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Invasion of the Body Snatchers

(DVD - 2000 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
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Santa Mira, a small town in California, is suddenly beset with cases of townspeople acting in strange ways and evidence points to an invasion of extraterrestrial origins. With only a few other believers, Dr. Miles Bennell tries to warn the larger world while evading capture by those he once trusted.
Statement of Responsibility: United Artists ; screenplay by Daniel Mainwaring ; produced by Walter Wanger Pictures, Inc. ; directed by Don Siegel
Title: Invasion of the body snatchers
[videorecording]
Publisher: Santa Monica, CA : Republic Pictures : Distributed by Artisan Home Entertainment, 2000
Edition: Widescreen (2.351) or full screen format
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (80 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in.
Notes: Originally produced as a motion picture in 1955
Based on the novel : The body snatchers / by Jack Finney
Special features: original theatrical trailer (3 min.); Kevin McCarthy interview (8 min.)
Credits: Director of photography, Ellsworth Fredericks ; film editor, Robert S. Eisen ; music, Carmen Dragon.
Performers: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, King Donovan, Carolyn Jones, Jean Willes, Ralph Dumke.
Summary: Santa Mira, a small town in California, is suddenly beset with cases of townspeople acting in strange ways and evidence points to an invasion of extraterrestrial origins. With only a few other believers, Dr. Miles Bennell tries to warn the larger world while evading capture by those he once trusted.
Audience: Not rated
System Details: DVD; Dolby digital
Other Language: In English, dubbed Spanish or dubbed Italian, with optional subtitles in English, Spanish or French
Closed-captioned
Subject Headings: Symbiogenesis Drama Human-alien encounters Drama Life on other planets Drama
Genre/Form: Feature films
Fiction films
Science fiction films
Horror films
Video recordings for the hearing impaired
Topical Term: Symbiogenesis
Human-alien encounters
Life on other planets
Publisher No: 52018
ISBN: 0782009980
Branch Call Number: DVD MOVIE I
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Jun 09, 2014
  • Isley rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Horror films can be frightening for many reasons. Unstoppable stalkers, cheap jump scares, and over the top gore all have the ability to scare the viewer. However, none of that is quite as terrifying as Invasion of the Body Snatchers' chilling idea that, not only have all one's friends and family been turned into emotionless aliens, but the moment one closes their eyes to go to sleep, their consciousness too might instantly wink out of existence. From this simple premise (and almost no budget), Don Siegel was able to construct one of the all time great horror films, a film that, to this day, will leave the viewer feeling far more uneasy than any modern torture-porn fodder could ever make them feel.

There is something that just makes the spine tingle about the idea that everyone but you has been turned into something "other" than human. Like Jake Gittes says in Chinatown, we're all alone, but a film like Invasion of the Body Snatchers draws the solitude and alienation of human existence into terrifyingly literal focus. By the end of the film, Dr. Bennel actually is the last man on earth (or, at least, the last man in his small California town), and it is a horrifying thing to witness.

Much has been made of the supposed anti-Mccarthy message of this film, but I honestly don't see it. This could just as easily be a film about the horrors of religion, communism, or owning an iphone. Parallels to the McCarthy witch hunts are surely are there, but it would do this brilliant film a disservice to reduce it to mere allegory.

Sadly, fearing that audience would not be able to handle such a bleakly nihilistic film, the studio forced a happy ending on the movie after shooting wrapped. Thus, instead of ending on the breathtakingly cynical scene of Dr. Bennel finally making it to the highway only to be mistaken for a raving lunatic as he frantically (and helplessly) shouts "you're next!" over and over at the passing cars, we are instead left with a book-ended scene of Dr. Bennel at a sanitarium where he finally manages to convince those in charge to do something to stop the Body Snatchers. And while these bookend scenes lessen the impact of the film, there is still no denying the fact that I can think of few other horror films that manage to evoke quite the same ugly feeling of dread as Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And if you are up for going to bed with an ugly taste in your mouth, I'd strongly suggest turning the movie off as soon as the final scene on the highway is over.

Jun 09, 2014
  • jazeebelle rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This in indeed dated. It's not particularly scary and very little effects... All that being said, it is one of the best scifi horror mix classics! There have been many films since then using the same premise and for the most part, they too were done fairly well. But this film you must watch for the simple organic factor. It was storytelling at it's finest and if you allow yourself not to be put off by lack of over the top special effects, you may just see that this movie is brilliant.

Jul 23, 2012
  • laustcawz rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

A terrific idea, but only fully realized a couple of decades later, in the 1978 remake.

Actually, one of many derivative films of this idea, "The Faculty" includes characters discussing how the writer of the original "...Body Snatchers" story actually took the idea from another story, Robert Heinlein's "The Puppet Masters". I think there's a movie version of that, but I haven't seen it (& probably should), nor have I read the story (& probably should).

Aug 08, 2011
  • AtomicFez rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Ho. Ly. Crap. Apparently it's "scary". I'll only agree that it's a bit scary that anyone got PAID for this.

Sam Pekinpaw plays the Gas Man in the protagonist's basement and claimed he did a re-write of the script. The actual screen writer said he only did a couple of lines worth of polishing, and lodged a complaint with the Writers' Guild, after which Pekinpaw stopped saying anything about the gig. Were I either of them, I wouldn't have taken any credit at all.

Ho. Ly. Crap.

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