Destruct that ship, General!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Episode Spotlight: "Demon with a Glass Hand" (10/17/1964)



“Demon with a Glass Hand”
Season 2, Episode 5 (37 overall)
Originally aired 10/17/1964




“I was born ten days ago, a full-grown man born ten days ago. I woke on a street of this city. I don’t who I am, or where I’ve been, or where I’m going. Someone wiped my memories clean, and they tracked me down and tried to kill me. Why? Who are you? I ran. I managed to escape them the first time. And then the hand--- my hand--- told me what to do.”


Ten centuries in the future, Earth is viciously attacked by an alien race called the Kyben, who successfully conquer the planet in 19 days… but not before the entire human race (seventy billion in number) inexplicably disappears without a trace and a devastating pestilence is unleashed, rendering the entire planet uninhabitable. The technologically-superior Kyben, who possess the ability to travel through time thanks to their temporal mirror technology, capture the only Earthling left, an operative named Trent who possesses an advanced computer in the form of a glass hand with removable fingers, which are in actuality lobes of its brain. The Kyben extract three of its fingers before Trent manages to escape… through the aforementioned time mirror.

Trent arrives in 1964 a disoriented amnesiac, pursued by a cadre of Kyben soldiers who relentlessly pursue him in search of the missing Earthlings. The glass hand fills him on the basic details of his mission: to retrieve its lost lobes and destroy the time mirror, but its knowledge is incomplete; it needs all five of its fingers to function fully. Trent captures Kyben soldier Breech, who explains that their time travel capabilities are limited to one-way trips only; safe returns have yet to be perfected. Every time traveler wears a gold medallion, which acts as a “focusing element” for the mirror and which, if removed, will forcibly return the wearer to the future… quite dead (Trent, having used the time mirror to escape, possesses the same vulnerability). Breech reveals that the mirror is located in a nearby office building and, having worn out his usefulness, is relieved of his medallion and vanishes.

Trent infiltrates the building through the sewer system after hours. He is quickly detected and ducks into an unlocked office, where he meets Consuelo Biros, an unfortunate woman working late. She initially disbelieves Trent’s outlandish story until he offers proof by dispatching a Kyben soldier before her eyes. She accompanies him as he prowls the building, taking out Kyben soldiers wherever possible and retrieving his lost glass fingers. Each time a finger is restored to the hand, it is able to relay more details about the future Kyben-Earth war. It reveals that, to escape the Kyben invasion, the entire human race was reduced to its bioelectric components and stored safely on a length of wire. Without its final missing finger, however, it cannot say where the wire has been hidden.

With Consuelo’s help, Trent eventually kills off the remaining Kyben soldiers and destroys the time mirror. He attaches the final missing finger and learns that he is in fact a robot, and that the missing wire is located inside his artificial body. His mission is to remain in hiding for the next ten centuries, plus an additional 200 years until the radioactive plague dissipates, at which time he is to restore humanity to their true forms once again. Consuelo--- who has fallen in love with Trent--- recoils in horror and leaves him alone to ponder his strange fate.


.
RANDOMONIUM

Well, here it is: my all-time favorite Outer Limits episode… or at least it used to be, before I started rewatching the series to celebrate each episode’s 50th anniversary. Don’t get me wrong--- I still love it (it’s definitely still in my top ten), but nothing in the second season can touch the exquisiteness of first season offerings like “The Architects of Fear,” “O.B.I.T.,” or “The Man Who Was Never Born.” However, “Demon with a Glass Hand” possesses a certain ineffable quality that those episodes, as brilliant as they are, lack: it’s just fucking cool. It’s such a strange mix of elements: it’s a moody film noir with a compelling antihero, cross-bred with a complex intergalactic time travel saga, with a sprinkling of romance (doomed though it is); a strange cocktail indeed but one that emerges totally successful. Even the goofy Kyben makeup doesn’t hurt it.






