Deep in the English countryside, firemen, police and reporters surround the rocket. Panicking about how to get the crew free, they enlist its creator, Quatermass to advise. They drop the pressure inside the ship and the doors open like something out of an early Star Trek. But to everyone's surprise, only one crew member, Victor is in there. Like a soldier returning home from war he seems shell shocked and can barely string a sentence together. They have to rely on the video tape from the ship's black box to explain where the other men have gone. This found footage element is way ahead of its time. The slow motion movements of the men, due to the zero gravity, make it all the more sinister. It's fascinating to watch them overwhelmed by an unseen entity when an alien presence enters the ship, much like a poltergeist enters a living room.
In the days that follow, Victor suffers some unusual and gruesome physical changes. His skin becomes swollen and shiny and his skull seems to be mutating. When his wife sees that he seems to have a cactus attached to his hand (don't ask) her wailing gets so loud it's no longer audible. Much like the wife in The Fly, she looks at her husband adoringly until she sees his new form and can't get rid soon enough. Fair enough, I mean it's one thing your other half letting themselves go a bit but quite another when they develop a cactus for a hand and go around sucking the life out of everyone.
It ends with the surprisingly beautiful scene of the monster being burned, viewed through a church window; less like flames and more like sparklers on Guy Fawkes night. Although I think that was more by accident than design, it provides some much needed light in the black and white film. The confusion, the panic and the horror is intense and palpable and you really get a feel that they're terrified because they don't know what they're getting themselves in to. Obviously much experience gained from that time giving it a real wartime atmosphere. The horror is like a new contagious disease or chemical warfare, when you don't know how is it transferred, if it will kill you or who you can trust.