Paul Hardy, editor of The Overlook Film Encyclopedia, speaks of the area of concern that Science Fiction has in common with a sense of horror. He states, "How close to our fears of the effects of science and technology are those of the powers of the occult and religion" (xi).
"The 'what if ?s' of Science Fiction cinema are generally less corrosive and radical than those of the printed page, but simply because they are constructed in images (rather than words) which spring to life in the hands of an imaginative director, their effects are much more immediate and resonant" (Hardy ix).
Metropolis and Things to Come at their inception were without a defined place in film. Although Science Fiction was not recognized as a genre until the 1940s, (due to the fact that many films must be made in order to declare a genre) both films represent the beginnings. We decided to highlight Metropolis and Things to Come because of the "cutting edge" style they still exude. In contrast, the fifties and sixties were a time of cookie cutter replications that incorporated the elements of these staple films, over and over again. Hardy points out, "a typical story might relate how a scientist experimenting in his private laboratory found a way to break up atoms so as to release their explosive powers..." (xiii).
As you will see, all three films
use the Book of Revelation as a blueprint for their thematic structure,
just as later films like Superman used these grandfather films as
a guide to Science Fiction excellence.
Main Preface Metropolis Things to Come Superman Bibliography