“Demon with a Glass Hand” is sci-fi luminary Harlan Ellison’s follow up to “Soldier,” which opened the season with a modicum of style but didn’t quite measure up to the season one greats that came before it. “Demon,” meanwhile, has brilliance to spare, and may be Ellison’s single greatest contribution to sci-fi TV (yes, even greater than his more famous “The City on the Edge of Forever” on Star Trek). It’s a credit to Ellison’s skill as a crafter of fiction that such a complicated story never really feels complicated; it lurches ahead breathlessly to its surprising conclusion with only intermittent pauses to provide further insight into the mystery. It’s a first-person shooter with a brain, and it’s a great treat to watch it unfold piece by fascinating piece (I seriously envy first-time viewers). I’ve already said my piece about Ellison outside of his Outer Limits contributions in these pages, so I won’t repeat it here. And frankly, I'm feeling like a total dick now, since he suffered a goddamned stroke just a few days ago. Word is he's doing fine, but he's got a bit of an uphill battle ahead of him before he's back to his old irascible self. Christ, I hope my less-than-kind assessment of the man wasn't a contributing factor....  on second thought, nah. He's way too tough to give two shits about the opinion of a lowly blogger/unpublished writer. Best wishes to you, Harlan. Speedy recovery and all that.


“Demon” is helmed by Byron Haskin; the fifth of his six total assignments on the series. Granted, it’s kinda hard to fuck things up when you've got a top-notch script, a flawless leading man and a compelling location, but Haskin’s direction is the glue that binds it all together. Haskin, teamed here with director of Photography Kenneth Peach (who turns in his finest work here), pulls off a veritable onslaught of unforgettable imagery: the minimalist German Expressionistic prologue… the overhead shot of a Kyben soldier falling to his death… the numerous close-ups of the luminous glass hand, blinking and whirring as it matter-of-factly reels off new data, the distorted funhouse visage of the time mirror… the list is extensive. “Demon” is the most visually arresting episode the second season has to offer, quite refreshing after the mundaneness we’ve seen so far.



.

Part of the success of “Demon” lies in the narrative device of revealing information (to both Trent and us) each time a missing finger is reattached to the glass hand, effectively preserving the mystery of Trent’s identity until the very end. However, as satisfying as the ultimate resolution is, the episode feels very much like the middle act of a much larger story. Dammit, I want to see the events that led to Trent’s escape into the past, not to mention humanity’s triumphant return in 3164. I do recognize that this would effectively ruin the mystery (much like George Lucas’s Star Wars prequels ruin the ultimate reveal of Darth Vader’s true identity in The Empire Strikes Back), so… yeah, okay, maybe it’s a bad idea.

.

The use of mirrors for time travel is a fascinating concept, if not an entirely original one: In his Orphic Trilogy (particularly the middle film, 1950’s Orpheus), Jean Cocteau employs mirrors as a method of travel between the domains of the living and the dead. And of course there’s Lewis Carroll’s Alice, who visited a parallel Earth by passing through an enchanted looking glass. As nifty as the time mirror device is, its mechanics are maddeningly inconsistent. When Budge and Bon arrive in 1964, they emerge from the time mirror, which implies that traveling through time requires a mirror on both ends of the trip (one to send and one to receive). However, Trent materializes “on a street of this city,” while Kyben soldier Durn materializes apparently in thin air (he’s first seen dropping onto Trent from above, despite the hand “registering an energy drain” and announcing that he is “through the mirror”). Since a receiving mirror doesn’t appear necessary, and since we’re told that there’s no safe way to return to the future, building a mirror in 1964 seems a bit pointless. And why will destroying the mirror prevent the Kyben from sending more soldiers back in time? Is the mirror in 1964 inextricably linked to the mirror in 2964, so destroying one destroys the other? The hand tells Trent that destroying the mirror will “seal the gateway forever.” So one bullet wrecks the whole thing forever? Really? Wow, talk about a fatal design flaw.

Never mind. Totally makes sense now.

And if removing a time traveler’s medallion is lethal, why the hell does everybody wear them outside of their clothing, where they can easily be pulled off? Jesus, just bumping against something the wrong way could cause it to get snagged, and then it’s sayonara, sucka! It occurred to me that maybe hiding it under one’s shirt might obstruct the time mirror’s fix on him, but then again, if it can maintain said fix through walls and other architectural obstructions, a thin layer of cotton shouldn’t make a damn bit of difference. So it’s basically a great big plot device that allows Trent to dispatch a bunch of Kyben baddies with a simple yanking motion (not that kind of yanking motion, you pervs).

