Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Forms of Things Unknown

Production Order #24
Broadcast Order #32
Original Airdate: 5/4/64
Starring Vera Miles, Barbara Rush, David McCallum.
Written by Joseph Stefano.
Directed by Gerd Oswald.

Sick of his domineering and abusing ways, Kasha (Miles) and Leonora (Rush) poison Andre (Scott Marlowe) and dump his body in the trunk of their sports car. Looking for a place to bury the body, they stumble onto the house of a strange blind man (Sir Cedric Hardwicke) and his even stranger housemate Tone (McCallum). Tone is experimenting with ways to bring the dead back to life... and having a bit of success as the girls soon find out.

PE: Answers the question; what if Shakespeare had lived to write an Outer Limits? I'm not even going to pretend to know what the hell is going on this episode. It looks good, that's a plus. It's got a killer cast, a big plus. It's too long and plodding. Minus. The dialogue is too pretentious. A big minus. Back at square one.

JS: As detailed in today's excerpt of The Outer Limits Companion, there are two versions of this episode—the OL version and the pilot version of The Unknown. Oddly enough, in the gothic version,  Andre didn't really die from poisoning. And that's the main reason I prefer the OL version.

PE: "Forms" has a first act sure to grab you. Very reminiscent of 1960s independent cinema (and including, of course, a heaping helping of Diabolique). The kiss. The freeze. The kinky three-way (well, it's not shown but shore is implied!). Andre's trek into the lake. (and it looks like Robert Plant took lessons from Scott Marlowe on how to pack his pants). The plan. The execution. It's all very effective. Too bad the story soon goes off the rails. Despite the story problems and its roll-your-eyes dialogue, this had enough good bits and shots to warrant a thumbs-up. Kasha and Leonora, icy breath and all, arguing in the rain. All those snazzy camera moves. One of Frontiere's finest scores. And what's the business with the traveling coffin?

JS: I'm sure it means something—I'll let the experts expound on that. I accept it as yet another one of this episode's interesting visual touches. Like the transition from the flower thrown by the gravedigger to the raindrop hitting the windshield. And dare I say the coolest machine in the history of The Outer Limits? There's something about all those clocks and the spiderweb/harp that visually exceeds the need for it to make any practical sense.

PE: Even better than War of the Worlds sound effects, we get its narrator, Sir Cedric Hardwicke!

JS: That's Mr. Brink to you! While I like Hardwicke, I couldn't quite figure out what his purpose was in the episode.

PE: The European roads and hillsides look just like the ones in Southern California!

JS: Again, I'm willing to pitch such logic out the window and enjoy the (wild) ride.

PE: Vera Miles' performance as Kasha reminds me a lot of Olivia deHavilland's in Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (which didn't arrive in theaters until seven months after this episode was televised). She's strong and dangerous and she'll do whatever she needs to do to get what she's after. Her scene with the resurrected Andre is quirky, as if she's forgotten she murdered this guy just a few hours before.

JS: I'll go a step further. In addition to Miles' performance being the standout one in this episode, I'm convinced hers was the standout performance of the season. I thought she was dynamite in the role of Kasha. I particularly liked the way in which she casually cleaned the decanter in the lake after the poisoning, and how when she went to investigate the open trunk, she approached it with a smile on her face. There were numerous nice touches throughout her performance.

PE: Miles is top-notch but her co-star Barbara Rush almost seems to be sleepwalking at times. Her laid-back nonchalance (and that annoying way she runs with her hands upraised oh so primly) is the yin to David McCallum's ham yang. On loan from The Globe theater where he was performing a one-man show of A MidSummer Night's Dream, McCallum makes lines like "I imagine Hell will be glad to take you back. You're one of its own" with frightening sincerity but he's one goofy-looking fuck when he's loading that gun.

JS: I too wish Rush was on par with Miles, as this episode would have really benefited from a female pairing akin to "Bellero's" Kellerman and Rivera. And yes, McCallum had better material to work with in "The Sixth Finger" than he's got here, although he does sell eccentric with the best of them, Another favorite shot of mine is his introduction; the Dutch angle silhouette.

PE: As I've noted before, I don't pay too much to the soundtracks but this one really stands out. It has just the right jolts (and Psycho steals) to compliment the goings-on.

