The Outer Limits: Season 1, Episode 3

The Architects of Fear (30 Sep. 1963)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 325 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 1 critic

A secret group of scientists decide to surgically alter one of their members into an 'alien', in order to convince the world that an alien invasion is imminent. They hope that such a threat... See full summary »



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Episode complete credited cast:
Allen Leighton
Dr. Phillip Gainer
Martin Wolfson ...
Dr. Herschel
Geraldine Brooks ...
Yvette Leighton
Hal Bokar
Hunter (as William Bush)
Clay Tanner ...
Second Hunter
Lee Zimmer


A secret group of scientists decide to surgically alter one of their members into an 'alien', in order to convince the world that an alien invasion is imminent. They hope that such a threat will force all governments to make peace with one another. However such a complex plan has many vulnerabilities... including the wife of the volunteer. Written by Gazhack

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bare chested male | See All (1) »

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Release Date:

30 September 1963 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The plot of The Architects of Fear is very similar to the ending of Watchmen. The Watchmen pay homage to The Outer Limits by having Sally Jupiter watching The Outer Limits on her TV. See more »


When Leighton is wheeled from the operating room to the elevator, the floor is visible. There is no break in the solid floor as one would normally see upon entering a real elevator. Obviously no elevator was actually used and the elevator doors were probably moved by hand. See more »


[first lines]
Control Voice (uncredited voice played by Vic Perrin): [film footage of people running out in the streets and a missile in the sky] Is this the day? Is this the beginning of the end? There is no time for wonder, no time to ask why is it happening, why is it finally happening. There is time only for fear, for the piercing pain of panic. Do we pray now, or do we merely run now and pray later? Will there *be* a later, or is this the day?
[a mushroom cloud explodes before the film projector is shut off]
See more »


References From Here to Eternity (1953) See more »

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User Reviews

A fake enemy can lead to real allies.
26 November 2012 | by (Edinburgh.) – See all my reviews

The Outer Limits gets straight back to full strength with this superb episode that's quite unlike anything else I've ever seen on TV even 50 years later. I'm sure that there are people willing to point out my error and name a bunch of examples that are similar but for now, in the safety of solo writing, I shall go by my own opinion and assume that we can all agree that it's correct.

In all seriousness, if you know of anything that is very close to this episode then please message me and I'll gladly check it out. There are elements of the story that I've seen elsewhere but the whole package is blended in a unique and unforgettable manner here, as far as I'm concerned.

The plot concerns a bunch of scientists who decide to transform one of their number (Robert Culp) into a seemingly alien creature. They hope that the panic and fear caused by the creature will lead to governments putting aside their differences to work towards a common goal but it also causes no small amount of stress for the poor wife (Geraldine Brooks) who is left in the dark about the whole thing.

There's decent acting here from almost everyone involved but this episode is knocked out of the park by the writer, Meyer Dolinsky, and director, Byron Haskin. The main premise is treated seriously and every subsequent stage of the plan is shown with more and more disturbing repercussions.

I'm sure that this episode is fondly remembered by the generation who grew up with the show as one of the wildest and scariest because it holds up to this day as something very, very dark and unsettling. Classic.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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