So Trent thought he was a human with a prosthetic computerized hand, but in reality he’s a human-looking robot with… a prosthetic computerized hand? So the glass hand is just an extension of his artificial self. So does he possess two distinct artificial brains? Or is the ongoing dialogue between Trent and his hand just an elaborate simulation of human communication indulged in by a single artificial intelligence? And who’s the genius who designed the computer brain with individual memory fingers that are easily detached and stolen? And how do the Kyben know that the computer brain “contains all knowledge”? More to the point, why do they think it has the solution for their inability to return to the future? The Kyben are a technologically superior race, and the time mirror is their technology… how the hell would the computer brain, an Earth invention, have a clue how to perfect it?

Fuck. I kinda feel like I just fell into a rabbit hole of logic problems and story flaws. Regardless, I still love this episode. There’s so much to love here; I’m willing to suspend my disbelief over a high cliff for it. The cast is uniformly excellent: Culp is of course brilliant, and Arlene Martel is quite convincing is the lonely and timid Conseulo (her name is Spanish for “solace,” which she offers freely to the beleaguered Trent, making it doubly heartbreaking when she withdraws after learning he isn’t human). The Kyben are convincingly menacing, particularly Rex Holman as Budge and Abraham Sofaer as Arch. I really love the production design: despite the forward-thinking and complex (for its time) plot, there’s a delightful retro sci-fi aspect of the visuals. The Kyben, with their black garb and even blacker raccoon eyes, look like the heavies from an old Buck Rogers serial; their time mirror looks like something you’d see in Ming the Merciless’ war room. Trent, “the hero who strides through the centuries,” is dressed completely in white, in direct contrast to the Kyben. Another interesting wardrobe choice is to have a select few of the Kyben soldiers wear women’s pantyhose on their heads (which I suppose in 1964 would've indicated something unsavory, be it criminal activity or sexual deviance). There's no reason for it, it's just.... kinda there. 
.

The Dixon Building is of course the historic Bradbury Building on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, which was designated a National Historical Monument in 1977, and is still in use today (among its occupants is the Internal Affairs division of the LA Police Department and, less impressively, a Subway Restaurant). My pal Bill Huelbig visited the site in 2003 and has graciously granted me permission to post a few of his pictures. 


.



The building was famously used (and seemingly abused) in 1982’s future-noir Blade Runner, which shares many thematic and stylistic traits with several Outer Limits episodes. Its main character, Rick Deckard, is a police detective on the hunt for a group of outlaw replicants (artificial humanoids), and is unaware that he is in fact a replicant himself. Sounds a bit like our friend Trent, doesn’t it?




“Demon” continues the show’s funky medallion theme, started in “Second Chance” and continued handily in “The Chameleon.” The janitorial crew of the Dixon Building is in for quite a surprise, as there are several gold medallions spread throughout the premises. The medallion-wearing chest hair-baring ickfest of the 70’s may very well have started right here (at least we can blame an alien race for this particular crime against fashion and good sense).




“Demon with a Glass Hand,” along with Ellison’s earlier Outer Limits contribution “Soldier,” was mentioned in “The Mommy Observation,” a 2014 episode of the TV comedy The Big Bang Theory. Check it out:

video


You may have heard of Dollar Shave Club, a mail-order company for men that ships monthly shaving supplies at discount prices. Their ad campaign is highly clever and their video ads are nothing if not hilarious, but don’t be fooled: it’s a Kyben trap. Their website describes their top of the line razor, “The Executive” as being “from the future” and residing “in outer space.” In “Demon,” Trent describes the Kyben as being from “another world and another time.” Coincidence? I can’t be the only person who has picked up on this obvious (and frightening) connection. Excuse me while I adjust my tin foil hat….





.
AURAL PLEASURE

I’ve stated in these pages that Harry Lubin’s musical contributions are often somewhat generic-sounding and lack the distinctiveness of Dominic Frontiere’s work on season one. “Demon with a Glass Hand” is, happily, a startling exception to the rule. The melodramatic echoing piano, which should sound corny and old-timey, somehow works beautifully when combined with the timpani beats and high-pitched organ flourishes.

The Lubin cues in “Demon” include:

Hideaway
Dead Planet
Magnetic Shield
Timpani and Piano
Danger Signal
Tormented Mind
Sullen Mood

.
DRAMATIS PERSONAE

This is Robert Culp's third and final sojourn into The Outer Limits. In all three of his performances, he embodies various facets of heroism: he’s been a tragic hero (“The Architects of Fear”), a damaged, semi-anti-hero (“Corpus Earthling”) and, here, an interesting hybrid of the two. He’s always riveting to watch, possessive of a kinetic magnetism and an undeniable charm, and he’s easily one of my favorite actors of all time (I first discovered him on The Greatest American Hero as the irascible FBI agent Bill “Happiness is a Warm Pistola” Maxwell). Those of you familiar with my Twilight Zone blog will understand when I say that Culp is another Jack Klugman for me: I always hoped I’d meet him one day, but he passed away before I ever got the chance.

