Hammer’s first big hit was this movie adaptation of a British television show, The Quatermass Experiment. Written by Nigel Kneale (The Abominable Snowman), it was the first of three Quatermass movies.
Titled The Creeping Unknown in the United States, The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) follows a rocket crash into the English countryside. Professor Bernard Quatermass (Brian Donlevy) invented the rocket and is first on the scene of the crash. Only Carroon (Richard Wordsworth) has survived and all he can say is “help me”. As Quatermass tries to figure out what has happened, Carroon’s wife tries to bust him out of the hospital that they are keeping him quarantined in. While in space Carroon and the rest of the crew had come into contact with something and it has changed him. He now absorbs anything he touches, plants and people mostly. Naturally his appearance changes with each absorption and it’s up to Quatermass to save the Earth.
The film was an adaptation of a British serial television show and to make it profitable around the globe an American was cast as Quatermass much to the dismay of the series creator. After the success of the film, Hammer was eager to make a sequel. They approached creator Nigel Kneale with plot all ready to shoot but he declined to make the sequel that Hammer had lined up so X the Unknown was made with the character’s names changed. Kneale would eventual make a sequel for the TV show and Hammer was there to snap up the film rights. Donlevy would play Quatermass in the sequel Quatermass 2 aka Enemy From Space but by the time Hammer made the third movie, Andrew Keir had replaced Donlevy. Still The Quatermass Xperiment was the begining for Hammer’s reign of horror.