The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Film Trace

Feb 11 2024 • 1 hr 11 mins

In the eighth and final episode of our Future Wars season, we discuss the sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) alongside the b-movie stunner Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).

Alas we have come to the finale of our Future Wars cycle. It has been a long season with a super-sized eight episode run. Sci-fi is often a real bummer. Most of the movies we covered this season depicted humanity's future as a nightmarish dystopia. Here we trace back the genre to its roots.

The Day the Earth Stood Still established many sci-fi genre conventions while Invasion of the Body Snatchers brilliantly depicted the nebulous unease that took over American domestic life in 1950s. The start of the Cold War did a real number on Americans. The real threat of nuclear annihilation doused the tranquil domesticity of new suburbia in caustic self-doubt and a deep fear of outsiders. But whereas more recent Future War films demonstrated the totalizing destruction of AI, aliens, or ourselves, these films from the 1950s had less fatalistic finales. Perhaps the actual threat of destruction gave them reason to think of an imagined way out.

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