Robert Martin Culp
August 16, 1930 - March 24, 2010


This is Arlene Martel’s only TOL appearance (as Consuelo Biros). Sci-fi fans know her best as T’Pring, Spock’s arranged bride in Star Trek’s “Amok Time,” but she was also quite memorable as the creepy night shift nurse in the “Twenty Two” episode of The Twilight Zone (she also appeared in TZ’s “What You Need”). And yes, I’d definitely classify her as a TOL Babe. Only a robot sans libido could resist her advances.



Head Kyben honcho Arch is played by Abraham Sofaer in his only TOL role. He also appeared on The Twilight Zone once (“The Mighty Casey”) and on Star Trek twice (“Charlie X” and “Spectre of the Gun”).








Kyben soldier Breech is played by Steve Harris in his only TOL role; he also popped up on The Fugitive ("Devil's Carnival," which also guest starred TOL alums Philip Abbott, Warren Oates, Robert Sorrells and Dee Pollock) that same year. Harris would cross paths again with Robert Culp on TV’s I Spy in 1966 (“Lisa,” which is incidentally his final IMDB credit).

Left: Harris with TOL alum Dee Pollock. Right: Harris and Culp, together again.


Kyben soldier Battle is played by Rex Holman, who would cross paths again with Abraham Sofaer in the Star Trek episode “Spectre of the Gun” (interestingly, his final credited role was as J’onn in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1989). Holman also did a single stint on The Twilight Zone in 1962 (“The Passersby”).





Robert Fortier, here playing Kyben soldier Budge, has a total of three TOL credits on his resume (he appeared in “Controlled Experiment” and “Production and Decay of Strange Particles,” both in season one).  He showed up on Star Trek as well (“By No Other Name”); however, we’re far more interested in his other Outer Limits connection: he played Olin in 1966’s Incubus, which was written and directed by series creator Leslie Stevens.

.
HOME VIDEO RELEASES



“Demon with a Glass Hand” was one of the first Outer Limits episodes to appear on home video: it appeared in the third wave of VHS tapes in early 1988 (along with “The Zanti Misfits” and “Keeper of the Purple Twilight”; each wave was comprised of three episodes, at least early on). On the “Demon” tape, there’s a pretty cool commercial advertising these three episodes. Have a look:

video


In 1995, “Demon” was one of eight episodes to get a second retail VHS release with sleeker, more futuristic box art (to cross-promote Showtime’s new Outer Limits series). I’m not a fan of these re-releases, mostly because of their garish color schemes. They really do stick out like a sore thumb against the earlier, more elegant releases.








.

For its inclusion in Columbia House’s mail-order club, which offered two episodes per volume, “Demon” was paired with “Nightmare” (one of the best two-fers in the entire collection, I’d say). Eight two-episode VHS volumes were released in the UK; the eighth and final volume (pictured at right) included “Demon with a Glass Hand” and “The Bellero Shield” (which is also a pretty damned fine pairing).




“Demon” was among the honored eight episodes to usher in the series’ bow on LaserDisc in 1990 (Another Culp episode, “The Architects of Fear,” was also included; “Corpus Earthling” showed up four years later on the third volume). As I reported a few weeks back, I bought this first LD collection for the sole purpose of getting some decent pictures of it for this blog. Given my OCD tendencies (for which I’m constantly apologizing to my poor wife), I’ll almost certainly pick up the other three volumes at some point (and update my scans in these pages accordingly).



“Demon” can of course be found on whatever Outer Limits DVD set you endeavor to pick up (you have three choices; pictured directly above). If you don’t already own the show, allow me to snarkily suggest that you don’t give MGM your money, since they’ve seen fit to foist the same error-prone double-sided DVDs upon the market for all three distinct releases. Nay, I say… put that cash aside for the admittedly-unlikely eventual Blu-ray release.



And besides, you can watch all 49 episodes, “Demon” included, for free thanks to Hulu. You don’t have to a paying member or anything. Just click and enjoy. See, kids? The internet’s not all porn and cats with bad grammar.

