Beyond the Time Barrier

August 19, 2014 at 1:24 am (7 Heads, Beyond the Time Barrier) (, , , , , , , )

Beyond the Time Barrier – 1960 – United States

While testing an experimental suborbital jet, a pilot is inadvertently warped 60 years into the future. Earth is a wasteland. Atomic tests in the late 20th century destroyed the ozone layer, bombarding the planet with cosmic radiation. Bald mutant savages roam the surface while civilization hides in a high-tech underground citadel. The underground dwellers are deaf, mute, and sterile. Their only hope for survival is a cute girl with ESP who can somehow bear children.

The time-traveling pilot ends up in the citadel where its ruler wants to breed him with the only fertile female. He also encounters other time-displaced people with ambiguous motivations. The pilot’s morals are probed as he decides his place in this new world.

Beyond the Time Barrier’s vision of the future may not be realistic, but it is certainly imaginative, and its history is detailed. The dying society in the citadel evokes pathos, and the aims of the conflicting factions are intriguing. The cavernous citadel complex features a motif of upside-down pyramids that is both futuristic and ancient. Surveillance devices are ubiquitous, which is predictive. Also potentially predictive is that the apocalypse was not caused by nuclear war but by environmental disaster.

Beyond the Time Barrier was directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, director of numerous other cheap but creative films. Some personal favorites are Bluebeard (1944) and Detour (1945). The film was produced by Robert Clarke, who also stars. Robert Clarke is best known to genre fans as the director and star of The Hideous Sun Demon (1959).

Rating: 7/10 Shrunken Heads. Environmental disaster could happen by 2024. We might still be on track for Beyond the Time Barrier’s reality.

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