JS: While I generally agree with that assessment, I thought the final queue (post McCallum's disappearance), was inappropriately upbeat. I felt "The Unknown" did it better.

PE: WTF dialogue aplenty:
Andre: I have planes and boats and villas and jewels. All the cacophonies of which beggar boys groan with insecurity. I am rich. But I am noisy rich, Kasha. And I want to be quietly rich.
Kasha: You have to be heir to that, Andre. You can't be born in the sewers of a noisy world and grow up to be anything other than a noisy sewer-minded man.
Andre: You have pierced the heart of my psychic disorder.
Tone: So many loved people have died, Colus. In my time and before my time. And it seemed to me all those endings were untimely. I worried about what would become of all the love left over.
JS: This episode is definitely avant-garde, and while I enjoyed the visual style, the narrative left much to be desired. But it's hard to deny that Conrad Hall was at the top of his form (as any of today's screen captures will demonstrate). Just look how he got the sparkle in Kasha's eyes as they spot the string of lights  leading to Tone's lab (click on the image for a larger view).

PE: My opinions of a lot of the episodes we've looked at so far vary differently through eyes aged 40 some odd years. That's a positive and a negative. "Zanti" wasn't quite the classic I'd remembered, but "The Sixth Finger," an episode that had too much talk for my tastes when i was a youngster, really shone. When I was ten years old, "The Forms of Things Unknown" had me playing with my Legos within ten minutes. As an adult, it took me thirty minutes before I brought them out. In the end though, this is a perfect example of style over substance.



David J. Schow on "The Forms of Things Unknown":

From The Outer Limits Companion, Copyright © David J. Schow, 1986, 1998.  All Rights Reserved.  Used by permission and by special arrangement with the author.

For our Southern California fans, don't forget that next Friday, February 25 at 7:30PM the UCLA Film and Television Archive Presents a Free Admission double feature of:

(a.k.a. The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre)
(1965) Directed by Joseph Stefano

Martin Landau stars as a Los Angeles-based architect-cum-paranormal investigator who specializes in assessing and exorcising old homes. Stefano here weaves together vengeance, hallucinogens and a “bleeding ghost” in a gothic telefilm that was deemed too frightening to air by network executives. Stefano's only directorial effort, this extremely rare pilot never aired in the U.S.

Producer: Joseph Stefano. Screenplay: Joseph Stefano. Cinematographer: William A. Fraker, Conrad Hall. Editor: Anthony DiMarco. Cast: Martin Landau, Judith Anderson, Diane Baker, Nellie Burt, Tom Simcox. 16mm, b/w, 52 min.

(1964) Directed by Gerd Oswald

With nods to Psycho and Clouzot’s Diabolique, The Unknown unleashes sadism and madness when a wealthy playboy lures two unsuspecting women into a house of horrors. With its nightmarish tone and art-film cinematography, The Unknown pilot was considered too off-beat by ABC and was retooled as an episode of Outer Limits. The original pilot is being screened tonight from a rare 35mm print.
Producer: Joseph Stefano. Screenplay: Joseph Stefano. Cinematographer: Conrad Hall. Editor: Anthony DiMarco. Cast: Vera Miles, Barbara Rush, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Scott Marlowe, David McCallum. 35mm, B/W, 45 min.

IN PERSON: Marilyn Stefano and our own David J. Schow (author of "The Outer Limits Companion)"
Be sure to check back later today for Gary Gerani's Spotlight on "The Forms of Things Unknown."

Next Up...

David J. Schow on Joseph Stefano's The Haunted and Leslie Stevens' Incubus


  1. So far my favorite episode. What a great cast and it looks like the budget was bigger for this since it was a pilot episode. Too bad a series never made it past this stylish and excellent show. Too avant garde is right! At least for TV. I see Ingmar Bergman's influence also.

