Monsters (cert. 12) will be released on DVD (£17.99) and Blu-ray (£19.99) by Vertigo Films : 11.04.11
Aliens have always served as an easy metaphor for social issues in movies. In the paranoid paradise of 1950s America, those buying into the Norman Rockwell illustrated idyll of white picket fences and consumer convienience were bombarded with ‘red under the bed’ propaganda in the form of various insidious invasions by cosmic interlopers standing in for card carrying Communists. At around the same time that Ronald Reagan started reporting to the FBI about the left leaning activities of his movie contemporaries, one of the best examples of alien as enemy within was released , Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
It portrayed communism as a creeping virus that slowly infected freedom loving Americans until they became part of a hive mind without the ability for individual thought. The metaphor in the movie was so needle sharp and exact that it’s been ressurrected to make new points ever since, with the 70s, Donald Sutherland led remake retooling the film to attack the selfish, naval gazing, Me Generation.
A less subtle use of Aliens is as replacement target. In the lull between the Cold War and the War on Terror, Hollywood struggled for an enemy to point their CGI missles at. In the new climate, lombing cinematic bombs at the Russians wasn’t so popular anymore and endless war-orgy movies based in the Middle-East were still on the horizon, so when Independence Day came along, with it’s handy non-human enemies, the alien invader allowed the film producers to stage an all out war without offending any profitable markets…
So, is there a metaphor in Monsters? personally, I see the creeping tentacles as us or rather the damage we’ve left in our wake. The films setting in a no man’s land decimated by the invaders, where the local population who can are fleeing while those too poor to move either bed down and wait out the worst or get shifted from pillar to post by the authorities could surely be read as an allegory for the displacement of vast populations caused by war and environmental disasters.
The road blocks and warning signs, abandoned vehicles and ravaged buildings all mirror the wartorn images we see on rolling news coverage everyday.