Behold, Eck!

The Outer Limits (1963)

Behold, Eck!, directed by Byron Haskin.

What strange force is trashing all the optical labs in the city, stealing experimental eyeglass lenses made from meteoric quartz? It is Eck! -- a two-dimensional being accidentally trapped on Earth and trying to find his way out of 3-space back to his home. He needs corrected vision to do that...

It is an intriguing notion, dating back to the philosophically stimulating Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions from the previous century. From the adventures of a two-dimensional being investigating both 1- and 3-dimensional spaces we try to get a grasp of dimensions beyond our own.

Controlled Experiment is supposed to be the only comedy episode in the series, but this could easily have been another such. Our problems with the plot absurdities would have vanished if they were treated humorously.

As it is the micro-budget interiors and simple effects remind me of something William Castle would have done -- more vividly -- in something like his 13 Ghosts (1960) or Zotz! (1962).

Such are budget cutbacks that the alien menace has to handled by a local police detective. He does have access to a departmental flame thrower -- talk about militarization of the police!

A good moment: Eck! sees a television screen and mistakes the news announcer for 2-dimensional being like himself. Which is reasonable: our 3-space is filled with real 2-dimensional images.

The cast:

Director Byron Haskin found the story to be stupid. This is the fourth of his six episodes.

A lot of theremin this time, and another instrument that sounds like it but isn't.

Although he doesn't mention Flatland, the story concept suggests C.S. Lewis's essay "Transposition", collected in his volume The Weight of Glory. Just as Mr Square can only see slices of a 3-dimension realm in his reality, so we see reduced projections of higher reality in our own space.

The Blu-ray has a commentary track by Reba Wissner.