  2. Oh, my. What a pretentious mess. Here’s an episode that sacrifices story for style. Or, to sum it up in one word, it’s very … French. Somebody was channeling Diabolique through Luis Bunuel. It’s one remarkable hour of television, though. It looks fantastic. It’s directed like a feature. It probably has 2-3 times more edits than a typical episode. Lots of in-your-face close ups and Dutch angles. Conrad Hall was firing on all cylinders. But I can’t imagine how they ever thought this would sell as a pilot. It couldn’t be any less commercial or make any kind of narrative sense. There are so many jump moments with musical stings in between flat, overly serious statements that defy comprehension and just hang there like …

    The cast is fantastic, particularly Miles (oh, why couldn’t she not be pregnant to do Vertigo for Hitchcock?) but so much of what they’re given to do is inert. Except poor Barbara Rush, who is practically tortured throughout, in between having to scream and run in heels. Check the rain scenes out and you see both these esteemed actresses had to crawl in the mud or run through the woods in freezing rain, with frosty breaths. McCallum plays his character like a wide-eyed boyish imp, but it’s just going nowhere. We don’t even get a satisfactory back story. And then he’s just wiped away and the episode ends abruptly. I still can’t fathom what they were trying to accomplish with this. Stylistically, it can’t be touched. But who cares? There’s no one I’m rooting for and there’s no one who escapes an awkward moment. A noble experiment. Fail.

    Ironically, I liked this episode more as a kid than I did this time. The goose moments were good (trunks springing open with musical stings, etc.). It didn’t matter as much then that there wasn’t much going on in between.

  3. Got a Spotlight coming up on this, my favorite episode of OUTER LIMITS. It's Oswald, Hall and Frontiere at their most unrestrained and flamboyant, with Stefano having the time of his life. My soul photographed this ditty decades ago, and it's always a pleasure to revisit the mad, mad world of time-tilter Tone Hobart...

  4. This is the one I remember seeing as a kid with the most absolute crystal clarity. No episode affected me more, startled me, intrigued me, and got me to wondering. I remember right from the opening thinking I was seeing a dream. And it never relinquished that grip. It was several years later that I discovered the surrealists, but even then did not relate their tantalizing "strangeness" to the world of the subconscious, or further, to questioning the very nature of reality.

    The cryptic dialogue, the meta-science, the hallucinatory vision of it all--all seem to support a mad tale fueled by dream-logic.

    I think you're going to either go along on this crazy trip, or you're not. Personally, I like the ride, and this is always a top ten for me.

  5. I was just the opposite of Larry B. and more in line with Peter, in that as a kid, I didn't know what the hell was going on here and so didn't care much for it. Much different as an adult! Peter and John had many astute comments today. I especially agree with the form over substance analysis, and more on that in a second. I thought all the actors were terrific. I note that this is the same five-character setup that several of you commented on for Bellero Shield, and they all interlock pretty well. Barbara Rush was fine in what was probably the most thankless of the roles, the high-strung shrieker. Yes, Miles magnificent! And I appreciate that demented look in McCallum's eyes and his unnerving way of showing up in odd places (looking in the window, lying out on the ground in the rain RIGHT where blind Colas happens to be stumbling around looking for him). He DID come back from the dead after all--does that make him technically a zombie, though not decomposed? He's certainly not going to act normally, anyway.

    Watching this episode is very rewarding--stunning and imaginative lighting and camerawork, that erotic opening scene in the lake, the crazy time-tilter room at the end of the funhouse hallway, sharp and often startling edits, empathetic soundtrack, and the best frame compositions in the entire series. And yet, it's true--when you get to the end, there's not much there. What did it all mean? Was there a moral, or deep observation of human existence? I'm not sure. I tend to think of this episode as more like a complex, layered painting or richly orchestrated piece of classical music. You can really lose yourself in it--the viewing alone makes it worthwhile (and worth revisiting, again and again).

  6. A fascinating episode and a brilliant attempt by Stefano-Oswald-Hall, et al, to bring both literate theatricality and photographic gymnastics to the thriller genre.

    Not for everyone? No question. You either like to see an entertainment form occasionally push its component elements into "unknown" territory, or you prefer that it keep its grounding in conventional pop art. You're open to experimentation with your chosen film fare, or you're not.

    But if you like to see melodrama goosed to high levels of artistry, this is what you're hoping to point to for skeptics who say there's no such animal.

    For chiaroscuro camera work, layered dialogue and convincing unconventional characters, "Forms" is a fantasy that rises to at least minor art-house consideration. I hate using "classic." The word has been devalued by casual use to the withered levels of "great" and "awesome." But I'd call this one a classic short feature.

