Ever watched on in helpless disbelief as
your best friends turned into soulless materialist yuppies as the years
Um, well, OK ? so maybe that's just me.
Ever witnessed someone close to you, a friend or relative, do something so
out of character that you wonder whether you ever knew that person at all
in the first place?
now we're getting closer to the truth. This is the lasting appeal of
Jack Finney's novel, "The Body Snatchers" and why its concept has inspired
countless science fiction movies throughout the years
versions of the novel itself (in 1956, 1978 and
1994 as Body Snatchers by director Abel Ferrara
of Bad Lieutenant fame) to Heinlein's The
Puppet Masters (finally in 1994) and the 1980s remake of The
all of them dealing with people being surreptitiously taken
over by alien presences.
This 1978 version of the tale set in San Francisco along with John
Carpenter's The Thing are the best of the
bunch, proving that remakes need not be trash necessarily. However, the
two movies couldn?t be more different: Invasion is virtually blood and
gore-free and special effects are kept to a minimum. Instead we have a
well-acted, brooding piece of paranoia.
In a sense it is the ultimate 1970s paranoid flick: everyone
your neighbors, the government, your colleagues and friends
is on it
this time as a group of friends helplessly watch on everyone around them
is taken over by aliens.
Along with Roman Polanski's underrated masterpiece The Tenant this
has to count as being amongst the most paranoid films ever made about
urban alienation (and hey, who never experienced that?) Kafka himself
would have been proud . . .
THE DISC: This is the Region 2 (Europe, Middle East & Japan only)
disc. Once again Region 2 seems to have gotten a raw deal as this disc
seems to boast fewer extras than the Region 1 (U.S. & Canada) version. In
addition to the Region 1 disc's audio commentary and theatrical trailer,
the Region 1 disc also boasts production notes and a "Pod Culture"
Retrospective ? whatever that might be.
While this DVD is definitely a step up on video, it unfortunately isn't as
good as it could have been when it comes to image quality. There is some
grain and artefacting during some night scenes (and there are a lot of
those in this movie!), and this isn't an anamorphic transfer either.
Image quality isn't too bad, but there is room for improvement.
Unfortunately this movie passed the opportunity to be re-issued as a ?25
Years Old? special edition or something or the other disc last year, so
we'll just have to make do.
The audio commentary by director Philip (The
Right Stuff) Kaufman has some quiet moments, and he seems to focus
excessively on the film's noirish camera work (which is impressive, yes).
One is left with the feeling that he could maybe have discussed some other
aspects of the film's production. What did the story mean to him
personally? How does this version differ from the novel and the 1950s
version? Why remake it (actually it's more of a variation of themes than a
One gets the idea that for Kaufman the story might be a paean to the hippy
ideal hence the San Francisco setting. (If it's about everyone in
America turning into conformist and conservative Republicans, Kaufman
didn't know half of it! Two years after this movie was released, Ronald
Reagan would become president for two consecutive terms, followed by
another term by Dubya's daddy. All in all twelve years of uninterrupted
WORTH IT? Since its initial release, this version of Invasion of
the Body Snatchers has undergone a critical reappraisal and is
recognized as an underrated sci-fi and horror classic which is actually
better than the original version.
RECOMMENDATION: At the least a rental. Otherwise add it to your
collection of 1970s conspiracy flicks such as
Capricorn One and The Conversation . . .