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Twilight Zone or Outer Limits, the mind boggles

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jdb1

Postby jdb1 » April 30th, 2007, 10:52 am

MikeBSG wrote:"Wordplay" was the New Twilight Zone episode with Robert Klein.

"Her Pilgrim Soul" was perhaps the best NTZ episode. It was a real heartbreaker, directed by Wes Craven of all people. This was a SF "Portrait of Jenny" in a way.

"A Day in Beaumont" sent up all the old Fifties alien invasion cliches.

After the first season, however, New Twilight Zone ran out of gas quickly.


I agree - I found most of the stories pretty tame and "so what." It's too bad, really, as the production values were certainly much finer than those of the original TZ. Maybe it's that a program like that needs to be in B&W, or at least in the half-light, like "The X Files."

I remember now that Robert Klein's name in the new language the Wordplay episode was "Hinge Thunder." I like it - sounds like someone you wouldn't want to mess with (or maybe it sounds like a squeaky door -- depends on how you look at it).

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Postby cinemalover » May 1st, 2007, 6:19 pm

Talking about these two classic shows has made me want to revisit them. I was looking for reasonably priced sets of either show and I found Season 2 of The Outer Limits dirt cheap (under $15). I would love to acquire the Twilight Zone seasons but they're no bargains right now. So i settled in and watched an episode of The Outer Limits for the first time in about 20 years...

Title: The Outer Limits TV Show Season 2 Made: 1964-65
Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror Studio: MGM
Format: DVD Extras: Booklet

This set is all 17 episodes from Season 2.
Episode watched:
The Duplicate Man Originally aired: 12-19-1964

Do not attempt to adjust the picture....
These shows have a wonderful opening stating that your television set is being taken over for the next hour, nice touch.

Plot: It is the year 2025 and we see a tour guide showing off a strange collection of interplanetary creatures in a zoo-like environment. We meet space anthropologist Henderson James (Ron Randall). He has been conducting illegal experiments on a deadly creature, a Megasoid (played by Mike Lane). Megasoids are such are so dangerous that they are banned from the planet Earth. The punishment for breaking this ban is death. When the Megasoid escapes Henderson knows he must find it and destroy it. He knows that he'll need help so he has himself cloned, a process referred to as duplication. These duplicates are only allowed to live for 5 hours or they become too self-aware. Henderson was looking for help, but in fact, his life just gets much more complicated when the duplicate meets his wife (played by Constance Towers).

This is a very interesting concept. The plight of the duplicate really holds your attention as he must deal with the realization that he is not "real" and cannot go on existing. The downside of this episode is the terrible costume for the Megasoid. It looks like a baggy shaggy rug suit topped with a plastic bird's head. Just cheesy.

We now return control of your television set to you...

7* (out of 10) I enjoyed the story. Very unique, and thought-provoking. The only let down was the embarrassing costume for the Megasoid. No imagination could stretch that far.
Chris

The only bad movie is no movie at all.

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Dewey1960
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outer limits

Postby Dewey1960 » May 2nd, 2007, 12:54 am

Hi Chris -
Thanks for the very cool review of the Outer Limits episode! Glad you were inspired to check them out (it was your thread, after all!) In any case, I look forward to reading your reviews of the other episodes from that set. As memory serves, there are some provocative ones from the second season.
-Dewey

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Postby cinemalover » May 2nd, 2007, 2:33 pm

Thanks, Dewey.
I will enjoy going through the set, though it will be a slow process. I seem to remember that The Outer Limits was very hit and miss. Some great episodes, but more than its share questionable ones. I think that so many more of the Twilight Zone episodes were successful because they were only filling a half hour slot (except for one season which went to hour episodes) rather than the hour that The Outer Limits had to fill. The Tumbleweeds episode is in this set. I have vague memories about it. How do you make tumbleweeds terrifying?
Chris



The only bad movie is no movie at all.

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Tumbleweeds!

Postby Dewey1960 » May 2nd, 2007, 2:54 pm

Hi Chris -
The "tumbleweeds" episode ("Cry of Silence") is definitely one of the stranger ones. What (nearly) saves it is Eddie Albert's serious-as-a-heart attack performance; he seems distressingly real amidst what can best be described as a thoroughly unbelievable set of circumstances (Man vs. Tumbleweeds). It probably would have benefited from a 30 minute running time; just not enough going on, really, to fill up an hour. But it certainly is eerie and it does have a distrubing moment or two. (In black & white, those darn tumbleweeds seem weirdly menacing!) And, depending on your mood when watching it, can be pretty funny, too. I look forward to your review of it!
-Dewey

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Postby MikeBSG » May 2nd, 2007, 5:23 pm

For "Outer Limits," some of the best starred Robert Culp: "The Architects of Fear," which is perhaps the most touching (although marred by the obvious rubber suit when the alien shows up), "Corpus Earthling," which has an "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" feel, and "Demon With a Glass Hand," which foreshadows "The Terminator" and also "Blade Runner," since "Demon" and "Blade Runner" were both filmed in LA's Bradbury Building (which is where part of the original "DOA" was filmed.)

