FLM 125 — Cold War Shivers: Sci-Fi Scare Films of the Fifties!
In this course, we will consider a selection of key 1950s sci-fi films that exploited everyday fears in creative ways, including Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Don Siegel’s critique of conformity rooted in McCarthyite Cold War paranoia. This and other films covered in the course—The Thing, Them!, Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, It Came from Outer Space, and The Incredible Shrinking Man—offered 1950s audiences a variety of thrilling scenarios predicated on wild nuclear nightmares, hostile visitors from alien worlds, and creeping realizations that science had finally gone mad. Audiences embraced these strangely exciting pictures, making them among the highest-grossing films of the decade.
Each of these six films, all enduring examples of a largely misunderstood and maligned genre, will be discussed with respect to their meanings and subtexts—without losing sight of the pure entertainment value they provide.
All films can be rented or streamed instantly through Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play Movies, or other online platforms.