fantastic Cinema : the influence of The Fourth Dimension

THE FOURTH DIMENSION contains all the fears of the American sixties : the uniform, the over-consumption, individualism, the robots replacing the workforce, the threat of atomic, aliens… absolutely all the fears ! Created by the brilliant writer Rod Serling, who, through her short stories sought to denounce the impulses of gregarious of his contemporaries, an anthology of plays with a simple, mechanical and effective : a twist final offers a moral to each episode, while redefining the story told by a change of point of view or the revelation of a detail setting to low the deceptive appearances.

Fans of science-fiction and fantasy discovered with excitement, one of the works of the founders of the television, new media in full expansion. Designing the small screen as the perfect tool to establish a popular culture, Serling chose to present the narratives by the two approaches overlapped to the public. If the kinship is evident with the genre of the tale, and the moral dimension provided by the denouement of each episode, use the means of pedagogy to speak to the child which slumbers in every viewer, the series does not forget to consider the american public as an adult, deepening each story is a parable geopolitics on the cold war, or a satire of western society.

Explore then fifty years of cinema influenced by the legendary series. If the concepts in germ in some of the episodes have quickly invested the works of the sixties and seventies, the references to the fourth dimension and subsequently participated in the sense of the fun and entertainment of the 80’s; and the years 2000 and 2010 also pay their tribute to the work of Serling, by the frequent play of appropriation and rewriting of certain scenarios.



With 156 scripts at the counter, THE FOURTH DIMENSION has led to an impressive number of inventive concepts brewing in the collective imagination.

season 1, episode 15 : I Shot year Arrow into the Air. In this episode, the astronauts crash in full desert on a planet that is apparently hostile. After days of wandering, the last survivor of the group discovers that the desert is in reality that of Nevada, and that this hostile planet is Earth. Rod Serling is also the screenwriter of The Planet of the apes, the centerpiece of the science fiction movie released in 1968, four years after the end of the series; and if he is hired to adapt the novel of the same name by Pierre Boulle, Serling had the idea to add a more dramatic and more traumatic for the twist that he had written for this episode. Visually, the idea of confusion between a scenery of a desert of the Earth, and the image that the public is made of an unknown planet, seems to have inspired Peter Hyams for his paranoid Capricorn One, in which the main characters are disoriented and panicked are also astronauts.

season 1, episode 25 : People Are Alike All Over. Another piece of bravery written by Rod Serling, this episode ends with the nightmarish vision of a human trapped in a cage and exhibited in a zoo in front of an audience alien. Again, one can establish a relationship directly with the representation of human beings, captives of The Planet of the apes by Franklin Schaffner, thus losing their usual place of dominant race.

season 5, episode 2 : Steel. In this episode, the viewer discovers a world where boxing matches between humans are banned, men are therefore forced to direct the robots-boxers. Serling wrote 92 episodes of the series, but oddly enough he seemed to feel a strong need to put his pen and sometimes even go to sleep. Other writers shared then the rest of the work, and among them we should mention the novelist Richard Matheson, already highly esteemed at that time thanks to The Man who Shrinks and I am Legend. Matheson adapts its own new, which will be a longer version for the cinema in 2011, entitled Real Steel.

season 1, episode 23 : A world of difference. This episode is also the fruit of the fertile imagination of Richard Matheson, in which the boundaries between fiction and reality does not cease to diminish. The main character loses these marks and when he believes he peacefully live his life, he wonders if he is not, in the end, an actor playing a role. Disorders of identity similar to those of Truman, the hero of The Truman Show de Peter Weir, who discovers the protagonist of a reality tv show, and comes to question the entire artificiality of his life.

season 2, episode 8 : The Lateness of the Hour. In this episode, a young woman evolves in a world where robots are an integral part of daily life, before discovering at the twist end that she is actually a robot. It happens a mishap similar to the protagonist In His Image ( season 4, episode 1). The concept of the robot ignoring his condition, or the belief that he is a human being, is a dizzying existential that many of the authors of the vein cyberpunk have sought to explore in the sixties and seventies. Among these writers, Philip K. Dick, is noted with his legendary Blade Runner, adapted to film by Ridley Scott.

season 1, episode 7 : The Lonely. In this episode, an astronaut solitaire binds of affection with an android female named Alicia. Alicia ? Like Alicia Vikander, the actress portraying the seductive robot d’Ex Machina, the masterpiece ofAlex Garland ? Coincidence ?

season 1, episode 22 : The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street. In this episode, aliens cause a power failure in a small american town, and let discord come between the people. Writer lighthouse of the seventies, Stephen King has never hidden the influence first of the series on his work, also had the purpose of revealing the shortcomings of aggressive and impulsive of his compatriots, placing a community in a crisis situation. The threat is not external, it comes from the human and the collective does not fix anything. We find this vision of fierce humanity in The Myst, adapted to film by Frank Darabont, but also in the series Jericho and Revolution, where the disappearance of electricity and other modern amenities is fuelling the tensions.