"Don't Open Until Doomsday" is a good episode as well. It plays like a mix of H P Lovecraft and "Whatever Happened to Baby jane?" "The Belero Shield" is probably my favorite episode.

As for the original Twilight Zone, I love "The After Hours," about department store mannequins; "Perchance to Dream," about a man who can't sleep; "The Four of Us Are Dying," about a man who can change his face; "Number Twelve Looks Just Like You," about a future where everyone is beautiful; "Jess-Belle," sort of an Appalachian version of "cat people"; "The New Exhibit," which seems like Charles Beaumont spoofing Robert Bloch, the author of Psycho; and "Person or Persons Unknown," which plays like "It's a Wonderful Life" as horror movie.

"The Jungle" is interesting because it is just like a "walk" scene from a Val Lewton movie with hardly any dialogue past the opening scenes.

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » May 3rd, 2007, 12:22 pm

Everyone these days should see "Number 12 Looks Just Like You," not just for Suzy Parker, but to see Richard Long, as the doctor, do that Dr. Evil pinky-to-the-chin gesture.

Ri-ight! That's where Mike Myers got it.

[Also, every Jim Carrey fan should watch Captain Kangaroo at least once to learn that Carrey did not invent "All righty, then," but that's another story.]

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Postby cinemalover » May 4th, 2007, 4:23 pm

My curiousity got the best of me, I had to see the tumbleweed story and see how my memory of it from so many years ago compared. Is it as stupid as the premise would suggest or did they pull a rabbit out of the hat...

Date watched:5/3/2007
Title: Outer Limits TV Show Season 2 Made: 1964-65
Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror Studio: MGM
Format: DVD Extras: Booklet
# of times viewed: This is the first time I've seen these in 20 or more years

This set is all 17 episodes from Season 2.
Episode watched:
Cry of Silence (known in my memory as The Tumbleweeds Story) Originally aired: 10-24-1964

Do not attempt to adjust the picture....

It has probably been at least 30 years since I had seen this particular episode. It is one of those things that I watched on TV and it has just kind of floated around in the back of my head ever since. It's not because it is the greatest thing I've ever seen, it was just so unique, that it stayed with me at some level. The details of the story were long lost, I just remember people being terrorized by tumbleweeds.

Plot: Andy Thorne (Eddie Albert) and his wife Karen (June Havoc) are enjoying a lazy afternoon drive to Wild Canyon. After situations force them to leave their car and go looking for some help they experience some really odd circumstances. They find themselves seemingly herded towards a farmhouse by boulders, bullfrogs and tumbleweeds. It all seems pretty innocent at first, nature gone wild perhaps, and Andy has to calm Anne who is getting hysterical. They meet a farmer, Lamont, who takes them into his house for their protection. Lamont tells the Thornes that an alien force has taken over the region and is responsible for all the strange occurrences. Andy is very skeptical, but what other explanation could there be?

As improbable of a situation as you could imagine, yet somehow those frogs and tumbleweeds become incredibly creepy. The acting of Eddie Arnold really holds it together as you can see the doubt edge into his behavior. The pacing of the show is perfect and the cast makes a crazy story worth watching.

We now return control of your television set to you...

6* (out of 10) It's impossible to appreciate this episode by reading about it, you have to see it.

You would surely not see anything even close to this on TV today.
Chris



The only bad movie is no movie at all.

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Postby cinemalover » May 18th, 2007, 11:37 am

Another episode from the second season of The Outer Limits. Good stuff...

Date watched:5/16/2007
Title: Outer Limits TV Show Season 2 Made: 1964-65
Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror Studio: MGM
Format: DVD Extras: Booklet
# of times viewed: This is the first time I've seen these in 20 or more years

This set is all 17 episodes from Season 2.
Episode watched:
Soldier Originally aired: 9-19-1964

Do not attempt to adjust the picture....

This was science fiction writer Harlan Ellison's first teleplay.

Plot: Due to a time slip a professional soldier from the future appears in today's world. In the future soldiers are bred and raised for the purpose of killing and seem to have none of the normal human emotions. The soldier's name is Qarlo (the always dependable Michael Ansara). Scientist Tom Kagan (Lloyd Nolan of Michael Shayne fame) believes that he can "reform" Qarlo and help him to lead a normal life. His plan involves bringing Qarlo home to live with his family in a loving environment (so as a scientist he's not the best Dad, possibly placing his family in danger to prove his point).

Somehow Qarlo's arch-nemesis, an opposing soldier, also finds his way through the time breach to today's world. He immediately resumes his mission of hunting down Qarlo to kill him. The trail leads right to Kagan's home!

Intriquing premise and a taut storyline. Can an environment of caring alter the mental brainwashing of a lifetime of violence? Are these traits learned or inherited?

Guest star: Tim O'Connor

We now return control of your television set to you....

