Demon with a Glass Hand

The Outer Limits (1963)

Demon with a Glass Hand, directed by Byron Haskin.

Trent has no memory, just a mission. Implacable aliens from the future are after him. He kills without mercy, but they keep coming. The fate of the human race depends on him and he must stay alive, no matter what.

One of his hands is some sort of crystal computer which advises him. It is missing necessary "lobes" (=fingers) so that is another thing on his list.

Who would have thought: well into the disappointing second season we have one of the best episodes of the series, a prize-winning screenplay that shows up on lists of the best television ever.

This despite the ultra-minimal makeup effects for the aliens: raccoon circle eyes and shower caps or stockings on the head. The story is so good it doesn't matter. We know they are minions and are there to provide a high body count. No bodies, though.

This is Harlan Ellison's second and final episode. He originally wanted a cross-country chase but when given a tour of the film-famous Bradbury Building -- Double Indemnity (1944), D.O.A. (1950), Blade Runner (1982) -- he saw the benefit of keeping the action confined to the interior of that lovely building, rich with iron work and shadows.

Ellison said he wrote the part for Robert Culp, who he found unusually intelligent for an actor. Culp returns from The Architects of Fear and Corpus Earthling. Like Martin Landau and David McCallum, all of his episodes were among the best.

Arlene Martel would later play the incandescently beautiful T'Pring, Mr Spock's femme fatale fiancée in Star Trek Amok Time:

...where she lit a torch in the hearts of many adolescents, simultaneously warning them against such fascinations.


Like all of the second season, this is photographed by Kenneth Peach. Nicely done, looking much like season one with that star filter.

On the Blu-ray Craig Beam provides a light commentary track. He both complains about unexplained plot points and admits that an expanded or rebooted version would not be a better program.