    Let's roll through some aspects that have haunted me since I first saw the film:

    We see composition and lighting tricks never used on TV. The intricate shadow-play. That two-shot of Tone and Colas in opposition---a dramatic device used often by Bergman that makes players seem like defiant gods. (Not to mention the very European "waking nightmare" of the incongruous funral scene.) There's a general sense of Oswald and Hall painting with blacks and whites and half-tones---a wonderful palette, not the absence of half the visual sense that b&w-phobes would have us believe.

    The dreamlike Frontiere themes, too powerful to not turn up again in future series.

    A marvelous ensemble cast, investing Joe Stefano's lush dialogue with deep resonance, playing their interesting roles with visible relish. Stefano told me in our TOLAIR interview, "David McCallum just broke my heart by simply taking the material and SOARING with it."

    The LES DIABOLIQUES-influenced female conspirators are so arresting to watch: Barbara Rush, with her dainty little "proper lady" gesture of crushing the Thanatos leaf with her toe, as one might stub a cigarette. Vera Miles' practical and direct, if inconstant, Kassia: "Nobody ever helps a gravedigger."

    "Kassia" was a Stefano favorite name. He would recycle it in his 1969 feature-film script for EYE OF THE CAT. Michael Sarrazin there tells Gayle Hunnicutt's "Kassia Lancaster" that her name "sounds like a cell door closing."

    Stefano's playful love of language is evident throughout, in the fitting quotes from A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (from which we get the citation of a "bear," if not an actual one in the episode); in his use of alliteration ("sleek sack of sin"); in lines that MUST be heard in context to make sense---a fascination of mine ("Why didn't you stay dead?"); grandiloquent language, eminently quotable whether or not it's your glass of poison ("...all the cacophonies with which beggar boys drown out the groan of insecurity").

    So much more...

  7. More musings about "Forms...

    There's a palpable experience of the outdoor ambience for the viewer in the women's steamy shivering. The incongruity with their looks and demeanor is striking.

    In some shots, the shadows themselves seem to perform, they're so much in evidence. Blocking those scenes must have been exhausting and exasperating.

    It's too bad the clown metaphor business, described by DJS in the COMPANION material, had to be excised. It would have made the clown references so much stronger, Rush's Leonora more complete as a tortured character.

    The "time-tilting" business was quite a fresh sf concept, probably born of Joe Stefano's impatient indifference to sf elements in his dramatic focus, but nonetheless an original "slant" on dealing with time-altering issues.

    "Mr. Hobart?...Mr. Hobart..." I like how this scene in the woods plays out. What unusual blocking, as Hardwicke's Colas stumbles over and is caught by the supine Tone, a wacky genius who simply lies pondering the perplexing evil cipher of a man like Andre.

    "Refill, please." You gotta love this malevolent, manipulative Rasputin of a playboy, essayed by the perennially cocky Scott Marlowe, TOL's all-time champ ladies' man (see "Woodwork")lustily radiates egocentric immorality. His mocking irresistibility to women is a character trait we've rarely seen exploited in series TV---and not all that much in film, either, in more enlightened times, except as a foil in rom-coms. His sadistic games rivet your attention: the "stiletto heels" scene; his faked relapse near the end, which really fooled me the first time I saw this---wait a minute, NOW where's this going?! In a classic episode, I'd be willing to concede to Andre Pavan the mantle of classic exemplar of cackling, passive-aggressive evil.

    Four Zantis and a Thanatos cocktail.

    "Such tricks hath strong imagination..."

  8. I remember this as a teen. Hardwicke was creepy as hell to me, Scott Marlowe sinister and dangerous, McCallum soft, vulnerable and lost. The first two had me on tenterhooks. The third captivated me.

    ...The whole thing gripped me from beginning to end...As it has over numerous viewings since. It's baroque richness in word and image, it's expressionistic cantering into Stefano's surreal dream world, leaving soft echoes of the outside world and it's sheer, galvanisingly constant, delirious audacity - rank in the very forefront of great works.

    Vera Miles is magnificent but so too is Barbara Rush, whose vulnerable tenderness contrasts with and allows for the hardness and determination of Miles to shine brighter. One without the other couldn't exist.

