During a one-hour presentation filled with humor and horror, Mike Bogue, coordinator of Student Success at the Arkansas Tech Ozark campus, presented “Apocalypse Then.”
Luke Heffley, Education Counselor at the Ross Pendergraft Library at Arkansas Tech University, coordinated the event that took place on October 9. Heffley believes it is important to highlight authors within the River Valley and Arkansas Tech University.
Bogue was chosen for a part of this as he has recently released his book, “Apocalypse Then: American and Japanese Atomic Cinema, 1951-1967.” Bogue has written for “Scary Monsters Magazine,” “Mad Scientist” and “Monster Bash Magazine.”
Bogue’s presentation included an overview of his book, which discusses the different ways America and Japan depicted their views over nuclear war in science fiction films. Bogue went over how nuclear anxiety in the early fifties, and fear that there would be a nuclear war, was intense because the United States had recently dropped two atomic bombs in Japan in 1945.
“Them!”, a horror and science fiction movie released in 1954, has a quote that Bogue used as evidence in his presentation that summed up fear in these countries. “When man entered the atomic age, he opened the door into a new world. What he will eventually find in the new world, no one can predict.”
Although fear was a huge factor in both the United States and Japan, both countries portrayed their fear differently within the science-fiction films. Often, in America’s movies, the mutant, monster, or mushroom cloud, was defeated. There was a happy ending.
While this was the case with America’s films, Japanese science-fiction films ultimately ended with death and destruction of the human race. Bogue believes that the turnout of these movies is how both America and Japan felt about their own countries during this time period.
America’s films seemed to suggest that they would come out on top. The United States felt a bit more confident in defeating their enemies, whereas Japan felt there would ultimately be death and destruction to their own country.
At one point, Bogue said of Japan that “the mutant or the menace is only temporary, but it’s forever, and it’s going to live forever, just like the nuclear threat.” This was, in part, to do with the bombings on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 during World War II. Bogue also mentioned that the movies seemed to “ebb and flow based on the reaction in society on how strong we think the military is.”
For more information on science fiction films from America and Japan, students can buy Mike Bogue’s book on Amazon, or students can check out science-fiction films in the Ross Pendergraft Library & Technology Center on 305 W Q St, Russellville, AR.