View Full Version : Invasion(s) Of The Body Snatchers

Ian Jane
07-03-2012, 11:23 AM
Figured, after recently watching the original Don Siegel masterpiece and then last night the 70s remake, that the pod people should get some love around here.

I consider the original to be a bit of a masterpiece and I know I'm not alone in that. It's incredibly tense and a great example of paranoid fifties American filmmaking. You can read it as an allegory about the 'red menace' or you can enjoy it as a slick slice of sci-fi - it works on both levels. Siegel's direction is great, McCarthy is amazing in the lead and the whole thing is incredibly effective despite (or because of?) it's reliance not on effect but on storytelling, acting and suspense.


Which contrats a lot with the 70s version. This one is loaded with a lot of effects pieces, it's quite a bit more sensational in many ways and whereas in the original the pod people were quiet and showed no emotion, here they scream and run and do show more than a passing interest in self preservation. Pretty strong for a PG film, what with 'hoe to the head' gore effect and the (admittedly non-sexual) nudity in the last half hour. A fantastic ending, a solid performance from all involved even if Leonard Nimoy doesn't get to stretch much as an actor. A nice nod to the original with McCarthy's cameo (which you could see as something that makes this as much a sequel as a remake given how the original ends and that it took place in a different city).


Haven't seen the Fererra version in a while, might have to dig that one out soon...


Paul L
07-03-2012, 11:35 AM
The Siegel film is a great movie; Kaufman's film is very good too. I didn't like Ferrara's take on the story when it first came out, but I rewatched it a couple of years ago and found it much more interesting than I remembered.

Andrew Monroe
07-03-2012, 12:02 PM
I love the first two, really hard to say which one I prefer. The original did it first and really lays on the paranoia and has fine performances from the quartet, while the Kaufman film is just plain scarier imo. Really disturbing ending too. I have never warmed much to Ferara's version, I think it was a mistake to confine the action to a military base. The less said about the most recent one the better...ugh.

Barry M
07-03-2012, 12:23 PM
I like 'em all. And don't forget SCTV's ZONTAR. Cabbages are scary.


Alison Jane
07-03-2012, 12:43 PM
I've enjoyed watching the first two. I had seen bits and pieces of the original ad my mom always loved it. Glad to finally see the whole thing. Neat how Kevin McCarthy showed up in the remake.

Ian Jane
09-04-2013, 04:10 PM
Arrow has this slated for 11/18/13. (http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk/index.php?tle_id=823&art_id=44)

Starring: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum
Directed by: Philip Kaufman
Duration: 115


When health official Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams) notices that her lover has become strangely distant, this sets in train a series of shocking discoveries that sees both her and colleague Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) fleeing for their lives to the sound of ear-piercing alien screams.

Remakes of great films are usually on a hiding to nothing, but Philip Kaufman’s brilliant update of the 1956 classic is a rare and memorable exception. Transposing the action to the heart of San Francisco allows Kaufman to retain all the suspense of Jack Finney’s original story while adding caustic social commentary about the selfishness of the 1970s “me generation” that remains all too relevant today.

But it’s a paranoid thriller first and foremost, based on one of the most psychologically terrifying of all premises – what happens when you can no longer trust not just the authorities but even your nearest and dearest?

Special Features:
-Limited Edition SteelBook™ packaging featuring original poster artwork
-High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the film
-Original uncompressed Stereo 2.0 audio / 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
-Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
-Audio commentary with director Philip Kaufman
-Pod Discussion: A new panel conversation about Invasion of the Body Snatchers and invasion cinema featuring critic Kim Newman and filmmakers Ben Wheatley and Norman J. Warren
-Dissecting the Pod: A new interview with Kaufman biographer Annette Insdorf
-Pod Novel: A new interview with Jack Seabrook, author of “Stealing through Time: On the Writings of Jack Finney” about Finney’s original novel ‘The Body Snatchers’
-Re-Visitors from Outer Space: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pod – a documentary on the making of the film featuring Philip Kaufman, Donald Sutherland, writer W.D. Richter and more
-The Man Behind the Scream: The Sound Effects Pod – a look at the film’s pioneering sound effects
-The Invasion Will Be Televised: The Cinematography Pod – cinematographer Michael Chapman (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) discusses the look of and influences on the visual style of the film
-Practical Magic: The Special Effect Pod – A look at the creation of the special effects from the opening space sequence
-Original Theatrical Trailer
-Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic David Cairns, as well as re-prints of classic articles including contemporary interviews with Philip Kaufman and W.D. Richter, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

Steelbook version!


Non-Steelbook version!


09-04-2013, 04:44 PM
Good film, shit artwork. I'm beginning to miss whats his face, the artist they once commissioned. Im not liking their new covers at all.