    TOL's own house style of relatively quiet noir anxiety is pushed aside for palpable fear, apprehension and hallucination.

    It's brooding Wellisian dazzle is suffused with the emerging European film aesthetics of the '60s, making many of it's fellow OL segments look positively, pictorially at least, quiet.

    It wants me to be disturbed with it's jump cuts, odd angles, zooms, chiaroscuro lighting effects, sound distortion, unnerving sound tracks, larger than life antagonists with odd relationships, not to mention lines readings that wouldn't work with lesser actors.
    It wants me to be disturbed and it succeeds.

    Form and content, perfectly fused, create a ferocious piece of beauty; artful and tasteful and yet jingling with personal concerns, darkness and light and sense impressions.

    Sheer, blissful surreal poetry.

    One Zanti...just joking!

    Four zantis, yet another top pantheon entry. About the tenth or so, so far.

    I do hope you guys do a 'Star Trek' - "Voyage a day". It would interesting to knock that off it's perch a mite.

  9. Ted, bravo review.

    Any chance of printing the Stefano interview? Please.

  10. Bobby J--- We'd have to run it by John and Peter, but I suppose we could eventually get it posted. It would have to be scanned from TOLAIR, as David Schow did with the Anthony Lawrence interview from the same issue. It features the same tiny type and is longer, at eight pages.

  11. Even though I'm not exactly sure what the term means, but "German expressionist," popped into my head after viewing this strange ep.

    Not one of my favorites, its still an impressive piece of work that kept shifting different images and other thoughts into my head. The scene with the gals and the Lothario in the lake looked like something out of Greek mythology. Two Nymphs poisoning Hermes perhaps?

    Then you've got the funeral procession on its way to another episode, along with the clock hangout that looks like someplace a Batman villain would hang out in. Even though I hated him in 'The Sixth Finger,' David McCallum does a bang-up job in this portraying a real weird-o. The same goes for Sir Cedric.

    I'm starting to catch on to the hidden sexual themes and taboos from that era, hidden underneath the crust of this ep. Those two are roommates???? Uh, yeah, sure they are.......

    3 Zantis

    UTW, typing away in some strangers house.

  12. As teenagers, my brother and had planned to do our own super-8 film version of Forms. My bro still has a super-8 Superman we filmed (inspired by Christopher Reeve and company), when we were 14 and 15. We had all the male characters figured out for Forms. I was lucky enough to be the David McCallum part, and a rather sarcastic, cynical friend was perfect for Andre. Alas, we couldn't find any girls who wanted to do the Kassia/Leonora parts (I guess it would have seemed a pretty nerdy for them!), so we never finished it. An amazing episode, full of so much detail, perhaps the best title of the series, and brimming with as much beauty as darkness.

  13. Re: The Haunted. My father worked at CBS when I was a kid and would often bring home 16mm prints of films to screen, sometimes to keep. One of those films was Stefano's "The Haunted". I saw the film many times and was consistently scared by it. Our house burned down when I was 18 and the film print was lost. I have been trying to find a copy of the film in any form ever since. Any info that would help in finding this film again would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Robert Lyons email: interface_arts@hotmail.com

  14. Like Gary Gerani and Larry Blamire, I have an extremely clear image of my first time seeing this, but in my case it's the murder scene alone. Speaking of "It looks like a feature film," since I stumbled on it late at night, I thought I WAS watching a movie. I took the scene very literally, and thought that Andre was actually directing his own murder with that ritual of being served the drink.

  15. The complaints about Barbara Rush's way of playing Leonora are interesting, because I've always wondered whether she was actually told to "play against type." What I mean is, even though I don't know her career incredibly well, as far as I know she's always played pretty tough characters. Look at those two or more comedies with Frank Sinatra - in each of those he seems to meet his match in her. So was she deliberately trying to change that image around by playing Leonora as such a scared character?

  16. 3 1/2 Zantis, I liked it better than most of you, its style over substance, but I thought it was outstanding. More than any other O.L., it resembles a Thriller episode. Actually it starts out like an Ingmar Bergman movie, I didn't get who those people were throwing flowers at the casket, but a great visual. Actually this episode has more great visuals than any other episode in the series. The room with the clocks are very well done, great cast, spooky score. One strange thing, there's realy no sympathetic character, which is contrary to most of my other favs of the first season (ZZZZZ, Architects of Fear, Chameleon, Man Who Was Never Born, etc.)

