(Spoilers contained within!)
There has been one original (Invasion Of The Body Snatcher 1956) and three remakes (The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1978, The Body Snatchers 1993, The Invasion 2007) of Jack Finney’s 1955 science fiction novel The Body Snatchers. I remember seeing the 1956 version when I was a kid but it never resonated with me, and to this day it’s still not a flick I care that much about. It wasn’t until the 1978 remake that Finney’s “pod people” began to make an impression. I caught that one on TV and to tell you the truth it seriously creeped me out, especially that human-headed dog thing seen ever so fleetingly at the end.
The newest remake, the 2007 one with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, I have never seen and still have no interest in seeing it. The trailer looked mighty UN-impressive. The last remake I did see, though, was Abel Ferrara’s 1993 take, which not so coincidentally I just happened to be doing a review on this very minute.
I wish I had a good memory to go along with it, but I don’t. I only vaguely remember seeing it one night on cable in ’94 and that’s it. I can’t even remember if I liked it or not, and couldn’t remember a whole lot about it other than it took place on a military base and that Meg Tilly is seen full frontal naked. It’s not really her naked though. Her body double in the end credits is someone named, Jennifer. Not last name. You know the first rule of thumb regarding that, don’t ya? If you don’t see the actor or actress’ face in the same shot as the full front naked body, it wasn’t really them, but with technology advanced as it is now you can actually film a full frontal naked body and slap an actor’s face on it making it look like they actually got naked. As far as I know that’s what they did for the two-part movie Nymphomaniac (2013), but I digress. Getting off track here, but that’s pretty much all I remembered about the movie.
Coverage of The Body Snatchers can be found in these Fangoria issues: #118 (left), #121 (middle) and #122 (right).
Finney’s concept of aliens usurping human bodies and having these alien-human hybrids look exactly like you and I except for them being devoid of emotions is a brilliantly scary concept, not to mention they get you when your fall asleep, which makes them even scarier because your average human can’t go indefinitely without sleep. I know I sure as hell can’t. Ferrara’s movie didn’t quite do a number on me like the 1978 version did, but it’s still a solid remake nevertheless.
This remake differs in that it takes place almost entirely on a military base, and our main characters are on their way to it just as the invasion begins. They’re a family and it’s mostly told from daughter Marti Malone’s (Gabrielle Anwar) point of view. Her father, Steve (Terry Kinney), is with the EPA, and his newest job is to do some environment testing at a military base in Alabama. In tow are his second wife, Carol (Meg Tilley), and their little son, Andy (Reilly Murphy). There’s obvious conflict between father and daughter, and step-mother. She misses her real mother and seems to be more than a little pissed Dad married another chick some years ago.
This flick has some familiar faces in it. Aside from Tilly there’s Forrest Whitaker as Major Collins. His role is really small, showing up in the beginning to ask Steve if their biological weapons might be responsible for the “changes” he’s seeing it in the men on the base, and in the final act as he makes a last stand against the “pod people,” while suffering from serious lack of sleep, so much so he pretty much looks like he’s gone mad. Even though it’s a small role, it’s a memorable one. You’ve also got ex-Lost Boy Billy Worth playing the hero/love interest, helicopter pilot, Tim Young, and last but not least, the ever memorable R. Lee Emery playing leader of the base, General Platt, who puts in another menacing performance as an already podded-up human who wants to get the EPA guy off the base as quick as possible.
We never see the beginning of the invasion like they showed in the 1978 version; all we see is that the pods are harvested in a nearby swamp. Carol is the first to succumb, and Andy is the first to see the aftermath. Coming into her bedroom one morning as her body crumbles to dust in the bed and as New (naked) Carol comes walking out of the closet. There’s a couple of good twists as when Steve and Andy are revealed to be pod people, in Andy’s case it was understandable how that happened, but I couldn’t figure out when Steve was taken and “taken over.” The last time we see him he’s hiding just around the corner when General Platt and his men confront Collins. I can only guess he was discovered at that moment and taken.
There is a kind of upbeat ending with Tim and Marti, but with a hint that, perhaps, there might not be any “humans” left on earth. Ferrara even ends the movie with “The End,” which might also signify a downbeat ending.
Warner Brothers has released The Body Snatchers on DVD a few times before, but this is the first time it’s been converted to blu, which is happening on October 18th!
Buy It Here At Amazon!
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 2.40:1 high definition widescreen—5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio—English SDH subs only
I have yet to see a bad transfer from the Warner Archive department and this one is no different! And, by the way, Anwar has an almost full frontal nude scene as well. Since this is the first time I’ve seen Snatchers in its proper widescreen . . . seeing it full frame on cable you only see her tits, you see a bit more on the 2.40 version.
Extras Included . . .
A couple of suggestions to Warner for future Archive bluing . . . The Hand (1981) and Looker (1981).