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The Influence Of Science Fiction Essay

1297 words - 6 pages

Films do and have always reflected society because they show what's important to people. Films demonstrate fads and hot button issues. Film is not only a piece of art but also a tool of social reform as it expresses the feelings of humans and their idea of contemporary society. Films are the mirror that reflect the society. They are controlled by powerful forces that filter information to the public as well as reflect their fears. This has been held true in the film industry for many decades. For example, when society had a fear of widespread crime then there were many films that reflected the police catching the criminals. When society felt that the schools were not educating the children ...view middle of the document...

This lead to feelings of paranoia about what that power would bring to the country. Senator Joseph McCarthy practiced publicly accusing people of disloyalty to the United States and of being Communists. He worked to prosecute them for espionage for selling or giving American security secrets to communist governments.
The 1956 science fiction film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers played out almost like a satire of the fear of Communism and the McCarthy trials that the country was experiencing in the 50s. It was very aggressive in its anti-Communism message. In the film, the alien invasion occurs as citizens of a small California town are replaced by emotionless alien pods. Individual experiences and wants are replaced by communal good. It reminded America through the pod transformation – sleep – that if they are blind to the threat of Communism then they too will be, as the film suggested, next. It was considered a cautionary tale.
Another science fiction movie called The Blob developed the theme of communism and espionage. The blob from outer space was an unidentifiable creature that swallowed everything in its path and expanded in individuals’ fears. This related to the targets of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s red scare accusations. It further illustrated the mass hysteria in America.
Americans also feared radiation – the Atomic bomb. After World War II, the United States assumed that they were way ahead of the Soviet Union in terms of weapons and power. Then, on September 3rd, 1949, the Soviets suddenly detonated an atomic bomb. This basically started the Cold War and the arms race began. Nuclear testing proceeded and scientists also discovered the effects of nuclear weapons. The fallout would result in birth defects and other harmful and potentially fatal heath conditions. Americans feared the number and range of the powerful nuclear weapons. As a result many people built bomb shelters and bunkers under their homes not knowing that the heat of the bomb would bake them in their shelters.
The fear of nuclear arms was a predominant feature in the 1950s with the decade filled with nuclear bomb tests and the assumption that America would sooner or later be attacked by nuclear weapons. This fear was evident in the science fiction films made in that decade. The Japanese, who had already suffered the most from the atomic fallout, were foremost in delivering this terror on film. Godzilla was the result of the American atomic ability. Godzilla wreaked havoc on Tokyo and Japanese citizens. Godzilla can be seen as a metaphor for the horrors the Japanese people endured and was a way to face their fears in the safety of a movie theater.
American filmmakers were also concerned with the consequences of nuclear...

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