In a class that focused on 1950s cinema, taught by Dr. David King, at Kennesaw State University, this writer learned all about the true meanings behind one of the most unique science fiction (Sci-Fi) films of all time. Social commentary on the world around us is not a new subject. Various social commentary can be said in cinema even if they are underlying messages. This can particularly be found in the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). Paranoia has always been deeply rotted in the thriller and Sci-Fi genres, as well as society. As long as people can conjure up ideas this paranoia will always exist. Imagination soon becomes a very dangerous device in turn. Imagination plus paranoia often times equates to a lack of trust among people. As far as we know someone could hijack the plane we are on and we could be apart of yet another terrorist attack. Some random student in distress could walk into a classroom shooting anyone he pleases. And that guy in the parking garage could have been following our every move for weeks plotting when we are going to be all alone. The fact of the matter is any of this could be happening to any given one of us at any given time. The world is full of “what ifs”. The world as we know it could change depending on viewpoints of those around us in addition to the unknown and underlying threats lurking around every corner. Society dictates us to conform and be a paranoid person fearful of what could happen next. This is a concept that can be found in various underlying meanings within each and every version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers made it clear that a thriller and/or science fiction film could be made and have deeper meanings in regard to society. Most people would just list Communism as the underlying theme of the film. After all, there are also other elements that include the conformity that are not just communist based. This does not mean that elements of Communism is not scattered throughout the film. For instance, the “pod people” wants everyone to be alike and equal that is one of the first steps toward communism. And as various people have written, all communism takes to spread the word is one neighbor getting the idea that communism was a well derived plan and convincing the person across the street of the same idea. Everything is good when equal. Everything is easier when equal. In the film, everything would be easier without emotions. After all, having emotions flaw us and make us want and yearn for things that tend to make our lives far too complicated. Eventually we will mess up in other areas of our lives that are more important due to these complications even. Communist viewpoints are riddled throughout the film. Listen to the small groupings of people getting together in homes late at night stating that you will be next. All these “pod people” want after all is their utopia. What is so wrong with their utopia? All they were doing was being a bit obsessive and very efficient to get what they wanted. Everyone needed to conform and to be one of them. Maybe that was because they realized that one really cannot escape conforming in one way or another so they figured the idea make them conforming okay. After all, “there’s no need for love…Love. Desire. Ambition. Faith. Without them, life is so simple.”
Some people might even say it was also about McCarthyism. After all it was during this time that the Hollywood blacklisting occurred. People’s minds were also dealing with the possibility of a nuclear war. In a world like that who would not want to at least consider the idea of Communism and conform to it. In the film two of the main scenes that remind this writer of such issues is once when Wilma is talking to Becky’s father and the scene where Miles goes to his secretary’s home in order to get help. This is in large fact that she is the only person he can trust. When he gets there though he realizes that have already all conformed and there is no one on his side anymore. In fact, at the point it is hard to believe that neither Becky nor Miles are going to be able to get out of the town without being conformed. The true Hollywood blacklist reference of the film is the ending epilogue that was added where Miles does convince authorities that such an invasion is happening in Santa Mira. All things considered, if he does not say anything the threat is not contained in just the Santa Mira area, but will spread throughout the world. And no one wants such horrors to spread neither by the word of mouth nor in any other form. This is why people needed to be contained and why the Hollywood Ten needed to be blacklisted.
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