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The Outer Limits: "Don't Open 'Till Doomsday" (Season 1, Episode 17)

An Outer Limits Episode Gone Perilously Wrong

By Tom BakerPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 3 min read
Escape from the Planet of the Turds

Note: I was originally going to title this review, "A Box Full of Turds," but then thought better of it.

"The Outer Limits" is a superior science fiction show from the Sixties that, individually, has some long-haul episodes, much in the manner of Boris Karloff's "Thriller," which I also find myself finding tedious as the midway mark of some episodes rolls by. Both of them have roughly the same sort of cinematographic look and feel about them, and both of them are every bit as ding-dangly dong good as that OTHER famous era anthology show--the one with the guy who is always smoking. Smoking. Smoking. (Dude died of a massive coronary, dig? So maybe that much smoking is NOT recommended after all.)

Charles Manson, in his infinite, schizophrenic wisdom, once opined that "if I wanted a box full of turds, they wouldn't let me have it!" He meant the "Big Fat Guts" who were the prison screws (er, "correction's officers") who became the permanent Charlie Family after Charlie's more infamous family was forcibly disbanded. Que sera, sera...

This episode of the "Limits" is the limit, as it features a box full of a floating, turd-like creature with a little toy arm and a huge bulging eye. It lives in a box that looks like one of those ancient school film projectors that always broke the film, so that the teacher tried to splice it together with scotch tape but that never worked, either. Those films were all Disney pictures about sedimentary rock forming after volcanic eruptions, probably brought on by smoking MARIJUANA--THE DEVIL WEED! (Dude in the LSD flick thought he was a pigeon.)

Those films always had the same 1950s All-American bowtie and slicked back hair, horn-rim glasses wearing Lesser Don Knotts hosting, and his voice always did a thing when the film skipped through the projector incorrectly, that sounded like the flapping noise Little Ricky's bicycle made when he put an Aviator playing card in the spokes.

This box, which is a bonafide outer space straight-from-a-flying flapjack piece of real extraterrestrial technology, has a sort of flashing light on the side and shoots a laser, so the floating turd monster can capture you and put you in his dark dimensional kingdom where it is always black and empty and probably doesn't smell like roses (note the chief denizen). There is also some fake-looking mist or something from Zeta Reticuli.

Then we get some old 1929 Dowager type that is like the Other Mrs. Havisham from Great Expectations (jilted at the altar, she's never taken her Gloria Swanson dress and clown grotesquerie makeup off, and can still dance the Jitterbug).

So this witch lures to her house some guy that is a sort of vague shadow of the late Jack Nance (who was alive when this was filmed) and he brings along his jailbait childbride (not making this shit up, dawg, this actually is the plot), and she wants to do a switch-up with Superturd for her husband, who has been trapped in Dimension X since the X-Head Turd Guys were planning on blowing up Earth so we would match their "vibration." Far out, man. FAR OUT.

But then the house explodes. I don't know why the house explodes, but I guess it's as good an ending as any. I probably shouldn't have given it away. I suck.

It's a cool episode. The Misfits (the mid-Nineties incarnation) have a song I suppose is based on the title, if little else. I'm at 555 words here, and that is a magic number, as I once put out a pretentious bunch of my experimental noise recordings called 555. But, you didn't know that did you? (Incidentally, it's one of the recordings I have with unexplained "vocalizations" on it; in this case, what sounds like screams. No bullstuff.)

I probably should have named this review something else, but I couldn't resist. The idea that people of any era would be frightened by a floating one-armed, one-eyed turd alien in a projector box, who kidnaps some pervert, his jailbait girlfriend, a flapper's husband, and then blows up a house so we can all be on the same "vibrational wavelength," is a little hard to swallow.

676 words. And I've reached my limit.

We now return control of your television to you.

"The Outer Limits" - Season 1, Episode 17: "Don't Open Till Doomsday"

science fictionvintagetv reviewscifi tvextraterrestrial

About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.: http://tombakerbooks.weebly.com

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock2 months ago

    Interesting review, Tom. We'll see if I have time to come back & watch it. Otherwise, I suppose it could be what I give up for Lent.

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