Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Director: Philip Kaufman
Leonard Nimoy/Dr. Kibner
Alien “spores” that suck away people’s life-force to then become soulless duplicates of them fall upon San Francisco. It’s up to Donald Sutherland, his impressive moustache and his crew to stop the “under the radar” invasion.
People are being duplicated. And once it happens to you,
you're part of this... thing. It almost happened to me! - Elizabeth
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
is a remake of the 1956 Don Siegel chiller
of the same name which was itself based on Jack Finney’s novel The Body Snatchers
. I personally always go back to this flick because its themes and their execution creep the ever living shite out of me
like no other film that has come before or after it. I mean what’s scarier than someone you know (or think you know, we never really know anyone) being replaced by an identical physical replica but devoid of individuality and a soul? Wait a minute did I just describe my last 3 relationships there? YOU BET I DID! But I digress… (whatever that means).
Invasion of the Body Snatchers was a well structured and crawl under skin, under veins to seep within one’s bones frightening. Everything about this flick evoked strong senses of paranoia, hopelessness and dread within me. Granted when feeling those emotions in real life, I wanna blow my head clean off but since I got them off a flick, I derived an almost masochistic pleasure in seeing the world as we know it go down the shitter. The metaphorical angle of the affair was a stirring element as well. Where the 1956 version could’ve been perceived as an allegory to McCarthyism, this 1978 version (and this is just my perspective, doesn’t mean I’m right) was almost a statement as to the sense of utter isolation one can feel in
society. I mean we live in a crowd but yet we’re flying solo within it. Or it can also be a warped account as to how steady girlfriends act beyond the two year mark when they’ve learned all that they need to learn from you and kick into automatic pilot until they cheat on you and you throw them out of your house, panties around the ankles… but that’s obviously my own shit going on. Bottom line, you’ll get what you’ll out of it, all depending on who you are.
As a horror movie; this bitter ride kicked my ass to serious beating heaven. The “is he or isn’t he a duplicate” question that kept popping up throughout resulted in a thick coating of suspense, the doppelganger in the makings sequences chilled me to the bone (when till you see the garden scene…brrr) and the famous (and more emphasized in the 1993 version) alien “snitch scream” sent shiver up my spine. It surely helped the whole of the proceedings that the cast and the wonderful acting chops they showed off immersed me even more into this celluloid hell. I mean who can go wrong with young Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Veronica Cartwright and Leonard Nimoy at their prime? If I hadn’t cared as much about the characters as I did, the film flick wouldn’t have been as effective. The cherry on top of the Sunday was the zany and disturbing horror imagery that had to do with the duplicating process;
giant flowers pushing living beings out, life-force sucking and we even get a pre The Thing half man-half dog bit! NICE! The effects went from amazing to a tad dated but they worked ALL THE TIME where I prefer dated practical to vacuous current CG. Tag to all sweet jive an at times warped sense of humor,
a schizophrenic like score & a snap your neck ending and you get fun times for
the whole Addams Family!
Any peeves? Nothing worth assassinating about; I did find some of the editing a
tad choppy in places and wished that the flick had focused more on the
widespread results of the invasion as opposed to always focusing on a handful of
characters but that jive didn’t come close to tarnishing what is in my useless
and utterly pointless opinion one of the top horror/sci-fi experience of all time. You see this? YOU SEE THIS? Now duplicate it!
We get a head cut in half, some gooey “duplicates” and a half man-half dog oddity. Not a gore fest but nasty and weird enough to please.
Donald Sutherland (Matthew) reminds us why he was one of the best actors of his time via this engaging and charismatic performance. Brooke Adams (Elizabeth) was highly efficient and likeable. Veronica Cartwright (Nancy) was sympathetic beyond belief! LOVED HER! Leonard Nimoy (Dr. Kibner) played a role tailor made for him! AMAZING! Jeff Goldblum (Jack) does his endearing quirky, borderline neurotic shtick, the one he still does to this day. Hey I bought it!
T & A
Brooke Adams goes topless and the crowd (in my Jeans) goes wild!
Director Philip Kaufman put out a dark, atmospheric and at times quite LSD like stylish show! He often used his shots and camera movements to tweak us to the mindset of the lead characters and it worked on me! I was on the edge of the edge very often!
Did Denny Zeitlin drop acid when composing the score for the film? If not well it sure felt like he did. The result was a spooky and unorthodox piece of work that constantly went from “out there” to more standard. It worked! This was Zeitlin’s sole film score!
Lets see…tightly scripted, well shot, scary, creepy, disturbing, expertly acted and thought provoking…hmmm…looks like Invasion of the Body Snatchers has all of its bases covered and then some! If you haven’t seen this gem, I recommend you go rent it right now, hit the lights, make some PC (Pop Corn) and scare yourself to sleep. I also advise that you check out the
1956 original and Abel Ferrera’s lesser know 1993 version. They both kick serious bootie! I plan on making a night out of it in watching all three back to back to back and then never…and I mean NEVER leave my house again.
Look out for cameos by Kevin McCarthy (from the original), Robert Duvall (as a priest), director Phillip Kaufman (guy tapping on phone booth) and director of the original Don Siegel (as a cab driver).