Director: Don Richardson
Writer: Carey Wilber
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, and Sean McClory
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 4/12/1967
Production #: 9529
Discovering a space-time portal, Will travels to a haunted castle in Scotland. Once there, the Robinson boy is greeted by Hamish (Sean McClory)—a bag-piping ghost whose Uncle Angus, a horrifying creature, lives in a swamp. Although Major West manages to reopen the portal and rescue Will, an uninvited guest follows him through the dimensional gateway.
“The Astral Traveler” contains all the elements of a captivating ghost story: dungeons, torture chambers, and wailing noises that could chill even the toughest of horror movie enthusiasts. That being said, the eerie tropes featured in Carey Wilber’s narrative are never strung together in a coherent, semi-plausible fashion.
Upon arriving on Earth, Will finds himself surrounded by props and devices of a ghoulish variety. Immediately thereafter, a monster covered in seaweed emerges from a body of water, startling the young lad with a ghastly cry—a terrifying sequence that will appeal to those who enjoy the subtle, creepy classics produced by Universal Studios during the 1930s.
While exploring a cave with Dr. Smith, Will encounters a revolving door that leads directly to Earth. Though likely a result of budgetary constraints, the use of an actual door to represent a temporal anomaly weakens the (already somewhat dubious) credibility of this episode.
Similar to “Catspaw” (the Star Trek Halloween special), “The Astral Traveler” employs gothic material in a science fiction setting—a rare combination that may intrigue fans of the sci-fi/horror crossover genre. It should be noted, however, that the futuristic themes of Lost in Space are blended poorly with the Earth-bound portion of Wilber’s aforementioned narrative; specifically, viewers may question why the dimensional rift teleports Will to his home world—one planet out of countless billions—instead of another location in the galaxy.
For those in search of a delightful treat to view during Halloween season, “The Astral Traveler” will not disappoint. Nevertheless, this offering deserves criticism for its muddled, if not thoroughly nonsensical, direction.
Overall Quality: 5/10
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