Mind-boggling Invasions and Loss of Boundaries: The Posthuman in Postwar Era Movies

The Postwar Era and Anti-Communism

            “They’re already here, you’re next!”(1), one simple line from the classic sci-fi movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers was able to capture one of the greatest fears during the 1940s and the 1950s; the idea that Communist spies or subversives were already scattered throughout society and were taking over step by step. And not just taking over the country, but slowly turning the country into one of theirs as well.
            As a consequence, a countermovement suddenly found greater support than ever. McCarthyism flourished for ten years, between 1946 and 1956(2). Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy became a household name after his announcement at a women’s club in Wheeling, West-Virginia, that 205 communists held office at the state department. The ensuing witch-hunt for Communist subversives shook the country to its core, involving every political sphere from left to right(3).
            Indeed, as Michael Rogin identified, this countersubversive imagination or tradition had its hay-day during the postwar era. The notion existed that “some kind of alien external force had entered the body politic and threatened to destroy it from within”(4). Needless to say, this trend did not go unnoticed and many artists, moviemakers and writers, criticized the hysteria. As Bryan Vizzini argues, this deep-seated social and political conservatism shaped the decade along with its cinematic productions (5).

Contents of this path: