All of the social and political unrest going on in the world reminds me that our world really hasn’t ever been that peaceful of a place. A great example of this would be Don Siegel’s 1956 “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. The Atomic Age is usually looked back on as a wonderful time, time when men were men and women were women, there were white picket fences in every lawn and the milk man stopped by to deliver your dairy goods.
This isn’t a total farce. Although we usually do tend to look back on things a little more fondly than we should, the Atomic Age really was a wonderful time. So much so that people like myself start blogs about the time period constantly. However, McCarthyism is definitely a big red wine stain on the white tablecloth that was post World War II America. Leave it to Science Fiction to create one of the best allegories for the Red Scare.
Hey, Wikipedia, thanks for making this easier:
In the fictional town of Santa Mira, California, Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy), a local doctor, finds a rash of patients accusing their loved ones of being impostors. Another patient is a former sweetheart of his; recent divorcée Becky Driscoll (Dana Wynter), who tells him that her cousin, Wilma, has this same strange fear about Uncle Ira.
Assured at first by the town psychiatrist, Dr. Dan Kaufman (Larry Gates), that the cases are nothing but “epidemic mass hysteria,” Bennell soon discovers, with the help of his friend Jack Belicec (King Donovan), that the townspeople are in fact being replaced by perfect physical duplicates, simulacrums grown from giant plant-like pods. The Pod People are indistinguishable from normal people, except for their utter lack of emotion. The Pod People work together to secretly spread more pods — which grew from “seeds drifting through space for years” — in order to replace the entire human race.
The film climaxes with Bennell and Driscoll attempting to escape the Pod People, intending to warn the rest of humanity. They hide; Driscoll fights an overwhelming urge to sleep, but when she briefly drifts away, she is instantly subverted, becoming one of the Pod People. With the Pod People close behind, a seemingly crazed Bennell runs onto the highway frantically screaming about the alien force which has overrun Santa Mira to the passing motorists and (in a moment that is considered a breaking of the Fourth Wall) looks into the camera and yells, “They’re here already! You’re next! You’re next!”
Finally, Bennell is picked up by the police and questioned in a clinic. The policemen in charge do not believe his account— until they receive news of an accident in which a truck carrying strange giant bean pods is opened. The police are quick to alert the authorities; the message has been received, but the actual end of the story is left open.