The Forms of Things Unknown

The Outer Limits (1963)

The Forms of Things Unknown, directed by Gerd Oswald.

One man and two women in a wild drive across the countryside, a non-stop party with cruel games. He is masculine, dominating and sadistic. The women seem submissive but this doesn't stop them from poisoning him. What to do with the body?

On a dark and stormy night they enter the old house and meet its blind owner who still sees more than most. His tenant is the fey inventor of a "time tilting" device that can bring back the dead. He claims to have used it on himself...

The first season ends with an enigmatic art film episode, striking in its sound and visual design. It was intended as the pilot for a new series, and a different edit was broadcast as The Unknown (1964).

It is like a dream set in a movie universe. The murderous love triangle is from Diabolique (1955), the house from The Old Dark House (1932), and the nightmare secrets from Psycho (1960).

The cast:

Photographed by Conrad Hall, the last of his 15 episodes. The series was good for his career: at the end of his contract he had many job offers.

Last series credit for:

The title is from A Midsummer Night's Dream:

And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.

The Blu-ray commentary track is by Tim Lucas.

The Blu-ray set also contains The Unknown (1964) alternate cut which was broadcast as a TV movie. Reba Wissner provides a music-oriented commentary track. Dominic Frontiere did different cues for this version, later used in The Invaders (1967).