.
TRADING CARD CORNER


“Demon with a Glass Hand” is one of the higher-profile and more readily remembered episode of The Outer Limits, which is probably why Rittenhouse included it in its 2002 trading card series, which allocated nine cards each to eight lucky episodes. Happily, Rittenhouse does a much better job with “Demon” than they did with “Cold Hands, Warm Heart.”




The set also included the obligatory chase and autograph cards, so there’s a Robert Culp autograph card too (selling in the $40.00-$50.00 range on eBay as of this writing).

The wonderful DuoCards set from 1997 focused on season one (and, unfortunately, the Showtime revival series from the 90's), but the series did include a season two preview card… which depicted “Demon with a Glass Hand" (and "I, Robot" on the reverse). Sadly, the planned second set never materialized, so the entirety of season two is represented by one single card.



.
MERCHANDISE SPOTLIGHT

An action-oriented tale like “Demon with a Glass Hand” positively cries out for a set of action figures to reenact Trent’s heroic battle against the Kyben. Sadly, nobody’s ever released a single toy, action figure or otherwise, based on the episode. An 8” Robert Culp action figure almost happened thanks to Mego’s proposed Greatest American Hero line in 1983, which would’ve served as great customizing fodder; unfortunately, Mego went out of business before the line went into production (only a few coveted prototypes remain, like the one pictured right). They pulled off a pretty good Culp likeness, actually. I’m a huge fan of the 3 ¾” figure format, having grown up playing with Kenner’s Star Wars offerings, so the wheels in my head are spinning with possibilities. I’m thinking one could take some GI Joe figures and customize something fairly cool. The glass hand might be a bit tough to pull off…. you’d need a clear (or at least translucent) hand to graft onto your Trent, first of all…



There exists one option out there, more figure than action: Dimensional Designs offers a 1/8-scale resin model kit of Trent, sculpted by Curt Chiarelli, which is available for $59.95 plus shipping (DD/OL/MT-29). I think I’ve been pretty kind to Dimensional Designs in these pages, but I’m gonna take a different tack this week and state for the record that I pretty much hate their take on Trent. It looks nothing like Robert Culp, but that’s not its worst crime: Trent’s glass hand, the most important piece of the character, is covered up by a goddamned glove. What?????

This shot (left) is the only picture I could find of a finished specimen. Even Mr. Enamel and Chinxy, whose work I feature regularly in these pages, knew it sucked.







Around 2006 or so, a company called Sonic Control released “The Magician,” a plastic robotic hand with a sound box inside that played back three classical music bits. Thanks to a series of gears inside, the hand moved its fingers as if playing the piano. This is of course not a replica of Trent’s glass hand, but it’s fairly close. I’ve been trying to track one down, but so far I’ve come up empty.






I have no idea what happened to the original glass hand prop, but goddamn, I wish I had it. I don’t possess the skills to make my own, but somebody does: a few years back, a guy going by the moniker Zandru over at The RPF did it--- or at least he started to. Check out these work-in-progress pics:



Amazing work. There are six pages of discussion and pictures about Zandru's project here; unfortunately, it ends with November 2013, so I have no idea if he ever actually finished it. In any case, I lack the technical and practical knowledge, patience, or finesse for such an undertaking. What I do have is an affinity for stupid gags and prop comedy. That’s right, kids, it’s time for yet another installment of… Projects Limited, Ltd.!



By the time you read this, my homespun glass hand will be long gone. Why, you ask? Because, dear reader, its primary ingredient is that most temporary of substances: ice. Oh, and a surgical glove and a submersible LED or two.


His dark materials, redux.

Some of you have probably already made your own glass hands at some point without realizing it. Who among us hasn’t filled a latex surgical glove with water and frozen it at some point in our lives? Me, I swiped a few from my doctor’s office about fifteen years ago, with a vague notion of entertaining my kids with them somehow. It was winter, so it occurred to me to simply fill them with water and put them outside to freeze, then place them strategically beneath a gigantic snowball (I’d tell the kids that that old rascal Jack Frost had met a tragic end; yes, black humor was a staple in their young diets). Unfortunately, it didn’t snow that winter, so I did the next best thing: I put them in the freezer. It became more of a science lesson than a gag, but the kids were fascinated nonetheless. As for me, all I could think about was Trent’s glass hand, and all these years later, it’s remained in the back of my mind. This week’s project represents a mental exorcism of sorts for me.