season 1, episode 36 : A World of His Own. In this episode, a writer has a power of creation such that he can as well correct the details of his novels that elements of his life. If this story is openly treated as a fantasy tale, Stephen King’s approach to the concept through the thriller with Secret Window, adapted for the screen by David Koepp.

season 5, episode 14 : You Drive. In this episode, a car was turning against its owner, harasses, chases until he goes to the police and confesses to having killed a pedestrian. Again, the concept of a car with a conscience and aggressive impulses, seems to have inspired Stephen King to one of his most famous novels, Christine, adapted to film by John Carpenter. Also note that the hero of The Machinist de Brad Anderson, suffers from the same guilt that the driver of You Drive.

season 2, episode 13 : Back There. In this episode, a time warp that transports an american of the sixties, April 14, 1865, hours before Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. The trip in the time is without a doubt the concept the more successful the Fourth Dimension, and Stephen King has recently tried with 22/11/63, a novel adapted this year into a mini-series on the platform Hulu, where he is also the question of the assassination of an american president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.


Teens, fans of science-fiction and horror that were awaiting the weekly dose of thrills and thoughts as they produced the series, have one day grown up and left their room nerd, to become the kings of the entertainment hollywood, in the years four-twenty.

season 1, episode 8 : Time Enough at Last. A generation of filmmakers led by the prolific Steven Spielberg’s mission is to discover-or rediscover-the state of mind of the works of Serling and Matheson, adapting the series into a movie in 1983. In addition to Spielberg, George Miller and Joe Dante to the achievement of the different segments, we find John Landis at the helm of the prologue, where two men are having fun to tell strange stories. He took the opportunity to make reference to the eighth episode of the series, considered by many as one of the most cruel. In this episode, a man account to take advantage of being the last survivor on Earth to read novels, but it breaks the single pair of glasses he has. VDM.

season 5, episode 3 : Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. In this episode, the passenger of an airplane seen through a porthole, a species of creature that seems to take a perverse pleasure in sabotaging the reactor of the device. To write this episode, Richard Matheson was inspired to an urban legend widespread in the u.s. air force during the second world war; the pilots were called “gremlins” this breed of demon wreckers and he attributed the technical failures unexplained. If it is George Miller who is at the controls of the remake of Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, for the adaptation to cinema, it is to be noted that Joe Dante directed a different segment of the film. Dante, who will carry out the following year, the comedy horror Gremlins, also produced by Steven Spielberg.

season 1, episode 30 : A stop at Willoughby and season 1, episode 5 : Walking distance. In these two episodes, the main character finds thanks to a time warp, the America of his childhood is organized around small communities and values manichean. If at first glance, this type of story many times operated in the anthology appears to be a song, pastoral, which celebrates the return to a modest life in a modest town, Serling and his pool of writers knows how to return its values to better question our tendency towards nostalgia, and our apprehension of the passing of time. The Romantic image of the small town quiet american seems to have particularly influenced the mind of Robert Zemeckis who gives life to the character of Marty a similar trip in Back to the future, other production Spielberg’s iconic eighties. One can also cite the example of Peggy Sue got married by Francis Ford Coppola, where the heroine plunges in his youth, and wondered what changes to make in that time to change his destiny, in the manner of the protagonists of A stop at Willoughby and Walking Distance.

season 1, episode 1 : Where is everybody ? Small anecdote as I mentioned Back to the Future; the main prop of the pilot of the series, called Courthouse Square, is located in the studios of Universal and has served twenty-five years later, the trilogy Zemeckis to represent Hill Valley; and if you add the artificial snow you get the town of Kingston Falls, where the action takes place of Gremlins Joe Dante (everything is connected !).

season 2, episode 22 : Long Distance Call. Other production for Spielberg, another success at the box-office, Poltergeist from Tobe Hooper has traumatized its audiences with its story of a little girl persecuted by a poltergeist. Poltergeist 2 directed by Brian Gibson made an explicit citation to the Long Distance Call where a little boy received a phone call from her grand-mother died, since Carol-Ann, the young heroine lives in exactly the same situation paranormal.

season 1, episode 31 : The Chaser. Let’s give George A. Romero , which is Romero, a year before the adaptation film of the Fourth Dimension, the master of the horror had already exhumed the remains of a famous anthology of his adolescence. The Tales from the crypt appeared in the fifties on the form of comic books monthly, bringing together a variety of short stories, disturbing or quite frankly disgusting; and Romero paid tribute to this monument of popular culture in realizing Creepshow, in which all the sketches are signed Stephen King (but since I tell you that everything is connected !). The loop was clearly buckled when the TV series aired on HBO following the success of the film, offered a story entitled “Loved to Death, dealing through the horror the episode The Chaser, was treated in a tone of caustic irony. In this episode, a man uses a love potion to conquer a woman, before bitterly regret this love-invasive.

season 1, episode 9 : Perchance to Dream. In this episode, a patient confided to his psychiatrist that he was confident that if he dies in a dream, he died actually in his sleep. The man eventually falling asleep and dreaming of his dead on the couch of the psychiatrist, and when he tries to wake him up, he finds out that he is actually dead. Dying in a dream means a real death, this rule of the game does it remind you of anything ? Wes Craven used as a starting point for the saga nightmare of Claws of the night, and in another genre, Christopher Nolan will become one of the physical laws of the dream world ofInception.



