From Wired’s Underwire blog.

AUSTIN, Texas — The world needs more giant mutant lizards, and more brainiac scientists who rise up to fight the monsters.

That’s the premise of Monsters From the Id, a new documentary that looks at the positive social impact of science fiction films from the ’50s.

The movie, which had its world premiere Friday night at the South by Southwest film festival, was made by first-time director Dave Gargani, who talked about the benefits of films that tell simplistic, good-versus-evil stories and frame scientists as superheroes.

“I think we’ve kind of lost that today,” Gargani said after his movie screened at Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse. “We didn’t feel fearful. We felt hopeful.”

Gargani’s message seems to fly in the face of current trends in sci-fi and comic book television shows and movies. At a time when movies and television shows earn critical and fan acclaim by “going dark,” a la complex and bleak productions like The Dark Knight and Sci Fi Channel’s Battlestar Galactica reboot, Gargani’s call for simpler, more motivational messages from Hollywood seems ripped straight from the less-complicated ’50s.


The movie, which Gargani said started out as a six-minute video collage of sci-fi scenes set to electronica music originally titled Puffed Wheat, now runs 71 minutes. But you might not see it in theaters any time soon: The director is working to get clearance rights from the movie studios that produced the classic films sampled in Monsters From the Id.

“We’re still working on it,” Gargani said.

The official website for the movie is here. It has a trailer, which you won’t be able to find anywhere else on the net due to the copyright infringement explained above.

An interesting counterpoint to this is that a lot of critics have interpreted the portrayal of the scientist in Atomic era movies as a negative thing. There are probably more cases where science has given rise to the monster, or the scientist has unwittingly released the monster. I’m interested to see this just to see how many examples of savior scientist he can pull out.