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Hammer Bits Part 2

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Posted 22nd April 2009 at 01:53 PM by Sam@Cult Labs

Quatermass and the Pit

Hammer produced an excellent cinematic re-spin of the groundbreaking TV Sci-Fi with this late 60s offering. It's packed with suspense and intelligent writing despite the obvious age of the movie, especially in the special effects department. Anyone seeking out this film will probably be prepared to overlook any creakiness caused by it's elderly status and will hopefully be able to throw themselves right into this spirited and pacy alien romp.

When space beings invaded our world millennia ago they left behind a spiteful little gift for the human race in the form of a missile-like pod containing an evil locust being with a devilish look about it. The fiendish cargo is uncovered by workers excavating an underground station in London and the eminent Professor Quatermass is soon on hand to try and fathom the mystery of the bizarre creature and it's otherworldly container. The professor works out that the aliens altered our ape ancestors, planting an innate, dormant evil in us, which will soon be unleashed, bringing chaos and destruction.

The plot moves quickly and compensates for the ropey looking grasshopper thing which is a mite distracting and the overriding idea of the film, that we are the product of alien interference, is truly chilling.

This is among the best of the Hammer Studio's output.

Rasputin the Mad Monk

A Hammer studios oddity that carries on their short run of historical horror (see Countess Dracula) as Christopher Lee stars as the infamous Russian mad monk. Outwardly pious, Rasputian is a beast of a man who uses the power of hypnotism and a gift for healing to ensnare and manipulate the Czar and his royal family in order to exercise his evil control over the entire country. His political enemies meanwhile plot to bring about his demise in as nasty a fashion as possible. Lee shines as the twisted holy man and, although this is more of a costumed potboiler than a horror movie in the classic sense, there's enough visceral nastiness to keep the traditional Hammer audience happy.

One Million Years B.C.

100% entertainment now from one of Hammer's better efforts outside the horror genre. This is one of those fantastically mixed up caveman movies where men fight dinosaurs in an evolutionarily implausible fashion.

Poor old Tumak, he's been booted out of the rock tribe for arguing with his dad, Akhoba, the chieftain. He wanders blindly through the wilderness until he stumbles upon some female members of the Shell tribe frolicking on the beach in some rather well fashioned prehistoric bikinis. Loana, the daughter of the tribe leader, nurses him back to health causing her boyfriend to get jealous. A fight ensues and Tumak is out on his ear again. Loana joins him and together they travel back to the rock people. On their arrival, Loana tries to civilize the brutish tribe and Tumak becomes the new leader. But plots to overthrow him brew almost immediately...

Starring Raquel Welch as the cave girl, this film gave cinema an iconic image when a poster of her in a furry cave-bikini was used to promote the movie. It's an over the top adventure romp with a lot of grunted non-dialogue and spectacular if dated special effects.
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