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Brave New Jersey Trailer Asks: What Would You Do If You Thought Martians Were Invading?

Gravitas Ventures have posted the trailer for Brave New Jersey, in which a group of rural 1930s New Jerseyites mistakenly believe that Martians have invaded their state. “Imagine you got one night to live,” says one character. “What would you do?”

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The movie is based on the urban legend of the War of the Worlds panic. On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles’ radio adaptation of War of the Worlds hit the airwaves. Welles and his Mercury Theatre on the Air updated H.G. Wells’ famous Martian invasion novel to take place in New Jersey, and according to a popular and often-repeated tale, nearly a million listeners mistook the fictional story for a real news broadcast. Welles suddenly found himself in the center of a controversy.

However, the real number of duped listeners was nowhere near that. As The Telegraph explains, “The true extent of the panic seems to have been that a small band of Grover’s Mill locals, believing the town’s water tower on Grover’s Mill Road had been turned into a ‘giant Martian war machine,’ fired guns filled with buckshot in an attack on the water tower.” Brave New Jersey is set just outside Grover’s Mill.

This cast is a bit too white for comfort, and the trailer suggests a relatively cutesy, comic piece of Americana—but I’ll admit the premise has me intrigued. Given our recent obsession with “fake news” and the discussion around how people consume and evaluate news stories, I’m curious to see how they might play with those themes. Plus, as a fan of science fiction, I’m intrigued by a movie that highlights how science fiction can stir the imagination—in good, bad, and patently ridiculous ways.

(Featured image via screengrab)

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