Remember those old school b-movie sci-fi flicks? God I miss those, and not entirely in an ironic way.
See, those movies have a certain magic about them, something that we can never recapture. Even if they were horrendously awful, the still have that certain spark that makes them…dare I say…charming.
Take a few of my favorites for example, Night of the Blood Beast, Monster A Go-Go, the Brain that Wouldn’t Die. These movies are a reflection of the times, or rather, the ideals of the time. Written by people who could only imagine what the new technologies and knowledge that suddenly surrounded their time would mean for the future.
Sure these movies were wildly inaccurate, but that’s half the fun. Frankly, I would much rather live a world where the endless possibilities were on the horizon, as opposed to a world now ruled by crushing realism. Where concepts like going to Mars or time travel are either argued over too much to go anywhere, or proven to be downright impossible.
We live in a time where science fiction has become merged with fantasy, why? Because many of the ideas in science fiction are indeed fantasy. Faster then light travel, for example used to be on the realm of possibility and therefore exciting and opening up countless possible futures. Now? Well, when it’s been pretty much proven that in order to get even close to light means converting oneself to pure energy…all those possibilities are gone and it’s not fun to think about anymore, knowing it could never happen.
These old movies don’t need to worry about such things, in fact, they embrace the concept of possibilities fully and push it to its furthest extent despite, or perhaps because of their complete lack of understanding.
Now-a-days we know that radiation cannot possibly turn an astronaut into a roaming, Goliath-like monster zombie like in Monster-A-Go-Go, just as we know a teenager bitten by a radioactive spider doesn’t give him super powers and would instead most likely give him mild radiation sickness…if not kill him. Still, it was this complete unknown that gave us many of our greatest forms of entertainment. Without it some great works of fiction perhaps would never have been created.
What’s even more ironic is that some of these pieces of fiction have actually worked to inspire today’s technology and knowledge such as the work of Jules Verne. Ok, so no one will ever be inspired to create the technology to make “Jan-in-the-Pan” feasible, but the core concept of imagination and hope in the face of the unknown is still there.
Perhaps what I’m saying is this. In a time where so few things are left unknown, perhaps the greatest and most inspired writers are those who chose to ignore the facts. Maybe what we need is another Roger Corman, perhaps not for his skills as a producer (that’s clearly not the case) but instead to help bring back that magic that came with a time where all we had was hope. Something we have so little of these days.