Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) Review

Movie: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
By: Vincent van Gore
Date: April 5, 2011

Why do we always expect metal ships?

Answer: Agoraphobia. A box. We meet by way of drip-dried understanding, just never of the actual box, similar to Frank Langella's response in Richard Kelly's version of "Button Button"; but more importantly its corners. The corners are crucial because of the obvious, unbiased points prime for sitting. A fear, a paranoia that what's certain isn't what's on the outside. Director Philip Kaufman, and writer W.D. Richter were well aware of the view Peter Gibbons offered at Initech. With mirrors, and no aqualungs, they slept with sharks outside of those very walls, and that alone is the reason why this remake is so gratifying. If agoraphobia in actuality is a fear of situations that evoke panic, which in turn cause us to stay inside of our quaint, little box, than we have found the answer to this question.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

starring Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Veronica Cartwright, Jeff Goldblum, and Leonard Nimoy; is the second screen adaptation of the science fiction novel, The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney. Released in 1978, with the "Me Decade" wax seal stamp, we follow the journey of a gelatinous, parasitic, alien species, who abandon their dying world in search of a more habitable environment, pushed through our universe by the solar winds, finally landing on a rainy afternoon, in San Francisco. Sprouting pink flowers, we see the maelstroms silence rape our granted, whilst chewing the meaty growth of paranoia's birth, and promising Xanadu from what's taken, to who hasn't been; in an all too real look, at an all too real world. This could get hairy..


The species undertones

Usually left to the imagination, we are provided with a step by step process of the organisms evolution from base, into pods containing replicas of their sleeping victims, even the replicating process itself. The species undertones once masked in human form, such as a sharp, shrill siren-like scream, are added/highlighted for us. Anything that was left under the knife, was abysmally fresh and made great cooler keepsakes for the time travelers buffet. Setting the invasion in San Francisco was a stroke of genius. The crooked, jagged, and slanting streets that clog the hills make for great angles, and wonderful lighting(also thanks to cinematographer Michael Chapman). Close ups, zoom ins and small rooms keep the camera so busy the paranoia bleeds profusely and stains thick enough for a listing in the credits. The coalescence of bystanders thronging the streets, and buses needed no extras, that's them. Regular pod people not aware of a film, and it worked. Every stare you see is genuinely blank. Even the cast seemed like helpless victims within the crews stratagem.


Out of all the players

I felt Veronica Cartwright offered the most memorable performance. It was great seeing her in something besides The Birds. She was marvelous. As was Jeff Goldblum. I find myself quoting him in public far too often. Unfortunately for Sutherland, you couldn't hear a word he said over his hair. From what I gather, he wasn't exactly too keen on it, either. Leonard Nimoy on the other archer hand guard, is always a treat. It's such a shame he's typecast as Spock. The score, sound effects, songs, and lack their of, were chosen with extreme care, and cleverly placed in almost all of the right places. Some more than others, but shouldn't present a problem, even to the most shrunken of heads. Dolby even noticed the craftsmanship, upon hearing motors travel from back to front, rather side to side. Not to forget a slew of cameo appearances ranging from Don Siegel, director of the 1956 original, San Franciscan native and Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, and Kevin McCarthy rehashing his breaking the fourth wall signature node.


Left with goosebumps

It is regarded as one of the greatest remakes of all time, and after one viewing I was left 'collating' to bloody knuckled pixels and eraser bit saliva, proving this an exercise in futility. I saw only improvements made to a tale that needed it, and stepping out of its shadow completely, able to stand on its own as a king amongst writers. Practically acting as a study guide to all waking, and future pod people to stop propitiating the devoted with A Nightmare On Elm Street. Fuck 2010! Mouth zipped like Tina Gray for all who ask, just as I have heard Kaufman was with United Artists, but I will say I was left with goosebumps. Not just that once either, but every single view since. Not for some horn, twist and pull. No, because the cherry on top tasted like the ole tramp himself singing Léo Daniderff's, Je Cherche Après Titine(yes, The Nonsense Song). Fulfillment. Say it aloud, full-film-entertainment. If you aren't watching, then we really are losing the children to apathy.

'It's a big conspiracy.' 'What's a conspiracy?' 'Everything.'



Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)


Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)


Philip Kaufman






Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, Leonard Nimoy , Art Hindle