Derek Steckler
09-05-2013, 05:41 PM
The first 2 are classics and I've seen them many times. Ferrara's version actually has a lot going for it. There is great cinematography and music by frequent Ferrara collaborators Bojan Bazelli and Joe Delia, an intense performance by Forest Whitaker and a very creepy Meg Tilly. The concept of setting it on a military base is interesting, since like the pod people soldiers are taught to repress their individuality in the service of the organization, and this extends to a classroom scene where all the children except one paint the same image. Ferrara was notoriously out of his mind on drugs at the time which probably contributed to the film's failure, but I get the feeling it was mainly due to studio interference. 5 writers are credited (including Larry Cohen and Stuart Gordon who I assume were hoping to direct themselves) and the ending in particular seems rushed. It's a failure overall but an interesting one.

09-05-2013, 05:49 PM
I like the art for the standard bd. Steelbook...not so much.

Alex K.
09-05-2013, 05:51 PM
I should watch the 70's remake. I liked the Abel Ferrara remake Body Snatchers though.

09-06-2013, 01:00 PM
I really dug Ferrara's version. Plus, Gabrielle Anwar (http://burnnotice.download-tvshows.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/gabrielle-anwar.jpg) nekkid.

Ian Jane
09-09-2013, 12:02 PM
"After comments from our fans we decided to look at our Steelbook again in order to give everybody what they wanted. We have gone back and managed to find a better quality image which, after re-testing, worked much better than it did originally and that this will be the final design. Hope you all like it!"


Todd Jordan
09-09-2013, 01:16 PM
they need an extra devoted just to the dog sequence. That freaked me out as a kid but I loved it.

Ian Jane
09-15-2016, 03:26 PM
Coming soon from Warner Archive!!


Alex K.
09-15-2016, 05:30 PM
I always liked the 90's version.

Tom Clark
09-15-2016, 05:42 PM
Ferrara's version is really a great film with some awe-inspiring photography and an exceptionally eerie turn from Meg Tilly ("Where you gonna go..."). Too bad it got fucked by its own studio (after years of development and millions of dollars) and never really had a chance to find its audience when it first came out but thankfully its gathered a fanbase over the years.

Ian Jane
08-23-2018, 10:51 AM
Looks like the original is getting the Olive Signature Edition treatment in October.

Alison Jane
08-23-2018, 10:56 AM
I wouldn't mind seeing it again.

Derrick King
09-17-2018, 03:27 PM
specs for the Olive Signature release of the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (release date is October 16th):

Audio Commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith
Audio Commentary by actors Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, and filmmaker Joe Dante
"The Stranger in Your Lover's Eyes" – A two-part visual essay with actor and son of director Don Siegel, Kristoffer Tabori, reading from his father's book A Siegel Film
"The Fear is Real" – Filmmakers Larry Cohen and Joe Dante on the film's cultural significance
"I No Longer Belong: The Rise and Fall of Walter Wanger" – Film scholar and author Matthew Bernstein discusses the life and career of the film's producer
"Sleep No More: Invasion of the Body Snatchers Revisited" – Never-before-seen appreciation of the film featuring actors Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, along with comments from film directors and fans, John Landis, Mick Garris, and Stuart Gordon
"The Fear and the Fiction: The Body Snatchers Phenomenon" – Never-before-seen interviews with Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, along with film directors John Landis, Mick Garris and Stuart Gordon, discussing the making of the film, its place in history, and its meaning
1985 archival interview with Kevin McCarthy hosted by Tom Hatten
"Return to Santa Mira" – An exploration of the film's locations
"What's In a Name?" – On the film's title
Gallery of rare documents detailing aspects of the film's production including the never-produced opening narration to have been read by Orson Welles
Essay by author and film programmer Kier-La Janisse
Original theatrical trailer
Optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature

09-17-2018, 04:14 PM
The Siegel 1956 original is one of my fave films of all time, so it's hard to be totally objective about the remakes (even though I actually saw the 70s version before the original). I've always loved how it works on a psychological level. The idea of not being able to sleep. To be ripped clean of everything that makes people human. Not to mention the overlay of the McCarthy era that hangs over every paranoid frame of it.

The 1978 Kaufman edition is a very good film, well-directed and acted. But, by moving it to a larger city, it never really convinced that the whole metropolis was under siege. Also, the largely fine screenplay (by BUCKAROO BANZAI's WD Richter) gives away a bit too much, too soon.

The 1993 Ferrara version again returns the story to a smaller locale, but, it's so compact that the larger story never really gets under your skin like the first two did. It's ok in a straight to video kind of way, but, nothing exceptional.