    1. I amend this. Hardwick is very sympathetic. As I remembered the cinematography is sensational - all kinds of bizarre angles, jarring juxtapositions etc. Good performances. It's abit undercooked- we don't really understand the boyfriend, what those letters from Miles father were about in detail, the method of bringing back the dead through time adjustments doesn't make a lot of sense, still a great episode. I don't know why Hall's work wasn't recognized by the Emmys. In those days Bonanza and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea were winning cinematography Emmys I think.

  17. I agree with Ted Rypel completely about Andre, and how entertaining he makes his whole attitude. I won't give it away in case someone here has never seen the whole thing, but Hobart's line about Andre's reaction to being "brought back" is one of the most QUOTABLE lines I've EVER heard in a weird story. And David McCallum gives it the kind of simple sound it really needs (as opposed to some of his other lines which I guess call for a big delivery).

    Even though the dialogue gets several complaints here, I can think of only one line I have a problem with, and even then it's only ONE WORD from it, and it's "My soul photographed it."
    I've always thought "soul" was a little too "purple" in that particular line, and a simpler word like "mind" would have worked better. And when it comes to the dialogue, that's about IT in my case!

    One of Vera Miles' best lines is her answer to Leonora's apologetic "I can't help you bury him."
    It's such a great "tough girl" kind of line.

  18. In spite of some comments about it, FORMS has plenty of DELIBERATE "L-OL" moments. One of my favorites is when the wind blows open the door of Tone's workshop, and he closes it with that little "peeved" look. It makes it look like he was interrupted while doing something so mundane, as opposed to what he WAS in the middle of doing.

  19. Ambitious and fascinating but I have problems because it's clear they have another agenda rather than just making a great Outer Limits episode. There are just too many non-OL touches about this show that alienate me. (e.g. no opening and closing narration, and the music score DF came up with for this episode). It's like Invasion of the Body Snatchers -- it may look like The Outer Limits but something is not quite right. It feels like Stefano had abandoned OL to go off on his next mission in life.

    And overall, I hate episodes that use an existing series to pilot a new one. (remember that most lame Star Trek with Robert Lansing and Teri Garr?) There also was an annoyingly weak Bones of this ilk.

  20. One of my few problems with it, and even then not COMPLETELY, is the end of Tone's letter to his father. It's dramatic in an out of left field way, but it's almost TOO MUCH out of left field. But maybe it was meant to be this story's little nod to FRANKENSTEIN (Victor losing his mother at an early age is a fairly big plot point in the book).

  21. Why is it that in the book segment, it's described that the network rejected the script outright, then later suggested it might make the pilot of a non-sci-fi anthology series (so "THE UNKNOWN" series was the network's idea?), when twice in the blog's proceedings (including the ad for when the pilot was run in a threatre) this is referred to the other way round? It clearly describes in the book that the sci-fi elements were removed, which was easy, as "they didn't belong there". Oh really?

  22. As a matter of fact... I saw THIS one when I was 4 years old. WHOA. I must have walked in halfway in. I recall, with startling clarity, the time machine, and the discussion about "bending time", and how the machine could bring someone back from the dead. And I recall the baffling, sad ending, when the inventor walked into the machine, and VANISHED. It was the finale of "THE BORDERLAND", all over again-- except, far less scary, but in some ways, more baffling.

    And then the show vanished. You get to like a series, and then they put something else on.

    Except... like THE AVENGERS, when it vanished from Friday nights at 10 PM, it turned up again... up against JACKIE GLEASON. We used to watch JACKIE GLEASON pretty regular. Which makes me wonder... HOW on Earth did I wind up seeing "DEMON WITH A GLASS HAND" on its first run? (There WAS no rerun season that year-- right?) Like this, I turned on in mid-story. As JACKIE GLEASON was a variety show, perhaps I got bored with that particular week's episode, and switched over. With "UNKNOWN", I may have been watching something else the first half-hour. Or, I may have just turned it on halfway thru. That annoying thing happened quite a few times to me during STAR TREK's 3rd season, when they moved that to Fridays at 10 PM (but, unlike THE AVENGERS, there were NO other shows of interest on between 7:30-10 PM that year. All 3 networks had cancelled everything worth watching on Fridays! So I kept forgetting to put the TV on late Friday nights...)

