THIS WEEK’S CLASS: THE OUTER LIMITS!
Our six-week classic horror TV course continues with visiting instructor Philip L. Simpson’s probe into THE OUTER LIMITS! Admission $7.
Week 3: Tuesday, February 5, 2013, 7:00pm-10:00pm
A ‘Bear’ of a Series: The ‘Wonder’ and ‘Tolerable Terror’ of The Outer Limits
Instructor: Philip L. Simpson (*visiting instructor!)
First airing in 1963, the ABC-TV network’s black-and-white anthology series The Outer Limits was created by Leslie Stevens as a vehicle for exploring his ideas about human frailties within a science fiction setting. Its blend of insightful character study, Gothic mood, intelligent themes, expressionistic visuals, and science fiction with a decidedly dark edge showed The Outer Limits daring to confront some of the most difficult political and humanistic questions of the times. Series co-producer and writer Joseph Stefano (of Hitchcock’s Psycho fame) both capitulated to the network’s commercially driven desire for “more monsters” and subverted this desire by referring to the show’s “monster of the week” as a “bear.” While seemingly lampooning the network’s incessant clamoring for monsters, Stefano is also making a serious point, in that the Gothic borderlands of the human psyche that the “bears” represent grip or even prey upon the subconscious or pre-conscious, leaving a sense of unsettlement or unease within the viewer long after the episode itself has ended.
Reading: Worland, Rick. Sign-Posts Up Ahead :The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and TV Political Fantasy 1959-1965