A Feasibility Study

The Outer Limits (1963)

A Feasibility Study, directed by Byron Haskin.

A whole neighborhood is uprooted overnight and transported to planet Luminos. Despite the weird atmospherics, strange noises, and intermittent tech breakdowns, the residents carry on for a little while, trying not to notice. This is like a Twilight Zone setup and we have the usual soap opera mini-dramas between married couples, sounding almost like Rod Serling's speechifying at times.

The inexplicable creepiness and horror of the situation moves us more into Outer Limits territory. Some of the alien terrain is stagey but that contributes to a nightmare quality.

On the downside the Luminoid costumes are rudimentary, as always constrained by time and budget. Their infection is supposed to be silvery metallic scabs which I'm not sure comes across on the dark film.

When the humans understand they are part of an experiment which will determine if all of Earth can be enslaved on Luminos they choose to ruin the study by becoming infected, in effect committing mass suicide. They join hands in a church, underlining the act as holy martyrdom. Even the woman with a baby.

The cast: Sam Wanamaker is a familiar face. I know David Opatoshu best from Star Trek, A Taste of Armageddon. The director couldn't get the reactions he wanted from Joyce Van Patten -- Monkey Shines (1988) -- and the editor showed him that running her film backwards a few seconds at a time worked better.

Odd score with intimations of the unseen.

This episode was produced early on but delayed for many months because of network censorship concerns: the "mass suicide" angle.

Photographed by John M. Nickolaus.

The Blu-ray commentary track by David J Schow has little about this episode, much about the production history of the series with emphasis on Joseph Stefano and Leslie Stevens.