Movies that show the grim consequences of quantum research?
March 22, 2006 11:38 AM   Subscribe

Please help me name books/stories/movies where scientific experiment opens some kind of link to another dimension or timeline, with horrific results.

Included would be things like "A Sound of Thunder", for its unsettling alternate-reality-future, and the myth of the Philadelphia Experiment. Excluded would be things like Evil Dead, since the rift is opened by supernatural experiments, not scientific.
posted by agropyron to Media & Arts (59 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Doom series of video games does this.
posted by aubilenon at 11:39 AM on March 22, 2006


Stargate?
posted by clh at 11:41 AM on March 22, 2006


Event Horizon
posted by edd at 11:43 AM on March 22, 2006


Half-Life's resonance cascade
posted by frogan at 11:44 AM on March 22, 2006


Timeline, by Michael Crichton
posted by frogan at 11:45 AM on March 22, 2006


The film "From Beyond." Also, "Re-animator" and "Bride of Re-animator."
posted by CMichaelCook at 11:45 AM on March 22, 2006


Stephen King's short story, "The Jaunt" has a similar plot device.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 11:46 AM on March 22, 2006


"The Brooklyn Project," a short story by William Tenn, does the "changes in the past change the future" time travel thing. It's transcribed at the bottom of this page.
posted by Gator at 11:46 AM on March 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


The Terminator, especially with its story-looping-back-on-itself concept (Cyberdyne only exists because it found the pieces of the Terminator in the past ... which was created by Cyberdyne in the future ... which traveled back into the past to kill Sarah Conner ... who killed it and left it for Cyberdyne to find ... etc, etc.)
posted by frogan at 11:47 AM on March 22, 2006


Actually, strike those last two. Scientific experiments, yes; alternate timeline/reality, no.
posted by CMichaelCook at 11:47 AM on March 22, 2006


buckaroo banzai
posted by poppo at 11:47 AM on March 22, 2006


Singularity by William Sleator. It's a young adult book that I read back in the day and enjoyed, though I have little memory of it now. The first review on the Amazon page I link to gives a detailed synopsis, though it's still unclear whether a scientific experiment opened the gate or not (I remember something like that though. Dimly.)
posted by ibeji at 11:48 AM on March 22, 2006


Lethem's And She Climbed Across the Table - sort of - although I don't know if "terrifying" is the best way to describe it.
posted by luriete at 11:48 AM on March 22, 2006


Stephen King's short story, "The Mist" also hints that a research station opens up a doorway to another dimension, but this is not stated explicitly.
posted by frogan at 11:50 AM on March 22, 2006


that tv show sliders
posted by poppo at 11:50 AM on March 22, 2006


Event Horizon. Buckaroo Banzai. Probably countless others that I'm too lazy to think of right now.
posted by neckro23 at 11:50 AM on March 22, 2006


The story "The Little Black Bag" by C. M. Kornbluth. Maybe not exactly what you're looking for, but in the neighborhood. The results are certainly horrific.

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. LeGuin, though a plausible sounding scientific reason for the protagonist's ability is never really given, so that may be more in the fantasy arena by default.

Brian Lumley's The Source, volume 3 of his Necroscope! series.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:52 AM on March 22, 2006


watchmen, the comic, sort of...those who know what i'm talking about perhaps should not spoil it by discussing the end
posted by poppo at 11:52 AM on March 22, 2006


Response by poster: I was just going to say, Watchmen!
posted by agropyron at 11:54 AM on March 22, 2006


Quantum Leap (not horrific, but very unsettling)
A Wrinkle in Time (book was better than the movie)
Time After Time (H.G. Wells pursues Jack the Ripper across time)
posted by UnclePlayground at 11:55 AM on March 22, 2006


Altered States with William Hurt.

Brainstorm with Christopher Walken.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (altered past reality).

That one episode of The Simpsons where home invents a time machine out of a toaster and ends up in the Flandersverse.

Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise, and the original French version of that (Open Your Eyes)?

Any Mirror-Mirror Universe episode of Star Trek. :)
posted by smallerdemon at 11:55 AM on March 22, 2006


Er, sorry, wehre Homer invents a time machine... blah blah blah
posted by smallerdemon at 11:56 AM on March 22, 2006


Asimov's "The Gods Themselves", though the dimensional portal involved is virtual, involving only particles, and the horrific consequences are a bit subtle at first. And Julian May's Pliocene Saga.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:57 AM on March 22, 2006


Response by poster: smallerdemon, in Eternal Sunshine and Vanilla Sky, all the weird stuff is entirely within someone's mind, not involving dimension or time shifts at all.
posted by agropyron at 11:58 AM on March 22, 2006


Einstein's Bridge
posted by justkevin at 12:00 PM on March 22, 2006


Primer?
posted by Lucinda at 12:05 PM on March 22, 2006


Oh, um... Twelve Monkeys?
posted by UnclePlayground at 12:07 PM on March 22, 2006


agropyron - True enough. I think that's why they might fit to a large degree in that the reality in which those characters exist is dystopian since "reality" has become pick and choose. But yes, not exactly what he's asking for in the "known reality for everyone but one character has shifted to a horrific state"genre.

I might chance to say that They Live would fit the bill though. Although, that might be less science and more politics that causes the reality shift.

