31-days-of-hammerEven though the first two Quatermass movies were big hits for Hammer, they wouldn’t adapt Nigel Kneale’s third Quatermass TV serial until 1967 almost 10 years after the serial was televised.

It took a while for the production to get going but this time Nigel Kneale got his wish and Quatermass was recast. Andrew Keir stepped into the good professor’s shoes.

Quatermass and the pitConstruction of the London Underground has been going good until workers dig up some remains under an area known as Hobbs End. Scientists (James Donald and Barbara Shelley) are called in and discover that the bones are that of ape men millions of years older than the current oldest find. Further digging uncovers a strange metal object that is quickly suspected of being and unexploded German bomb. Meanwhile Quatermass is disappointed that the military is taking over his moon colonization project and when the military are called into investigate the find, Quatermass tags along.

Colonel Breen (Julian Glover) is convinced that the device is an old bomb, Quatermass doesn’t. Quatermass researches the area and finds many mysterious reports of ghosts and devils. Attempts to drill into the device fail until the device just suddenly opens up revealing ancient deceased aliens that kind of look a lot like the devil. Quatermass believes the dead aliens are ancient Martians that came to Earth millions of years ago and altered the apes into what would eventually become mankind. He also believes that the Martians had mind control powers that are still part of the metal ship. Colonel Breen doesn’t believe Quatermass’ theories and soon disaster strikes.

Retitled Five Million Years to Earth for the U.S. release, this an is a step up from the last Quatermass movie and Keir is excellent as the good professor. The film was moderate success for Hammer who by now was into full swing making a steady stream of horror movies at the time. Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale was also finally happy with the final result, he wrote the script and he like Keir as Quatermass too. Kneale went to work on another Quatermass story for Hammer but that never happened, instead his story ended up becoming another TV movie in the late 1970s after Hammer ceased making theatrical movies.