The ‘Terrifying’ Concept That Lead To Benson And Moorhead’s Something In The Dirt

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In 1938, Orson Welles terrified CBS Radio listeners with his adaptation of “The War of the Worlds.” Despite clarifying before and during the broadcast that the radio drama was a work of pure fiction, Welles’ play-by-play recount of a fictitious alien invasion famously caused a brief bout of mass hysteria. Many listeners had somehow believed that the invasion was real, even though the exact numbers of those who were swept up in it are unclear. Despite this, this radio drama is probably among the most infamous examples of the public believing that a work of pure fiction was real, even with the proper warnings indicating that it wasn’t.

So, what exactly does Welles’ doomed adaptation of “The War of the Worlds” and the recently-released “Something in the Dirt” have in common? According to directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (“Synchronic,” “Spring,” “Moon Knight”), it’s that ever-present idea that someone might not be able to distinguish the fiction on the screen from their reality. The duo expanded upon this idea in a recent interview with The New York Times.

“It was part of the conception of this movie to examine your own relationship with pop culture and what you put out in the world,” Moorhead said. “What exactly is the responsibility of the person who’s creating these things whole cloth? It is terrifying as a filmmaker to think someone might actually believe that what you are showing them is real.”

Not An Unwarranted Fear

It might be a stretch to say that the film could have radicalized someone that didn’t know it was fiction, but the fact that the duo had that concern in the first place says a lot. Given how “Something in the Dirt” is about a multiversal conspiracy, it’s easy to draw parallels between it and our current conspiratorial culture. This is something that Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead not only understand but actively embrace in the film. Earlier in the interview, the two discussed how the characters they play, two filmmakers trying to find a near-impossible truth, couldn’t be further from themselves because the characters are just too gullible.

“The only similarity between Aaron and I and John (Moorhead) and Levi (Benson) is we spend a lot of time talking about science fiction. But that’s the point,” Benson said. “The huge difference for us is that John and Levi are quick to believe, and we never believe in anything.”

Conspiracy theories and, for lack of a better term, fake news, are able to spread at unprecedented rates nowadays thanks to fringe cable offerings and unregulated social media platforms. When these platforms are either run or approved by people who want to spread a deliberately manipulative agenda, this disinformation is allowed to flourish. The sad thing is that so many people have allowed themselves to be misled by these wackadoo theories and refuse to see how unreasonable they are.

“Something in the Dirt” is available to rent or purchase on digital video platforms.

Read this next: 12 Underrated Sci-Fi Shows That You Need To See

The post The ‘Terrifying’ Concept That Lead To Benson And Moorhead’s Something In The Dirt appeared first on /Film.

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