12 Monkeys maybe?
posted by smallerdemon at 12:11 PM on March 22, 2006


Primer is really good, and I was going to suggest it, with the caveat that it's just about time travel and its consequences. By definition this gets into issues of "alternate," but not alternate like Buckaroo Banzai.
posted by OmieWise at 12:14 PM on March 22, 2006


Oh, of course, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, if you read all the way through to the end of Mostly Harmless, ends up with what could be termed "horrific results."
posted by Gator at 12:17 PM on March 22, 2006


Response by poster: I was going to list Primer as a story that would be included, but I forgot to. So there you have it.
posted by agropyron at 12:17 PM on March 22, 2006


Horrific enough for ya?
Link to Wikipedia episode writeup
posted by rob511 at 12:19 PM on March 22, 2006


Frequency
posted by UnclePlayground at 12:22 PM on March 22, 2006


You might find this list of interest.
posted by UnclePlayground at 12:28 PM on March 22, 2006


This is slightly off-topic, both because it doesn't really concern an experiment and because the results are ultimately pretty good, but I've always been really impressed with The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynn Jones as an alternate reality book. It's a YA novel, so doesn't take long to read, and is about a kid who finds out that somehow a shadowy group of people have figured out how to "play" worlds as if they were Civilization types games. As a result he's exiled to wander from world to world, all of which are different, and he meets other similar exiles on the way. If you're interested in this type of thing I certainly think it's worth a read.
posted by OmieWise at 12:45 PM on March 22, 2006


Walter Tevis's "The Ifth of Oofth" (pdf, Google cache). I've never gotten this story out of my head since I read it decades ago (I can't believe I remembered the name accurately), and I'm delighted to see it's online. Short and scary.
posted by languagehat at 12:47 PM on March 22, 2006


No one has metioned Back to the Future II yet, where Marty comes back to a horrid version of 1985 when he loses the sports stats book to Biff.
posted by chiababe at 12:55 PM on March 22, 2006


Response by poster: That was a really great story, languagehat!
posted by agropyron at 1:13 PM on March 22, 2006


Eternal Sunshine doesn't match your criteria. However, I second the recommendation of King's short story "The Mist."
posted by WCityMike at 1:26 PM on March 22, 2006


"The Elegant Universe"

Here's a clip: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/

The DVD is fascinating.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 1:26 PM on March 22, 2006


Stephen King's short story, "The Jaunt" has a similar plot device.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 11:46 AM PST on March 22 [!]


Ooooh! I love "The Jaunt"! That freaked me out. I read it 20 something years ago. That is the best short story I ever read.

"It's longer than you think Dad!!!"
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 1:29 PM on March 22, 2006


Time and space, the theory of everything.

I like this. Makes you think.

link: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/everything.html
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 1:37 PM on March 22, 2006


"Sphere" by Chrichton?
posted by hermitosis at 1:43 PM on March 22, 2006


Wow, language hat, I really liked that story too. Great job finding it for us.
posted by jenovus at 2:16 PM on March 22, 2006


*languagehat. Sorry for the mix up.
posted by jenovus at 2:16 PM on March 22, 2006


Great story languagehat!

Farnsworth fucked up!
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 2:17 PM on March 22, 2006


Weapons of Choice by John Birmingham. 2030s naval experiment sends a bunch of ships back to World War II. The aftermath is described as, um, a bit icky.
posted by Electric Elf at 2:35 PM on March 22, 2006


In the film "Howard the Duck," an experiment opens a door between Earth and the Dark Overlords of the Universe. Jeffrey Jones, the principal from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," is possessed by an interdimensional destroyer (audio) and must battle this thing (video)
posted by inksyndicate at 2:40 PM on March 22, 2006


Can anyone post a copy of "The Jaunt" please?


From S King's "Skelaton Crew".
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 2:54 PM on March 22, 2006


"The Philadelphia Experiment"

Starring "Eddie" from "Eddie and the Cruisers"
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 2:55 PM on March 22, 2006


languagehat. Sorry for the mix up.

No problem. I'm "languagehat" here and "language hat" on my own blog for historical reasons that would put you to sleep; anyway, I answer to either. I'm just glad y'all liked the story!
posted by languagehat at 2:56 PM on March 22, 2006


Warren Ellis' comic series The Authority (and a number of spinoffs) involves another dimension called The Bleed. It's used for faster-than-light travel, but has the nasty side-effect of letting entities from The Bleed slip through and wreak havok.
posted by yerfatma at 3:24 PM on March 22, 2006


Craig Harrison's novella The Quiet Earth, and the 1985 Geoff Murphy movie of the same name.
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:34 PM on March 22, 2006


The Final Countdown

Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen ... the U.S.S. Nimitz sails into a strange Pacific storm and finds itself transported near Hawaii a few days before the Pearl Harbor attack.

"Damn, we're gonna let the Japs do it again."
posted by frogan at 3:52 PM on March 22, 2006


Another thanks for the story - and for the other answers. Good stuff.
posted by Staggering Jack at 6:40 PM on March 22, 2006


nth-ing the thanks to languagehat. I'm freaked out. :)
posted by fuzzbean at 7:25 PM on March 22, 2006


Cantata-140 by Philip K. Dick.
posted by gooddoggy at 10:10 PM on March 22, 2006


There's The Sterkarm Handshake by Susan Price, where a corporation opens up a time tunnel to the 16th century for the purposes of mining its resources. One of the workers falls in love with a 16th-sider. Lots of killing happens. There's a sequel called A Sterkarm Kiss. Good book!
posted by mdiskin at 10:45 PM on March 23, 2006


lh, great fucking story!
posted by OmieWise at 7:07 AM on March 27, 2006


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