“Atom Age Apocalypse: Mutants, Monsters, and Mushroom Clouds,” was presented by Arkansas Tech alumnus Mike Bogue on Thursday in the Ross Pendergraft Library.
Bogue has been a fan of science fiction his entire life. He has written stories and articles that have appeared in “Scary Monsters Magazine,” “Wonder,” “Space & Time” and various other publications. Bogue has also released his first book, “Atomic Drive-In.”
In his presentation, Bogue discussed the significance of science fiction movies from the 1950s, covering topics like the portrayal of gender roles. He also discussed common tropes, such as the scientist who performs an experiment gone wrong, or the lady who gets her dress caught in a door as a giant monster overtakes her.
The bulk of Bogue’s presentation focused on the formulaic nature of these films. Bogue claims there were three main categories for these science fiction films: big bugs, giant monsters and alien invaders.
The reason for this trend, according to Bogue, could have been because of the nuclear age, the discovery of the UFO and Cold War anxiety.
Bogue also talked about the decline of the genre, as the market became too oversaturated with these movies. He mentioned that movie companies began to distance themselves with science fiction, so much so that 20th Century Fox had such low expectations for George Lucas’ “Star Wars” that they gave him all the assets to it.
As for the future of big bug, giant monster and alien invader movies, Bogue believes they could come back, especially given the recent success of “Jurassic World” and “Godzilla.”
However, he feels if they were to make a resurgence, it would be solely for entertainment value and would not cause any of the paranoia or anxiety the classic films of the 1950s managed to evoke.