The “fearmakers” in the title of Tourneur’s rarely screened Red Scare thriller are communist elements that, having wormed their way into a major Washington PR firm, go about trying to convert the American public away from their capitalist roots. Dana Andrews, who stars as a brainwashed Korean War vet alert to the dark secret of the firm to which he’s just returned, had worked with Tourneur on Night of the Demon the previous year, and it was he who insisted that Tourneur be brought on to direct The Fearmakers. What attracted the filmmaker to the project was, he later suggested, a theme that he’d been dealing with explicitly since at least I Walked with a Zombie: “The power of people who control ideas.”

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