2020: Cold War Panic and the Korean War Film

The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 18 | Issue 12 | Number 2 | Article ID 5405 | Jun 05, 2020
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus

Cold War Panic and the Korean War Film:
From Bamboo Spears to Body Snatchers

Mark Morris


The Korean War would generate a wide range 
of cinematic responses. The fledgling film industry of South Korea produced films that, in sync with an ideology of stark anti-communism, tended to emphasise the immediate physical brutality of the communist enemy. The reaction of American film makers was at first to reproduce the narrative shape and tropes of the very successful films from World War II, usually situated in Europe or the Pacific Islands. Gradually, however, Cold War paranoia about enemies within and about the new insidious threat of ‘brain washing’ took hold in Hollywood, as it swept through other social and political discourses and institutions. This paranoia, a sense of diffuse panic was not limited to the war film genre but leaked out creatively into a new genre of science-fiction features.

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