directors Leslie Norman, Joseph Losey
Two years before The Blob fell to earth and started absorbing everything in sight, the Brits battled their own miasma in X the Unknown. The British monster amoeba doesn’t get a lot of screen time, it’s effects not quite as stunning as in its American cousin. It emanates from inside the Earth, the result of quakes that create vast fissures deep into the planet’s crust, allowing the “unknown” to escape and feed on radioactive materials.
Really, the film plays a lot of its cards to the vest, not unveiling the monster until the far end of the film, but unlike the amorphous mass, X the Unknown is rock solid 1950’s science fiction, full of Cold War fear melding with “the strange”.
The idea that the monster is a sentient being, perhaps of an order of existence that lost its physical form and disappeared into the hot core of the planet as the crust cooled, is just the wild side of speculative storytelling. That might prove interesting enough but affable American scientist Dead Jagger leads the team that solves the mystery of radiation burns and disappearing isotopes.
There are some grisly effects too, of flesh melting from bones, quite gruesome for the 1950’s. Hammer films’ science fiction output was not vast, but certainly delivered some interesting stuff.
I love this kind of stuff.