Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Directed by: Philip Kaufman. Written by: W.D. Richter, based on the novel by Jack Finney.
Plot: Earth is invaded by aliens which create copies of sleeping humans. The copies which hatch out of pods are identical to the originals, but they are totally emotionless and super creepy. A small group of people try to avoid being turned into Pod People with limited success.
Review: This is probably one of the most paranoia-inducing movies ever created, including The Thing. Though somewhat similar, I find this movie beats The Thing not only for paranoia value but also for sheer horror. The Thing is horrible but so gratuitous it is unbelievable. One is repulsed by the gooey monsters, and wouldn’t want that to happen, but Body Snatchers is more subtly awful. While The Thing relies mostly on the gross out (very effectively, I might add. It’s about the grossest movie ever), Body Snatchers spends more time on the loss of identity, one of the most disturbing things the mind can comprehend.
On top of that is the snappy script, containing a few brief moments of humour in with the crushing horror - crushing is exactly the adjective required for this movie. It creeps inexorably towards doom, finishing up with one of the most awful, shocking endings concocted by a cruel mind. I fucking hate this movie. Also, the performances from the four lead actors (Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Veronica Cartwright and Jeff Goldblum) kick ass way beyond the call of duty.
But seriously, though, I’ve only managed to stomach this movie twice just coz I feel awful after I watch it. In a good way, if you know what I mean. A good horror movie really should make you feel awful, in a good way. Some make you feel awful because you can’t believe you spent eighty minutes of your life watching utter garbage, but the best ones totally demoralize.
In other words, horror fans are disgusting masochists.
And this film is deeply depraved.
One of it’s many brilliant features is the casting of Leonard Nimoy as this writer dude - as we all know, Leonard Nimoy, though endearing, is incredibly wooden and unmotivated, making him absolutely perfect for this movie. You never suspect that he is a pod person (nor do any of the other characters) because he always acts like that. It’s just Leonard Nimoy doing his thing. It’s great.
The Don Siegel cameo is also a nice touch (interestingly, there is a part for Veronica Cartwright in the latest remake, though it is not executed with particular wit. The novelty wears off when you finish going, “Hey, it’s Veronica Cartwright! I love Veronica Cartwright!”. She should totally be in way more stuff).
But yeah. This movie is the shit.
Favourite Part: Though it makes me cringe, the ending is crazy. I won’t give the details for once in my life, but needless to say it is pretty fucked. Even though I knew the ending first time I saw this movie, it caught me by surprise. It’s just that whack.
Other versions: This is a remake of the 1956 film of the same title, which is also very good. I would’ve put it on here but I didn’t feel like reviewing it (also, it got the list down to ninety, which is a nice round number). Also, Body Snatchers from the nineties, which was surprisingly good considering the nineties feel, and The Invasion, which should have been better considering those involved.
Sequels: None. Mercifully.
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