“I’m going to kick your head in if you don’t get it down! That’s what I’m going to do!” A kick in the head turns out to be an effective management technique for Sgt. Grimsdyke. Join this episode’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Whitney Collazo, Daphne Monary-Ernsdorff, and Jeff Mohr – as they discover all the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns of Hammer’s X the Unknown (1956).
Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 149 – X the Unknown (1956)
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A radioactive, mud-like creature terrorizes a Scottish village.
- Directors: Leslie Norman, Joseph Losey (uncredited)
- Writer: Jimmy Sangster (story) (screenplay)
- Music by: James Bernard
- Special Effects: Bowie Margutti Ltd. (Les Bowie, Vic Margutti), Jack Curtis
- Make-up and Special Make-up Effects: Philip Leakey
- Production Manager: Jimmy Sangster
- Selected Cast:
- Dean Jagger as Dr. Adam Royston
- Leo McKern as “Mac” McGill
- Edward Chapman as John Elliott
- William Lucas as Peter Elliott
- Peter Hammond as Lieutenant Bannerman
- Anthony Newley as Lance Corporal “Spider” Webb
- Ian MacNaughton as Haggis
- Michael Ripper as Sergeant Harry Grimsdyke
- Michael Brooke as Willie Harding
- Frazer Hines as Ian Osborne
- Norman MacOwan as Old Tom
- John Harvey as Major Cartwright
- Edwin Richfield as Soldier Burned on Back
- Jane Aird as Vi Harding
- Neil Hallett as Unwin
- Kenneth Cope as Private Lansing
- Jameson Clark as Jack Harding
- Marianne Brauns as Zena, the Nurse
- Brown Derby as The Vicar
- Anthony Sagar as Security Man (uncredited)
It’s time to explore early Hammer Sci-fi films with X the Unknown (1956). The film is part of a trilogy of Cold War sci-fi features along with The Quatermass Xperiment (1955, aka The Creeping Unknown) and Quatermass 2 (1957, aka Enemy From Space) that firmly transitioned Hammer from B-movie thrillers to solid horror/sci-fi excellence. The only thing missing is Bernard Quatermass himself, but not without Hammer trying – writer Nigel Kneale would not agree to the use of the character in this film. Regardless, X the Unknown is notable and well worth the watch. Hammer fans will appreciate an early appearance of fan-favorite character actor Michael Ripper as Sergeant Grimsdyke. Let’s see what the Grue-Crew make of directors Leslie Norman’s and Joseph Losey’s, and writer Jimmy Sangster’s black-and-white creepy classic.
With this episode, The Classic Era Grue-Crew say adiós a nuestra querida amiga to Whitney Collazo. She has more opportunities than time to pursue them and will be stepping away from her podcast hosting duties. Whitney has participated in over 100 episodes of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era. Grue Believers and Grue-Crew alike will sorely miss her insightful comments, her unique movie choices, and her loving persona. We love you without reservation, Whitney. You will always be welcome here! And if you find a movie you’d like to discuss with us or have a movie you’d like to hear us discuss, just give us a shout-out. Buena suerte, mi querido amigo!
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era records a new episode every two weeks. Up next in their very flexible schedule, the Classic Era Grue-Crew wanted a fitting topic for their 150th episode. They decided on a film often considered one of the best horror films of all time, Rosemary’s Baby (1968), written and directed by Roman Polanski, based on the book by Ira Levin, starring Mia Farrow who is supported by an Oscar-winning performance from Ruth Gordon. You won’t want to miss this one! There is lots of “stuff” to discuss.
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