The influence of the series has not dried up since the eighties, and by carefully looking at what the fantastic cinema has produced in the last fifteen years, we discover a pack of scenarios-like versions extended of some episodes.

season 1, episode 11 : And When the Sky Was Opened. In this episode, while he is hospitalized after a crash, an astronaut sees his teammates disappear without any member of the health care team does not understand the nature of the phenomenon. Everyone around him seems to have forgotten these men, and soon the heroes will suffer the same fate, as if it had never existed. With Remember, the film director Tyler Oliver is living the same nightmare awakened to a teenager, seeing his friends disappear one by one, and be erased of the memories, in what could be called a slasher abstract.

season 1, episode 21 : Mirror Image. This episode uses the legendary figure of the “doppelganger”, which is double the evil in the folklore of the netherlands. That may as well symbolize the approach of death as a guilt unconscious, the doppelganger comes here to torment a young woman appearing and following her everywhere she tries to escape : The protagonists of’Another Me ofIsabel Coixet, and The Double from Richard Ayoade suffer the same torments.

season 5, episode 4 : A Kind of a Stopwatch. In this episode, a man is offered by a mysterious stranger, a watch that can stop time. If the object is very useful during a burglary, the owner will eventually break and will remain forever trapped in a rigid world. If it is a pocket watch, the gadget also exists in his version of the bracelet, as it is presented in Top Chronos by Jonathan Frakes.

season 2, episode 17 : Twenty-Two. In this episode, a young woman makes a series of prophetic dreams that led him to fear the number 22; this omen, she waives the right to board a plane, which explodes shortly after takeoff. James Wong has traumatized a generation of viewers with the saga Final Destination; remember the first one : the hero is also a premonitory dream, which allows him to survive an air disaster.

season 3, episode 34 : Young Man’s Fancy. In this episode, a man who is not able to do the mourning of his mother, sees her childhood re-emerge and invest in the decoration of the family house : the modern appliances is mysteriously replaced by the old models, the caramels that made his mother appear in the plates, etc., The heroine ofAbandoned of Nacho Cerda returns to the house of his childhood, and saw a similar phenomenon where time seems to turn back.

season 2, episode 26 : Shadow Play. In this episode, a man condemned to death, revit desperately the day of his execution, every time that he thinks to be issued by the death, he found himself in the court, at the time of the verdict. This idea of time loop is also great as the evil to the novelist Charles Beaumont, who wrote 22 episodes for the series. In Haunter by Vincenzo Natali, a girl is also constrained to relive endlessly the last day of his life, and that of his entire family massacred by a serial killer.

season 2, episode 19 : Mr. Dingle, the Strong. In this episode, aliens are a test of the degree of civilization of the land, giving one of them a physical strength extraordinary, then intelligence is prodigious. Terry Jones has clearly been influenced by the history of the most burlesque of the anthology, since the hero ofAbsolutely anything gets him also by his superhuman powers as a result of a bet between aliens.

season 5, episode 6 : Living Doll. In this episode, a little girl receives a doll as a birthday gift from his parents; they will regret their action because of the doll looking to the murder, and that each time they are trying to get rid of it, the object of the demon reappears unharmed in their home. The toy evil has since become a figure used in the cinema of horror, and the reality catches up sometimes fiction to believe in the strange matter, on which were called the Warren, mentioned in the prologue of The Conjuring de James Wan, before giving place to the film Annabelle de John R. Leonetti.

season 2, episode 10 : A Most Unusual Camera. In this episode, three thieves find a strange camera in a junk shop, the device allows you to have an image of five minutes in the future. In the movie Time Lapse by Bradley King, three friends find a machine similar, with the difference that its pictures reveal the future, with a period of twenty-four hours.

season 5, episode 17 : Number Twelve Looks Just Like You. This episode takes place in a futurist society where all men and women have the same physical, made from the proposed models. A young girl refuses to undergo transformation and acquire a physical and a spirit perfect, like the rest of the society in which she lives. The novelist Scott Westerfeld was inspired by this episode to write his trilogy of books, questioning the canons of beauty and eugenics. In the tradition of dystopic narratives for teens, an adaptation of the first book Uglies, it is currently in draft.

Difficult to establish an exhaustive list of all the heirs, whether direct or indirect, of The Fourth Dimension; and the influence of the series on the various types is not near to be exhausted, since today’s audiences, biberonnés entertainment Spielbergiens, are in some way the heirs of the heirs. If it was much more a question of cinema in this article, it would also be a good idea to draw up the same family tree for the tv. The series has seen the birth of two little sisters, The Fifth Dimension, following the success of the film in 1985, and then The Thirteenth Dimension in 2002, incorporating both the principle of the anthology. And most recently, the disturbing English collection Black Mirror, produced by Netflix, is present in a distorted reflection and unforgiving of our society, thus echoing the torch of Rob Serling and his accomplices.


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