The post World War II Zeitgeist of America included anti-Communist and pro-democracy movements. Notable movements included the McCarthy hearings and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). In particular, HUAC targeted members of Hollywood as communist sympathizers. Those who did not cooperate by giving additional names to the committee were blacklisted. In this context, how did Hollywood handle science fiction films in light of anti-Communist fears? Of course, Hollywood capitalized upon the fears of communist takeover. At the same time, some films critique conformity and xenophobia. Science fiction films of the 1950's often equated aliens with communists. The aliens are so different from humans, suggesting that communists differ from Americans in a significant manner. An alien invasion, either violent or subtle, equates to a communist takeover. Several science fiction films displayed the fear of brainwashing. The fear of brainwashing stemmed from "a general fear of national takeover through the use of much publicized 'brainwashing' techniques" (Katovich and Kinkade 629). Though such fears were exaggerated, they attracted audiences to the theater.

Why did Hollywood feel the need to resort to fear as a tactic to gaining audiences? On a tangential note, television proliferated throughout America during the 1950's. Many Americans stayed home to watch television. In addition, Americans were spending their disposable income on newly affordable items such as automobiles and home appliances. In the 1950's, Hollywood studios produced science fiction and horror films that maximized the dark theater environment. In addition, the studios created 3D movies in order to entice theatergoers.

Plots that involve brainwashing in science fiction films encapsulate the American fear of communist takeover. For example, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) reveals itself as film about brainwashing by painting an atmosphere of paranoia. In this film, citizens of a town are being transformed into "pod people," emotionless beings that look like normal people. In the equation, Americans associate communists with those that lack individuality and emotion. This film may be viewed as an anti-Communist narrative in this light. However, the film can be viewed as a critique of McCarthyism. In this light, Invasion of the Body Snatchers suggests that the pod people are conformists who believe in McCarthyism. Such people have lost their humanity and those who fight the conformity are heroes. As mentioned before, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) blacklisted many members of Hollywood. Thus, some writers and directors may depict McCarthyism in a negative manner. Because of the anti-McCarthy tone, the studio imposed a prologue and epilogue to sway the film into the pro-McCarthy camp.