Friday, 21 February 2020

Episode 11 – Quatermass and the Pit AKA Five Million Years to Earth (1967)

This episode of BERGCAST, recorded last September, is a landmark for us, partly because we got to talk to Hammer Archivist and Doctor Who Magazine editor Marcus Hearn, partly because it was recorded in the HQ of the British Film Institute, but, for me, mainly because it is the first one we got to do where I was actually present in the room.

It had been a good week, all told. I was passing through London on my way back from having guested at Portugal's marvellous MotelX horror festival, where I got to judge the Méliès d'Argent Portuguese short film horror contest and interview Hereditary/Midsommar director Ari Aster on the stage of Lisbon's beautiful Cinema São Jorge. I spent a magical afternoon napping on the grass with a dear friend in Hyde Park, before heading up to Stephen Street for a stimulating discussion on the history of the Hammer Quatermass and the Pit (AKA Five Million Years to Earth), which is probably the version of Quatermass that more people have seen than any other.
Over the course of the next hour and a bit, Marcus enlightened us on why it took so long to make a third Quatermass (but why they kept trying), and who else could have played our pal Bernard.

We touch on the awkward relationship that Quatermass has with the sex/colour/blood aesthetic of Hammer Horror and Babs Windsor's bra.

We hear a tale of two Roy Bakers, and muse on whether the only things violated in this movie are trade descriptions.
And we talk about the legacy of this film, and how the juxtaposition of the prosaic and the uncanny lend it its curious power.

We're taking a break for a month or so now, as we get our Martians in a line for BERGCAST Season Two, where we'll be meeting a whole new set of guests, and going to the Quatermass Conclusion... and beyond.

Due credit: we owe a big vote of thanks to ourlovely engineer Emma, Andrea Kinnear, Toby Hadoke and Sarah Reuben of the BFI, and also, although I don't mention it in the outro (sorry), Kier-La Janisse of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, without any of whom, as the saying goes, this would not have happened.

Listen here, at the BERGCAST site, or download from your favourite podcast outlets. 

Friday, 24 January 2020

Episode 10 - Quatermass and the Pit (1958) - Part Two

This is the second part of our descent into the Pit, and again we're honoured to be joined by prolific writer Maura McHugh.

Along with our discussion of what may be Nigel Kneale's finest moment, we look at MONSTERS FROM THE ID, the Nazi rocket scientist no one wanted, great character surnames, the entire absence of a philosophical leviathan, and HP Lovecraft's debt to bad archaeology.

Listen here, at the BERGCAST site, or download from your favourite podcast outlets.

Friday, 13 December 2019

Episode 9 – Quatermass and the Pit (1958) – Part One

Today, the BERGCAST team finally heads for the only place really left to go: the Pit, source of terror, hauntings and that awful social Darwinist impulse that drives the people to suicidal mass action, which isn't remotely topical. In our exploration of 1958's original version of Quatermass and the Pit, we're joined by our guest, horror and fantasy novelist, playwright and Squaxx dek Thargo, the brilliant Maura McHugh.

The sky. The sky is purple.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Episode 8 – Quatermass 2 (1957) - Part Two


This episode sees the conclusion of Jon and guest James Goss's look at Hammer's Quatermass 2

In a wide-ranging discussion that encompasses everything from Alan Plater to Flesh Gordon, they witnesses the trauma of Sid James being shot in the face (apparently), admire the inventive use of filler text and investigate if this really is the first use of the suffix '2' in a film title. James also tells us about interviewing Nigel Kneale for his student magazine... 
But what we want to know is, is this really Nicholas Courtney? 
Listen to BERGCAST below, via all the usual podcast venues, or the BERGCAST site.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Episode 7 – Quatermass 2 (1957) - Part One

Donlevy's back! This episode sees the first of a two-part chat between Jon and producer and writer James Goss as we look at how he first discovered Quatermass and a slightly wider discussion on Nigel Kneale's influence on Doctor Who (including an interesting conspiracy theory concerning The Invisible Enemy), before we make the two-hour trip from London to Carlisle, via
Hemel Hempstead, to begin our look at Hammer's Quatermass 2 and wonder what Donlevy's Quatermass must be like at the Rocket Group's Christmas Party.

On the way we'll look at how conspiracies must seem efficient, and the terror of charm and the fear of Communist colonisation. Oh, and what actually is Broadhead's first name anyway?

Jon also gives a shameless plug to the BFI's Projecting the Archive strand, and in case you were wondering, the name of the actor James was so impressed with is John Van Eyssen, probably best know for playing Jonathan Harker in Hammer's first Dracula film, in 1958.
Listen here, at the BERGCAST site, or on iTunes.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Episode 6 – X the Unknown (1956)


In this episode, Jon and Howard are joined by writer and actor Gareth Preston, as they examine Hammer's attempt to do Quatermass without Nigel Kneale, in Jimmy Sangster's attempt at his very own Royston and the Pit...

On the way we look at how the portrayal of radiation in films might depend on which side of the atomic bomb you were at the end of World War II. We examine whether Royston just spends the entire film trying to kill his boss's son, and we witness what might be the birth of Fraser Hines's ego.

All that plus the horrific deaths of the writer of the theme song to Goldfinger and the producer of Month Python.


Well, quite.

As ever, listen here, at iTunes or at the BERGCAST Podbean site.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Episode 5 - Quatermass II (1955) - Part Two

For the second part of our look at Quatermass II, we are once again with Andy Murray, writer of Into the Unknown: The Fantastic Life of Nigel Kneale, which you can purchase here

There's some dark stuff in the later episodes of Quatermass II, so we have to warn you that BERGCAST is not for children or persons of a nervous disposition.