Red Scare and Conformity Potential Rise of Communism Conformity, Collectivism, Communism, Red Scare, Uncanny
A Red Scare is the promotion of fear of a potential rise of communism. In the US, the first Red Scare involved the rounding
up and deportation of several hundred immigrants of radical political views in 1919-1920 in response to the Russian
Revolution. The most famous Red Scare began in the 1940s with the end of the Second World War and the rise of the Cold War.
This Red Scare was also known as McCarthyism, named after Senator McCarthy, who promoted anti-communist witch hunts through a
series of Senate hearings.
Conformity is compliance with standards, rules, or laws; behaving in accordance with socially accepted conventions or
Don Siegel’s Hollywood film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) was produced in the midst of the Cold War and reflects many
of the concerns of that era. The time period was marked by the return of social conservatism in the wake of the upheavals
of World War II. It was also marked by fear of communist infiltration into the United States.
Consider the following questions as a starting point for developing an argument about the politics of the film:
(1) How does Invasion of the Body Snatchers foreground anxieties about conformity and collectivism?
(2) How does the film reflect a Red Scare perspective? In what ways do the pod people resemble popular stereotypes of communists
(3) How do the pod people reflect conservative American attitudes?
(4) What makes the pod people uncanny in a Freudian sense?
(5) What kinds of “scares” are reflected in popular culture today?