The Outer Limits (1963–1965)
6.8/10
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8 user 1 critic

The Borderland 

After a scientist appears to invent a machine which can contact the afterlife, he convinces a rich man to finance his experiments with the possibility of contacting his benefactor's dead son.

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Lincoln Russell
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Mrs. Palmer
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Eva Fraser
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Dwight Hartley
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Sawyer
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Professor Ian Fraser (as Mark Richman)
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Edgar Price
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Storyline

After a scientist appears to invent a machine which can contact the afterlife, he convinces a rich man to finance his experiments with the possibility of contacting his benefactor's dead son.

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portal | alternative reality | See All (2) »


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16 December 1963 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The plot of this episode may have been inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's 1946 story, "Technical Error," in which a laboratory technician is accidentally transposed into a mirror image of himself. See more »

Goofs

After the conclusion of one of the experiments everyone gathers around to look at the results. The camera is positioned below everyone looking straight up toward the ceiling. In one shot a crewman can be seen standing up in the rafters just over Dr. Fraser's right shoulder. See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Undervalued Outing For This Series
27 April 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Well, another day, another "Outer Limits" episode for yours truly. Last night the episode for me was "The Borderland," episode # 12; the second episode to be filmed, after "The Galaxy Being," but held until midseason by the ABC executives because they just didn't know what to make of it...and because, supposedly, of their disappointment that the episode featured no monster, as was their expectation. Rather, this episode deals with a husband-and-wife team of physicists, Ian (Mark Richman, who would go on to appear in the final episode of "The Outer Limits," episode 49, "The Probe") and Eva Frazer (Nina Foch, a great actress who had recently impressed me with two superb performances on the contemporaneous TV program "Route 66"), who are seeking to find a gateway into another dimension. Having had some small success earlier, they solicit the help of a wealthy industrialist, Dwight Hartley (Barry Jones), who agrees to give them the necessary funds AND the use of a local power station, but only if--when they do cross over into that other dimension--they will look for his deceased son. This resorting to scientific methods only serves to miff a charlatan spiritualist, one Mrs. Palmer (the great character actress Gladys Cooper) and her wackadoodle henchman Edgar Price (future "Star Trek" alumnus Alfred Ryder), after their phony methods have been exposed by the Frazers' ally and co-researcher (Phillip Abbott). All seems to be going well with the Frazers' attempt to crack the door open into that other dimension, until Palmer and Price, in a manner never sufficiently explained, manage to break into the power plant and sabotage the works by dumping a toolbox into a functioning generator...leading to all hell breaking loose indeed! For the life of me, I cannot explain why I love this episode as much as I do. The characters are not sufficiently fleshed out and there really isn't much in the way of suspense or scares. And it almost feels as if half the episode is comprised of the Frazers testing their power plant equipment and uttering such techie mumbo jumbo as "1-2-zero to red line...1-stroke-1-1-stroke-7...polarity minus 3-9 degrees...." Still, the episode just works for me. The power station set looks fantastic and convincing, "OL" creator Leslie Stevens has supplied a nicely literate script (for what little real dialogue there is), the photography by John Nickolaus is moody and effective, and director Stevens gives us some wonderful close-up shots of his actors. But basically, the episode is just an excuse to wow the audience with some of the most incredible effects of any "OL" episode, and at that it succeeds wildly. Indeed, the final 10 minutes of this episode are a nonstop barrage of visual and aural pyrotechnics that stun both the eye and ear. Effects wise, I would say that this is surely the acme of any "OL" hour. Stevens would go on to mention that he "wanted to get what was later called the psychedelic look, to blow everyone's mind"...and he surely did, at that. I would never suggest the use of mind-enhancing drugs here, but man, is this episode ever made for the lysergically enhanced viewer!

I can't say enough about those final 10 minutes of this episode, in which Ian is trapped in an ion rain wilderness while his wife valiantly attempts to pull him out. I have no idea how the filmmakers pulled off their eye candy tricks here, as well as the aural effects, but wow, do they ever hold up fantastically, now more than half a century later! Reportedly, the effects for this final sequence cost $14,000, which doesn't sound like a lot today, but was enough to constitute a budget buster for this series back when. Director Byron Haskin, who had previously helmed such "psychotronic" pictures as "The Naked Jungle" (a personal favorite of mine) and "From the Earth to the Moon," not to mention such "OL" masterpieces as "The 100 Days of the Dragon" and "The Architects of Fear," was called in to assist with the effects here, earning himself a gold star from me...belatedly, of course. Of all the 49 episodes in this landmark series, few have topped "The Borderland," it seems to me, when it comes to suggesting "the awe and mystery" that the Control Voice speaks of in the beginning of every episode; not for nothing are the actual words "the outer limits" spoken by that Voice in the intro to this episode and in no other. Just look at that bizarre landscape that Frazer sees through the ion rain. The writers of Golden Age sci-fi were desirous of suggesting a "sense of wonder" to their readers, and that is just what this episode does for me...suggest awe and mystery and wonder. Capped by a sweet message regarding the Power of Love, this episode turns out to be a memorable one, indeed...despite the lack of monsters. Surely, an undervalued outing for this series.


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