*Sigh* I had such grand plans for this stupid thing. I was going to create a short film in which I prowled around the house, talking to (and getting advice from) my ice hand. I was even going to splice in music from the episode. Man, it was gonna be epic. Unfortunately, things fell apart very quickly when I realized that I had no way of holding the damn thing in place so that it would stick out of a sleeve convincingly. And then it started to melt, almost immediately. Then a finger snapped off. So... yeah, the production, woefully underplanned and pathetically executed as it was, was cancelled. Fuck, fuck, fuck. I guess I did learn one valuable piece of information: those submersible LEDs still operate when frozen. I'm not entirely sure what application that information might have, but feel free to experiment, kids.



In 1986, DC Comics published a graphic novel adaptation of Ellison’s script, which I eagerly snatched up (and still own; it sits on my bookshelf next to Schow’s The Outer Limits Companion (both editions) and the more recent The Outer Limits at 50). It’s a pretty faithful retelling of the story (the Bradbury Building setting is happily retained); however, Trent is clad in black, which makes him look more like Mack Bolan, AKA The Executioner, from Don Pendleton’s long-running book series (which I quite enjoyed back in my middle school days)…. or basically any generic mercenary type. This Trent is more of a badass avenger type, a nice counterpoint to Culp's white-clad, pragmatic interpretation.

The Yin and Yang of Trent.


.
Also in 1986, “Demon” was partially adapted to comic form by artist Terry Doyle for the fanzine Sci-Fi Times….  

It’s a shame he only did the prologue... see here for more.


This doesn’t count as “Demon” merchandise, but... I used to play an arcade video game called Rolling Thunder (which first appeared in 1986). It was pretty basic (as most of them were back then): you were a secret agent prowling through a two-dimensional environment, shooting hazmat suit-wearing thugs before they could shoot you. I always got a “Demon” vibe from the game, which probably explains why I frequently chose it over other arcade favorites like Ms. Pac-Man and Zaxxon.

Come to think of it, “Demon with a Glass Hand” would probably translate quite well to a more modern first-person video game. And who knows, maybe we’ll see it happen, since it was very recently announced that a feature film adaptation is in the works, and Hollywood is perpetually in bed with the gaming industry. I’m personally hoping that a “Demon” film will be the catalyst for a better-late-than-never Blu-ray release of the series, but I’ll take whatever I can get.

.
THE WRAP-UP



“The Inheritors” two-parter (coming next month) gets a lot of praise from fans, but I’m comfortable stating for the record that “Demon with a Glass Hand” is season two’s finest hour. I've probably watched it more times over the years than any other episode, and I never tire of it.














* Yes, I’m aware that this is something of a controversial topic among fans of the film. Is Deckard human, or is he a replicant? I happen to fall on the “Deckard ain’t human” side of the argument… which the director, Ridley Scott, just happens to share. But there’s more: some believe that Deckard’s artificial memories are sourced from fellow blade runner Gaff, and that Deckard was created to do Gaff’s dirty work (remember this when we get to “The Duplicate Man” in December).

17 comments:

  1. In the Director's/Final Cuts, it seemed clear Deckard was a replicant. The unicorn, his eyes glowing, the fact that Roy calls him by name...the altered version with the narration may be a different story though, so it's up to the viewer to decide.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Final Cut is just that: the final version. It's Scott's preferred version, so I'd say Deckard is officially a replicant.

      Delete
  2. Just the fact that Culp was in this episode makes it worth watching. Holes and all it's still the best episode of the second season and in my top 5 as well. I watch this one over and over and over and never get tired of it. The scene in which Culp and Fortier come crashing through the window onto the ledge in a struggle to the death was remarkable, The lighting, the music, the acting...all top notch. Lubin finally scores something decent. It shines in it's simplicity and the way it enhances the whole mood of the story, almost like Frontiere's score for Nightmare. Why the second season couldn't have been closer to episodes like this rather than some of the shit the Brady regime turned out is beyond me...budget or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Truer words were never spoken re: the Brady regime. I'm working on "I, Robot" as I type this. Hoo boy.

      Delete
  3. Robert Culp is great in the lead role as "Trent". Byron Haskin's direction really recreates the isolation of the Trent character. The story is perhaps the most action-oriented script of all Outer Limits episodes.

