The answer, of course, is through a series of cheesy horror and sci-fi movies from the ’50s, ’60s and ’90s.
First up: Beyond the Time Barrier (1960)
Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, who also made The Black Cat (which some people quite like) and The Amazing Transparent Man (which I quite like), among other things.
OVERVIEW: Okay, this was sort of dull. How dull? Well, I fell asleep watching it the first time through. However, that was probably due to my mysterious “condition” (see above) as much as anything else. (Shhhh! Don’t tell my mom.) The second time through, I stayed awake right until the end, so how bad could it be?
WHAT HAPPENS: An air Force test pilot (played by Robert Clarke, who also starred in The Hideous Sun Demon and The Man From Planet X) flies his jet plane really really fast, really really high up in the atmosphere. As a result, he gets projected 64 years into the future.
WTF MOMENT: See “What Happens,” above.
HOW WE KNOW WE’RE IN THE FUTURE: People live underground mostly. There are two classes of people: the normal-looking ones who take our hero captive – until he makes friends with Awesome Future Girl Hottie – and the evil subterranean mutants who live, well, subterraneanly. Also, the dominant architectural feature is the triangle. Which is sort of cool actually. Triangular doors, windows, columns. Even the clothes are kind of triangle-influenced.
YES, BUT ARE THERE MONSTERS? Sort of. Those subterranean “mutants” are essentially normal-looking people with skinhead wigs and crummy attitudes. They’re the victims of the plague that hit the earth in the distant future of 1970. Everybody has it, by the way – the mutants just have it worse than everyone else.
DOES THE AWESOME FUTURE GIRL HOTTIE TALK? No.
WAIT, REALLY? Really. Our Air Force buddy makes friends with the one still-fertile fox in the future – she’s telepathic so can read his mind and knows what he wants, but can’t talk about it. She’s the greatest gal ever! I’ll leave all you feminist-theory PhD students to write up your dissertations.
DOES OUR HERO ESCAPE THIS HELLISH FUTURE THAT HE NEVER MADE? Well, yes and no. [Spoilers!] He gets to his plane but pretty much everybody dies helping him do it, including Silent Sally, which is too bad. Then he flies back at the same super-speed and winds up back in 1960, charged with changing mankind’s reckless behavior (you know, the ones that brought on the cosmic plague in the first place). He might not get much of an audience, but then again he might… especially since he aged 64 years during his return trip!!!
Don’t think about it too much, it makes no sense whatever.
Cue music. Roll credits.