The Red Scare and Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1954 science-fiction with moral and political undertones. The film begins with Miles, a patient (actually a doctor) in a mental institution, explaining to the caregivers that the world is being invaded by extraterrestrials. He details his accounts of patients of his own making appointments and suddenly canceling. He also encounters several patients that claim a close relative of theirs has been replaced by an impostor. After some investigation, Miles discovers several bodies that take on the characteristics of already existent people. He discovers plant-like pods that hatch human lookalikes to replace people with emotionless and less-individualistic persons.

Despite what the author of the original novel has to say about the film, the plot can still be interpreted as a product of the Red Scare. Several elements that exemplify the fear of communism can be seen throughout the film, such as the “loss of emotion” or the “loss of individuality”. These elements are the metaphorical embodiment of what the American public feared at the time: the loss of freedom as a result of communist invasion, especially by the Soviet Union. The feeling of imminent threat of communist invasion is conveyed by the stealthiness with which the extraterrestrials invade Earth.


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