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The Creeping Unknown (1955), the first of Hammer Films’ Quatermass science-fiction series, begins with a rocket crash-landing just outside of London. “Every experiment is a gamble,” snarls the ship’s owner, Professor Quatermass (Brian Donlevy as the anti-Doctor Who), in justification. “The unknown is always a risk.” Three astronauts were aboard Quatermass’ rocket when it took off, but only one, the catatonic Victor Carroon, is inside when it crashes. While Quatermass and Scotland Yard investigate the mysterious disappearances, Carroon—infected with some kind of space fungus—escapes their custody and starts changing into an enormous, tentacled, oozing thing, a creature “with the ability to destroy…and possess…and multiply,” a creature with (what else?) world domination on its agenda. Hammer made other Quatermass films, all good, but The Creeping Unknown—thanks to Donlevy’s terse, righteous performance as Quatermass and Val Guest’s assured direction—is the best of the lot. Screened with Quatermass and the Pit: “Imps and Demons” at 7 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. For reservations call (202) 707-5677. (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa)