Digital History

Postwar America: 1945 - 1960

Paranoid Style Previous Next
Digital History ID 3420



The film was titled Invasion of the Body Snatcher. Winds carried seed pods into the small California town of Santa Mira. Apparently a result of nuclear tests in the New Mexico desert, the pods had acquired the capacity to gain possession of human bodies. In Santa Mira, the pods began to replace individual townspeople. Children began to notice that adults weren't themselves, that they lacked emotion. A local doctor investigated only to discover that the police chief and other local dignitaries had become pawns of the invaders.

The film's themes--infiltration and mind control--reflected some of the preoccupations of the Cold War period. A certain paranoid style, a way of viewing everything in conspiratorial terms, permeated the early Cold War years. It was seen in the ratings of Joe McCarthy and in the tough language of the Truman Doctrine. It was also seen in popular culture.

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