  23. I got hooked watching OL in reruns in the 70s. Most of the episodes, I saw for the first time in the 70s. When I saw David McCallum, I figured, "Ooh, is THIS the one with the time machine?" Well... NO. It was "The Sixth Finger". The evolution cabinet seemed oddly familar, too. I'd seen "The Chameleon a decade earlier, too.

    This one eluded me, until I rented the entire 1st season in the 90's. I rented & watched in network order. I'm pretty sure somewhere (a STARLOG book?) I had an episode guide, so I had a clear idea this was coming.

    The "teaser" confirmed it. But only once. It's NOT on MY copy! (heh) I made sure of that.

    The opening of the story... WHAT-- THE-- ???? I knew. I had NEVER seen this before. And-- WHAT was I watching? Man-- this was WEIRD! I was mezmerized. It went on... and on... until that house turned up. And when I saw THE HALLWAY with the light bulbs... OOOOOH. And I was back in 1964 all over again.

    One thing nobody has mentioned is how Kassia & Leonora, in the car, in the rain, find THE SPOOKY HOUSE, is so much like James Whale's "THE OLD DARK HOUSE"-- or its musical comedy remake, "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW".

    From the descriptions, I have to take the side of the OL version. Finding out that Tone was "simply" insane would be too downbeat. The very idea of an actual, working time machine constructed in the fashion he's done it is INSANE all by itself. It would be too terrible for it to NOT actually work, especially in the context of so many weird edits, camera angles & dialogue exchanges.

    For some reason, I keep getting Cedric Hardwicke & Ralph Richardson confused. Richardson, of course, was "The Crypt Keeper" in Amicus' "TALES FROM THE CRYPT" (1972). Cedric Hardwicke, apart from being Dr. Frankenstein in the 4th Universal film, was also "Dr. Watson" on the radio with John Gielgud.

    It's funny. The single most memorable episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, for me, was "A Kind Of Stopwatch", which aired on October 18, 1963 (of course I remember the date, it's the date the girl I fell in love with in art school was born on). Naturally, in my eyes, OUTER LIMITS was a longer, scarier version of that show. And "UNKNOWN" may seem more like a TZ than an OL. And both involve time manipulation. Is it any wonder I loved THE TIME TUNNEL in 1966-67, or that DOCTOR WHO became one of my all-time favorite shows once I finally got hooked on it many years later?

    Barbara Rush went on to guest in the single WORST episode of the Adam West BATMAN series ever made... the INCREDIBLY sexist story with the exploding mice.

  24. My first experience with it is a little similar to Henry R. Kujawa's. I saw the great opening scene (and nothing else?), and not surprisingly I thought it was a movie scene. In fact, without understanding most of the analyzing that they get, the whole thing looks and feels like some Italian horror film of exactly the same time, whether by Maria Bava or someone else.
    The part that always stays with me about that scene is the way Andre accidentally "directs" his own murder, making a ceremony out of it. Not surprisingly, the first time I saw the scene I thought he was very literally directing it, like some suicide ritual.

  25. While this doesn’t really feel like an Outer Limits episode at all (no surprise, as it was intended to be the pilot for another series), it is actually one of my favourite season one episodes. The “Old Dark House” vibe is extremely strong in this one, and in addition to the creepy feel, the episode is simply gorgeous. Very stylishly lit, each shot is wonderfully composed and this has the quality of a feature film, not just another hour of series television.

    My only nit-pick is there is a bit too much running back and forth through the woods (which is true of a number of other episodes as well), and the appearing/disappearing corpse gets a bit tiresome in the early part of the episode (why would he end up back in the trunk after he came back to life?). But overall, I love it.

  26. Neoclassical artist Jo Gabriel seques her song "Mistress Of Time" to footage of the final scene of "The Forms Of Things Unknown" https://youtu.be/V7f56Vz1xtU

    1. Me, I love Frontiere's spooky coda played while that pendulum slowly swings during the last few moments of the last scene.


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