In the 1950s, with the Red Scare and alarming advances in technology, American brains were going nuclear. It was a time of us versus them, fear of the unknown, mind control and invasion. Americans needed escape and a place to sort it all out — like the movies. The Classic Film Series at the Eureka Main Library in July explores science fiction films of the 1950s with introductions and discussion by local film buffs on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. (free).
Starting off the series is the 1954 behemoth Godzilla showing July 5. The towering monster with deadly halitosis was an obvious metaphor for the evils of atomic power. Host Jennifer Fumiko Cahill of the Journal has more on that for you. Next up is 1951's The Thing (From Another World), playing July 12 and hosted by Charity Grella. Keeping the cold in the Cold War, this flick about an enigmatic alien life form discovered at the North Pole ends with the chilling warning, "Keep watching the skies!"
More terrifying plant life from outer space descends with Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), hosted by Bob Doran and showing July 19. With its identity loss, paranoia and nuclear fallout fears, this flower power feature has Kevin McCarthy screaming to tone-deaf masses, "They're after you! They're after all of us! Our wives, our children, everyone!" And finally, the giant radioactive ant monsters that Jan Ostrom introduces in Them! (1954) July 26 (free) illustrate again that nuclear power can really ruin your picnic.