Robert Culp, Salome Jens, G.B. Atwater, Ken Renard, David Garner
A guy with a metal plate in his head begins to hear the voices of talking rocks.
This episode frequently ends up on fan’s lists of favorite episodes. The episode’s premise sounds silly: alien, telepathic rocks control people. Somehow, it all works, and is creepy to boot. Credit must go to Robert Culp (“I Spy”), who is credible as a man, with a metal plate in his head, who thinks he’s going crazy because he hears voices no one else does.
A doctor with a metal plate in his head bangs his noggin in a geology lab. Soon, he’s hearing talking rocks that no one else can hear.
The doctor, thinking he’s going crazy, goes on a Mexican vacation with his wife. A scientist from the geology lab, now controlled by the rock creatures, pursues them.
In Mexico, the doctor’s wife is turned into a rock controlled zombie also. Fighting for his life, the doctor kills his wife and the scientist. After he starts a fire, the rock creatures, which controlled his wife and the scientist, are also killed.
Director Gerd Oswald’s, CORPUS EARTHLING, is a weird, paranoid Sci-Fi yarn.
Robert Culp, almost a series regular on “The Outer Limits,” gives a sterling performance under Oswald’s masterful direction. He’s extremely persuasive as man who thinks he may be going crazy. When he says, “I think I’m going insane,” we believe him.
Salome Jens is warm and compassionate as Culp’s wife. This makes it all the more disturbing when she transforms into an alien-controlled zombie.
The Teleplay, by Orin Borsten, contains some pointed dialogue. When a doctor tells Culp that there’s little chance of the metal plate in his head becoming jarred loose, Culp tartly replies, “There was very little chance of the Titanic going down.” Good point.
My favorite scene is when the alien rocks telepathically tell Culp to jump from a window ledge, and Culp almost does. This is an oddly convincing scene, giving one the feeling of what it might actually be like to have voices in your head, telling you to do self destructive things.
The primary FX involve wiggling, “breathing” rocks that transform into black crab-like creatures. The transformation scenes are good, although the resulting crab creatures, (with lights for eyes), look a bit rubbery. The transformation scenes are courtesy of Project Unlimited Inc., and M.B. Paul of the Optical Effects Unit.
Director of Photography, Conrad Hall, does his usual good job. Particularly effective is his use of canted, (tilted), camera angles.
The music is tense, helping to weave a growing mood of paranoia. Dominic Frontiere is the responsible party.
CORPUS EARTHLING should be highly watchable for most Sci-Fi viewers. Robert Culp fans will be particularly delighted.