    The ending of "Demon" is perfect. It leaves you with a feeling of loneliness. What doesn't work here is the cheesy effort to create what is supposed to be an alien race that conquered the Earth in just 19 days. The Kyben are such a letdown from an effects perspective to me. It's a distraction. Not much should be expected from '60s special effects, but panty hose and black circles around the eyes?!? Even with the limited budget, you'd think the Outer Limits braintrust could have done something more when creating the Kyben. The glass hand, on the other hand (no pun intended), is fantastic.

    One thing that Schow mentions in his book, "The Outer Limits Companion", is also tough to get past...why does Trent not so much as check on the "force bubble" that confines him to the Dixon Building? It seems unbelievable that he would not even verify it's existence. Perhaps it's not a concern to him because he knows his mission will only be accomplished from within the confines of the building. This isn't my favorite story from Season Two (that would be "The Inheritors"), but it's easy to understand why "Demon With a Glass Hand" is considered by most to be a classic science fiction story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We do see him confirm the force bubble is there at the 30:00 mark, when he brings Consuelo out onto the ledge. I dunno, I never gave it much thought. The Kyben have already proven that they mean business, and that they can travel through time.... so why wouldn't Trent assume the force bubble was real? In any event, he wasn't going to try to escape anyway.... he was there to destroy the time mirror, and he wasn't leaving until he did.

      A better question is: how does the bubble get turned off? All the Kyben are dead!

      Delete
  4. There's a reason the Trent model kit doesn't look like Robert Culp: Dimensional Designs probably can't afford the likenesses of the human actors who appeared on TOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm way more upset that the glass hand is hidden under a glove, but still, I'd argue the legitimacy of doing it at all if you can't secure the likeness rights.

      Delete
  5. Craig not sure if you aware how many people follow your blog but I have been reading sinceday one and wwatching the episodes weekly. Guess I have been more of a stalker or OBIT observer. Just wanted to say thanks for your dedication and effort in keeping OL alive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Ralph! Thanks for the kind words. "OBIT observer".... I like that.

      Delete
  6. Hey, I'm the Terry Doyle who had a stab at serializing Demon With a Glass Hand as a comic-strip! The work was (and is) awful. I just thought at the time that Ellison's OL episode would look great as a comic-book adaptation, so I had a go at illustrating it myself. Not long afterwards, DC brought out the Marshal Rogers graphic-novel, which made my own version look like the crap it was - at which point I saw no need to carry on with my own version.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Terry. Well, I'm not exactly a graphic arts expert, but I like what you did.

      Delete
  7. Hello. This was a well written and fun assessment of the episode. Just caught it on TV here. I know we can see them anytime, but it's always fun to accidentally find it on TV.

    As for Blade Runner, I am definitely in the other camp. I also prefer the theatrical release, the original over the director's cuts and additions and cuts. ;)

    Let me just say this. Of the two interpretations: Two robots in love... or a machine teaching a human the meaning of love.. I ask you, which is the more profound? If Deckard is a replicant, it's a dead give away because he's machine-like, cold and unemotional, a 'one man killing machine' as Bryant calls him. What's the surprise there, then, to have him be a 'one man killing machine' in the end? Having him be human without empathy, but who finds it...from a machine no less, is brilliant but not obvious at all, since he seems like a robot throughout the story. We are coaxed into thinking he is a robot himself. So to have him revealed as one as a surprise is anything but.

    Ridley can be wrong. After all, he has made some flops, as well as not wanting to do the Voice Over, which I love, completing the noir effect that BR so obviously pays homage to. It's corny and it's great. Harrison purposely read it badly and that works too. So you just never know. Also, Ridley hated the tacked on ending, which I also like. Hey, if you're gonna tack on an ending, and Kubrick lets you have some of his B roll from The Shining to do it, how can you say no? For that reason alone, it's worth having the happy ending. And Ridley adding in CG to 'fix' things in later releases of BR is an insult to the masterful and exquisite work by the production design team, the cinematographer and the award winning visual effects of Doug Trumball. So in my book, Blade Runner is a masterpiece, not perfect, but a masterpiece nonetheless. Ridley constantly tinkering with it, to shape it to fit his mood does not add to it, but rather subtract, much like Lucas did by 'enhancing' Star Wars with CG 'fixes'. As Kubrick said, 'Let it go' 'Don't go back and 'fix' anything'.
    Cheers.

    By the way, my favorite OL episodes are Demon, Nightmare and Zanti Misfits (those darn ants gave me nightmares!)


    Cheers.

    ReplyDelete