While digging an extension in the London underground, workers come across skeletal remains. Construction is halted and paleontologist Dr. Matthew Roney's team take over. They soon find a metal object that they initially think might be a bomb but turns out to be an alien spacecraft of some kind. Roney's assistant Barbara Judd and Professor Bernard Quatermass, a rocket specialist who does experimental work for the Ministry of Defence, discover that much of the housing around the site was abandoned by its inhabitants 40 years ago because of strange noises and what was believed to be ghosts. Inside the spacecraft they find the remnants of insect-like creatures, all now dead. In disturbing the craft however, they release an invisible force of immense power.