Wednesday, March 30, 2016


A group of university scientists led by Preston Foster are conducting experiments in time travel, but they've been ordered to cut their power use, so they conduct one last full-bore push, and it's a success—through a "window" portal, they can see 107 years into the future. But it's not a shiny utopia they see, it's a bombed-out barren landscape with no buildings visible. Two bald, bullet-headed brutes approach the window and try to get in, but the scientists beat them off, then they all pop through the portal into the future. Unfortunately, the portal collapses leaving them stranded. They are given refuge, from roving bands of barbarian mutants, in an underground chamber protected by a force field. John Hoyt, the leader of the underground humans, tells the scientists that civilization was destroyed by a nuclear disaster and the remaining non-mutants are planning an escape via starship to a distant planet. We get a tour of their android factory which provides manual labor for prepping the spaceship, and a young woman whom one of the scientists is sweet on flirts with him by playing a psychedelic color organ. The scientists hope to blast off with Hoyt's people, but the sinister Dennis Patrick (Jason McGuire on Dark Shadows) scotches those plans so Foster leads an effort to rebuild the portal so they can get back to their own time. Nothing goes as planned, leading to a surprisingly downbeat ending.

Written and directed by Ib Melchior, a minor sci-fi legend, this has the look and acting talent of a well-made TV movie, and little to set it apart from other 60s sci-fi B movies until its strange ending which smacks of a hard science-fiction novel. Most critics don't like the mid-movie tour we get of the underground world because it bring the narrative to a stop, but I think it's rather enjoyable, especially the color organ scene. The acting is so-so: old pro Foster seems tired and unenthusiastic, and Philip Carey, Merry Anders and Steve Franken are acceptable as the other scientists, leaving Hoyt (in the center of the photo above, in the futuristic powder-blue jumpsuit) and Patrick to take acting honors. But in a movie like this, it’s not about the acting, it's about the ideas, the sets, and the effects, and all are adequate (an android is pictured at left). The climactic battle between the mutants and the humans is effective and unusually graphic for a 60s movie that would probably have been pitched as kiddie fare. This is worth a spin for sci-fi fans. [Streaming]

1 comment:

dfordoom said...

One of my favourite time travel movies.