Rob Craig is a noted writer on cult cinema, and it is this knowledge and background that makes his new book "It Came From 1957" one of the most insightful and entertaining studies of science fiction, horror, and fantasy cinema.
Choosing 1957 as a banner year for sci-fi movies, Craig's book opens with a fascinating chapter entitled The Marvels of the Atomic Age, which explains what was going on in the science and industry culture at that time, and how this fed into the popularity of the sci-fi, horror, and fantasy cinema he covers. He then goes month by month and gives us a chronological journey through the year's sci-fic releases, offering critical comments, background research, and several nice photos, some not seen in other publications.
Looking at the films the author covers, the year 1957 offered some enduring classics in the genre, including The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Deadly Mantis, and The Thing From Another World (a December re-release of this 1951 production), as well as irresistible cult efforts like Amazing Colossal Man and She Devil. Craig expands his scope with a film like Man of a Thousand Faces, a movie bio about Lon Chaney featuring James Cagney in the lead role.
The author explains how the remarkable 57 sci-fi, horror, and fantasy productions released in 1957 (moreso than any other year in movie history) were responding to the nuclear holocaust paranoia of Americans during this era, as well as their fascination with all things futuristic. His study of how the youth market was incorporated with films like I Was a Teenage Frankenstein might be the most interesting part of an overall well researched and well written book that is as entertaining as it is informative.