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back to article Mars, bringer of WAR: Quatermass and the Pit

“When I wrote the Quatermass stories, I couldn’t help drawing on the forces and the fears that affected people in the 1950s,” wrote Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale in 1996. His inspiration for Professor Bernard Quatermass’ third appearance on television had been the Notting Hill race riots that struck the London suburb during …

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Scary

I was 16 when I saw The Pit on TV and despite being a mascho teenager it frightened the crap out of me.

Apart from the scary action sequences (i.e when the dead martians fell to pieces) it was the whole concept of the human race as having a "race memory" peopled with hideous fears and drives. The story might be fiction but I could see how beneath our civilised "skin" we might all have the seathing horror of the primative and animalistic lurking in our brains. That's what really scared me.

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Re: Scary

"...beneath our civilised "skin" we might all have the seathing horror of the primative and animalistic lurking in our brains."

Jeremy Kyle's show has that effect on me now.

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Re: Scary

I was only 11 when this came out. Talk about hiding behind the sofa! My only consolation was that my 13yo brother got there first. Later, we seemed to have a tacit agreement to never mention it no matter how angry we got with each other.

I can still clearly remember the really scary bits with a delicious shiver!

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Pint

Re: Scary @Will Godfrey

"Later, we seemed to have a tacit agreement to never mention it no matter how angry we got with each other"

Well you've let the cat out of the bag now!

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Heresy I know...

But I prefer the Hammer film.

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Great TV, great film

I was too young to see the original TV broadcast - not sure we even had a TV back then - but the film was, I think, the first "X" rated movie I saw ... accompanied by an understanding father who actually bought the tickets.

The film was, I thought, excellent and when I finally caught up with the serial I was surprised to see how close the two were. The film was almost an edited and coloured version of the serial. The film makers had resisted the temptation to "improve" and it was all the better for that.

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great film

Have the Hammer film in my film 'collection' - quality Hammer film-making (they DID make some good ones!) must have good copy as it also still looks good on the TV

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Let us not forget the Quatermas-inspired Hancock and the Pit.

Sid James; "Listen, anything that comes out of that hole will get a punch right up the bracket."

Hancock; "Has it occurred to you that these creatures may not have a bracket to be punched up?"

Great stuff!

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Don't forget the Goon version...

'The Scarlet Capsule.

Starts (Andrew Timothy, father of vet actor Christopher):

"This is the terror-stricken service of the BBC. Today at approximately this afternoon, a discovery was made on the site of the Notting Hill Gate site of the government’s new dig-up-the-roads-plan-for-congesting-traffic scheme. Workmen in the absence of a strike settled for work as an alternative. It was during this brief lull in high-powered inertia that Morris Onions, a scaffolder’s knee-wrencher, stumbled across something he’d found. Ding-dong-billy-bong! I would like it known that though I read this stuff, I don’t write it. Ftang!"

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This character should be resurrected if for no other reason than the name "Quatermass" is so awesome.

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Coat

"rather phallic Martian pod"

Yes, like a cross between a Dalek and a dildo.

There's an unnerving thought...

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Joke

Re: "rather phallic Martian pod"

EJACULATE! EJACULATE!

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Happy

Re: "rather phallic Martian pod"

Meh! Why do people see sex everywhere? I'm betting you'd even see a penis as being phallic!

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: "rather phallic Martian pod"

You almost owed me 3 monitors and repaint of a wall as well.

Brilliant!

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Thanks El Reg

As an American, I would have never heard of Quartermass, and it's absolutely fascinating.

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DJV
Happy

Re: Thanks El Reg

Maybe so, but have you heard of Quatermass?

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FAIL

Not taped but transmitted live

well according to the team that did the restoration for the DVD release:

http://www.purpleville.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/rtwebsite/quatermass-article.htm

" All three serials were transmitted live from BBC studios in London, using the 405-line television system"

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With all the religious tension going on today and talk about going to Mars. Maybe it's time for a modern remake. hint..

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Anonymous Coward

A modern remake like they did with Edge of Darkness?

Or a proper one?

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Bronze badge

See John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness, which is so much based on this that I hope Kneale got royalties.

It would also have made the basis of a much better final series of Being Human than the embarrassment of the final episode did.

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Childcatcher

Quality

To me the TV version of the "Pit" was superior to the film which lost out particularly because it was over lit and the colour production removed the malevolent air of the piece. It was a fabulous creation of the time and I do not think that any recreation could scare the audience half as well as the original.

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I remember the movie...

Five Million Years to Earth. Scared the daylights out of me as a kid when I saw it on TV. I think of it as one of the classics of SciFi films. Growing up in the States I never knew about the Quatermass series until i saw these articles.

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