Cheeseburger Gothic

The upside of Sputnik hysteria

Posted March 27 by John Birmingham

From today's ASB:

It was Stephen King who told me that for every era there was a movie, specifically a horror movie. And no, he didn’t tell me personally. But he did write it in Danse Macabre, the extended teaser trailer for his later how-to book On Writing. King had a theory that the defining fears of an era work themselves out in its pulp fiction.

It seemed profound when I read it (but I was fourteen and at that age the lyrics to Dr Hook’s “You Make My Pants Want To Get Up And Dance” could seem profound). The King cited convincing support for his theory from 1950s cinema, a golden era for terrible alien invasion flicks. Deranged howlers like Plan 9 From Outer Space and serious genre efforts like the The Day The Earth Stood Still—come on, it won a Golden Globe, people—all landed on fertile ground prepared by ‘Sputnik hysteria’.

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