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Monsters in the MachineScience Fiction Film and the Militarization of America after World War II$
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Steffen Hantke

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496805652

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2018

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496805652.001.0001

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(p.85) Chapter Two Veterans
Monsters in the Machine

Steffen Hantke

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter focuses on the traumatized war veteran and the repressed memory of World War II. The key text is Gene Fowler Jr.'s I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958), which imagines the monstrous invader as an alien creature masquerading in human form. Underneath the perfect human surface is the grotesquely malformed alien creature—a potent visual metaphor that captures the complexity of the veteran's traumatization, especially when the injury is both psychological and physical in nature. The alien impostors in the other two films discussed in the chapter—William Cameron Menzies's Invadersfrom Mars (1953) and Don Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)—address the larger impact of the male veteran's presence in the peaceful postwar community. The chapter tracks the disturbance caused by the veteran as it spreads from romantic couples to families and to entire towns and the nation at large.

Keywords:   World War II, science fiction films, American films, war veteran, Gene Fowler Jr

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