Tuesday, July 30, 2019

QUATERMASS AND THE PIT (1967) Blu-ray Review

Quatermass and the Pit (aka Five Million Years to Earth) (1967) d. Roy Ward Baker (UK) (97 min)

While working on an extension of the London Underground in Hobbs End, a construction crew comes upon fossil evidence of humanoid creatures. Anthropologists Dr. Roney (James Donald) and Barbara Judd (Barbara Shelley), as well as reluctant associates Professor Quatermass (Andrew Keir) and Col. Breen (Julian Glover), are brought in to investigate and speculate. Subsequent diggings unearth a mysterious vessel with an impenetrable surface; to everyone’s surprise, the spaceship (as it is eventually believed to be) begins to emit devastating sonic vibrations, resulting in mass violence among the neighboring London inhabitants.

This seminal Hammer sci-fi effort marked their third feature film featuring the brilliant and irascible Professor Quatermass, 10 years after we last saw him on screen in Quatermass II. Originally adapted by Nigel Kneale for the BBC (as were the previous installments) in 1958, the result is an dark and chewy story with well-articulated concepts about man’s origins and our compulsion to destroy our own kind, although one could argue that things almost get too heady for their own good at times.

Despite some of the effects being less than stellar (our extra-terrestrial creatures resemble overgrown plastic grasshopper toys, though this handicap is masked relatively well by displaying them on fuzzy television monitors) and the teeming manic hordes could have used some filling out, the sturdy and capable acting by the four leads conveys sharp intelligence and determination, with the scenes of mass panic and destruction appropriately disturbing.


NEW Audio commentary with film historian Bruce G. Hallenbeck

NEW Audio commentary with filmmaker Constantine Nasr and author/film historian Steve Haberman

Audio commentary with director Roy Ward Baker and writer Nigel Kneale

NEW Interview with actor Hugh Futcher (7 min)

NEW Interview with Academy Award-winning special effects artist Brian Johnson (5 min)

NEW Interview with Trevor Coop ( 9 min)

NEW Interview with focus puller Bob Jordan (2 min)

Interview with author Judith Kerr (18 min)

Interview with actor Julian Glover (30 min)

Interview with actor/writer Mark Gatiss (20 min)

Interview with filmmaker Joe Dante (12 min)

Interview with author/film historian Kim Newman (30 min)

Interview with author/Hammer film historian Marcus Hearn (13 min)

World of Hammer – “Sci-Fi” (25 min)

Theatrical Trailers

TV Spots

Alternate U.S. Credits

Still Gallery

Quatermass and the Pit is available now on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory and can be ordered HERE:




  1. This one genuinely creeped me out when I first saw it, and it remains my personal favourite of the Quatermass tales.

    1. I think it's definitely the most intellectually terrifying of the bunch, with some deeply disturbing ideas that stick to your gray matter and keep you up at night. I also like the fact that it really is an ensemble type piece, where the four leads drive the narrative equally as opposed to it just being Quatermass' show.