Invasion '51 (hardback): The Birth of Alien Cinema

Sean Kotz

Invasion '51 (hardback): The Birth of Alien Cinema
BearManor Media
27 July 2022

Invasion ‘51 (hardback): The Birth of Alien Cinema

Sean Kotz

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Between March and September of 1951, three very different films launched a new Hollywood genre, the alien invasion feature, defining our cultural expectations for extraterrestrial contact in the process. Where The Thing from Another World gives us the first movie monster capable of total human annihilation, The Day the Earth Stood Still provides a messianic messenger who unmasks our own destructive potential. And then there is The Man from Planet X, whose ambiguous alien may have gotten some clandestine design help from the C.I.A.

Invasion ‘51 charts the historical and cinematic context for these films, and analyzes each from several angles including their symbolism, messaging, legacies and cultural impacts. Through intensive research, the book resolves mysteries and corrects misconceptions as well. Why did Hollywood switch from mad scientists to scientist heros in the '50s? Were Howard Hawks’ jokes simple punchlines or was there something else going on? Did Frank Lloyd Wright have a hand in designing Klaatu’s spaceship? Why does the description of the Planet X spacecraft differ from its appearance on screen?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Like many readers of this book, Sean Kotz’s love of classic horror and science fiction began as a child and never dissipated. He is a writer, researcher, documentary filmmaker and educator from Virginia. He has taught film, literature and writing at Virginia Tech and Radford University, where he currently teaches genre film courses.

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