Saturday Matinee: Quatermass

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“Quatermass” (1979) (aka “The Quatermass Conclusion” and “Quatermass IV” is the fourth and final production written by Nigel Kneale featuring the character of Bernard Quatermass, a British space program scientist who seems to encounter extraterrestrial life forms on a regular basis.

In this last chapter of his story, Quatermass is struggling as a grandfather in post-collapse London desperately searching for his missing granddaughter. At the same time, he investigates an unusual signal from space and a cult-like nomadic community of young people traveling to various neolithic sites. Quatermass ultimately connects the various plot lines into a seemingly logical narrative, but the story is made more interesting if interpreted as a once-brilliant man’s descent into madness as he attempts to make sense of a decaying and chaotic society, inexplicable cosmic events, the loss of his relationship with his granddaughter and a vast generation gap. Though the film is stylistically dated and obviously low budget, it’s worth watching for its intelligent but deeply pessimistic screenplay and parallels with other dystopian visions.

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