian Kim Newman (30:47)
  • Interview with author/Hammer Film historian Marcus Hearn (12:56)
  • Audio Commentary with director Roy Ward Baker and writer Nigel Kneale
  • World of Hammer – Sci-Fi (25:39)
  • Theatrical Trailers (05:10)
  • TV Spots (01:25)
  • Alternate U.S. Credits (00:27)
  • Still Gallery (05:49)
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