7* (out of 10) Another winner in a this highly original series. Revisiting this show has brought me a new appreciation for it. As for an entire series, I still prefer The Twilight Zone when you stack the two up against each other, but this one has several very intelligent, thought provoking episodes.
Chris



The only bad movie is no movie at all.

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Postby MikeBSG » May 19th, 2007, 9:39 am

How did "Soldier" stack up with "The Terminator"? Ellison brought a successful lawsuit against "The Terminator" on the basis of "Soldier" and "Demon With a Glass Hand." I assume that the interrogation scenes in "Soldier" were similar to the interrogation of Michael Biehn's character in "The Terminator"?

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Postby cinemalover » May 19th, 2007, 12:31 pm

MikeBSG,
It has been years since I last watched the Terminator and the interogation scenes are not fresh in my mind. The idea of a professional soldier coming from the future to hunt down someone in present times is an obvious idea cloned by the Terminator though. Robert Culp's episode of Demon With A Glass Hand is in this set, but I haven't gotten to it yet and my memories of it from 20 years ago are sketchy at best. Perhaps I'll move it up to be the next episode I'll watch. (I watched Cold Hands, Warm Heart with William Shatner last night). From what I've watched of the series so far it holds up better than I was anticipating.
Last edited by cinemalover on May 22nd, 2007, 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Chris



The only bad movie is no movie at all.

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Postby cinemalover » May 22nd, 2007, 9:46 am

Yet another episode from the Outer Limits second season. This time we feature a young William Shatner as an astrnaut two years before his debut as Captain Kirk.....

Date watched:5/18/2007
Title: Outer Limits TV Show Season 2 Made: 1964-65
Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror Studio: MGM
Format: DVD Extras: Booklet
# of times viewed: This is the first time I've seen these in 20 or more years

This set is all 17 episodes from Season 2.
Episode watched:
Cold Hands, Warm Heart Originally aired: 9-26-1964

Do not attempt to adjust the picture....

Plot: Astronaut Jeff Barton (well-known space traveler William Shatner) is the first man to land on Venus. Returning to Earth he is a National Hero and uses his status to promote funding for the Space Program to attempt to colonize Mars as their next mission.

But all is not as calm under the surface for Jeff as he lets on. His body is transforming into something alien as his fingers become webbed and scales appear on his arms. Jeff hides the truth because he desperately wants the funding to get approved. The one person he can't hide the truth from is his wife (Geraldine Brooks).

Shatner in a pre-Star Trek space opera. You'll thrill to see the seeds of his "unique" acting style begin to sprout. The speech pattern is not quite there, but he's working on it.

Guest stars: Lloyd Gough, Malachi Throne, Dean Harens.

We now return control of your television set to you....

5* (out of 10) Interesting more from a historical standpoint than one of entertainment. It's worth a watch but not one of the series best entries.
Chris



The only bad movie is no movie at all.

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Postby dfordoom » May 22nd, 2007, 10:18 am

While I loved The Twilight Zone, the episodes wtritten by Rod Serling did have a tendency at times to be a little too sentimental for my tastes. The Outer Limits was wildly inconsistent, much more so than The Twilight Zone, but at its best it was every bit as good.

Serling's 1970s program Night Gallery followed pretty much the same formula as his earlier show, and also had some wonderful moments.

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Postby MikeBSG » May 22nd, 2007, 2:03 pm

"Night Gallery" was a hit or miss proposition. When NG was good, "Fear of Spiders," "The Caterpillar," "Sins of the Fathers," "Pickman's Model," it was terrific. But there were a lot of dud episodes along the way, and those lousy little "funny" vignettes to round out the time.

Still, I think "Night Gallery" gave us a lot of good, scary moments.

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Postby cinemalover » June 5th, 2007, 12:33 pm

Date watched:6/4/2007
Title: Outer Limits TV Show Season 2 Made: 1964-65
Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror Studio: MGM
Format: DVD Extras: Booklet
# of times viewed: This is the first time I've seen these in 20 or more years

This set is all 17 episodes from Season 2.
Episode watched:
Expanding Human Originally aired: 10-10-1964

Do not attempt to adjust the picture....

Plot: An interesting variation on the popular Jekyl and Hyde theme. Professor Roy Clinton (Skip Homeier) is experimenting on himself with a dangerous drug that is supposed to amplify his intelligence, but it comes attached to some less-than desirable side-effects. The drug also increases the Professor's overall awareness and his physical strength. This wouldn't be so bad if in didn't install a desire to kill in his disposition.

Police Officer Branch (Star Trek's James Doohan) suspects Professor Clinton is the murderer, but finds himself at a disadvantage when matching wits against a drug-influenced supermind!

Another well-crafted episode with a mad scientist's best intentions gone awry.

We now return control of your television set to you....

7* (out of 10) Another intriguing premise with the benefit of an interesting cast. It's fun to see a young, slender Scotty in a pre-Star Trek appearance.
Chris



The only bad movie is no movie at all.


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