I treated myself to a 1950s Hammer B-movie yesterday: X… the Unknown.
It kills… but cannot be killed! It rises from 2000 miles beneath the earth to melt everything in its path.. machine gun bullets, flame throwers… nothing can stop it!
Sounds fabulously terrifying eh? Happily I can report that it wasn’t very terrifying at all, which is about right for me. I’m a total chicken when it comes to properly scary horror films. Thinking about those twins in The Shining still brings me out in a cold sweat!
So this was the idea movie for me. If you can get past the endless scratchy violin sound effects and terrible Scottish accents it’s a nice little movie.
The plot basically centers around a scientist who battles a thing from the bowels of the earth which is made from pure energy and which eats radiation, killing everything in its path on the way. I expected the special effects to be pretty dire, but Hammer had set their sights quite low and sensibly shot most of the frightening bits by looking at people’s reactions or building suspense (always aided by more scratchy violins).
When you do see the ‘monster’ itself it’s pretty good – just a rolling mass of gloop which looks pretty realistic. I thought they did a good job on such a limited budget. If only someone had shot the person playing the violin in the first scene it would have been a much better movie. You wouldn’t want to watch it more than once but it was a good enough way to spend an hour of your time!
Take a look and let me know what you think!
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