Never bothered with the supposedly wretched 2007 THE INVASION

Dom D
09-17-2018, 05:04 PM
Never bothered with the supposedly wretched 2007 THE INVASION

It is wretched but the concept is so hard to fuck up that even that film has 15-20 minute stretches where it's tense as fuck. I can't remember how they screw it up in the end but the conclusion to the film is woeful. The Siegel film all the way for. The 70s version is great and the 90s is okay but the 50s version is one of the all timers.

09-17-2018, 06:38 PM
It is wretched but the concept is so hard to fuck up that even that film has 15-20 minute stretches where it's tense as fuck. I can't remember how they screw it up in the end but the conclusion to the film is woeful. .

THE INVASION is legendary for having the Director removed and new scenes shot by another: http://www.boxofficeprophets.com/column/index.cfm?columnID=13741

06-19-2019, 03:16 PM
Don Siegel's 1956 INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS is one of my favorite films of all time, full of subtle intrigue about what it means to be human. It's also one of the most psychologically terrifying movies. I have great respect for Philip Kaufman's '78 remake. Abel Ferrara did a decent job with his compact '93 remake. But, when THE INVASION came out in 2007 to a chorus of negative reviews, I demurred. Well, it's been a dozen years, so I finally gave in....

Coming off his acclaimed German films THE EXPERIMENT and DOWNFALL (yes, the one that spurred all those youtube Hitler memes), Director Oliver Hirschbiegel, like so many other foreign filmmakers before, took the leap into Hollywood aligning himself with mega-bucks Producer Joel Silver and boasting a cast including Oscar winner Nicole Kidman and future James Bond, Daniel Craig. And, like so many before him, the Production left him scarred.

First, the positive. Screenwriter David Kajganich (last year's SUSPIRIA) script tries a different tack from its predecessors - no Pods. The idea of a virus that spreads rather than seedlings has some merit. As Dr. Carol Bennell (a nod to Kevin McCarthy in the original) Kidman is quite good as the mom who just wants to save her son.* Craig plays a close friend/suitor who is also a Doctor. Jeffrey Wright gets saddled with being 'Basil Exposition' as the lab scientist who deduces the nature of the threat. Veronica Cartwright, as Carol's patient, is a nice nod to the 70s edition (in much the same way as Mccarthy was, in turn, to that version**). The most interesting concept is one that is buried deep in the background: the idea that the Body Snatchers outbreak is helping World Peace. It's so obscured that many a viewer might miss is (it also makes little sense in context).

Hirschbiegel handles his cast well. The staging is fine, and Cinematographer Rainer Klausmann manages some good set-ups. John Ottman's score is solid. Still, THE INVASION is curiously flat. No matter how many car stunts and chase scenes (more on those later) there are, the film never quickens the pulse. Original author Jack Finney's storyline still generates some residue suspense, but, there's little new added here to justify a fourth official version (there have been, of course, numerous rip-offs and "homages").

Of course, the elephant in the room is the fact that Hirschbiegel's original cut was deemed unsatisfying by Silver and the Studio (WB). The Wachowskis were brought in for an (uncredited) re-write. V FOR VENDETTA Director James McTeigue Directed the new pages. It was an extensive re-shoot costing some $15M. From reports, most of the last 20 minutes of the movie were re-done. Unsurprisingly, considering Silver's reputation, most of it are stunts and explosions - not, subtle political subtext.

Even accounting for the reshoots, there's enough remaining to argue that even Hirschbiegel's uncut edition wouldn't have worked. To start with, the idea of a Shuttle explosion (pretty distasteful to watch) initiating the Invasion is fraught with issues: They don't burn up? How does it spread over such a vast area? Isn't the transmission awfully quick? Plus, by eschewing the pods, it takes away from the elemental one to one relationship. One pod for each person (the scene where McCarthy's character spies a family laying out one for their baby is chillingly nonchalant). All the vomiting in the world can't replace it. And, by making it a virus, the movie essentially becomes another Zombie tale. The crashing spaceship is right out of the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Not to mention that just a couple of years prior, Danny Boyle's 28 DAYS LATER plowed over much the same road (the Body Snatchers here aren't the 'fast zombies' of 28, but, they are more aggressive than in the previous three adaptations). Toss in a little ANDROMEDA STRAIN and a pinch of I AM LEGEND/OMEGA MAN and the finished film is closer to Romero than Finney. The political allegory never gets a chance to come to the forefront (the most effective scene is with the Russian ambassador (Roger Rees)). Unfortunately, it gets completely overwhelmed by abundant action sequences. Further, the way the story unfolds, it makes little sense for such a world-wide panic to occur simultaneously with the 'peace outbreak'. It's either a pandemic or its not. Cities are being overrun and 'taken over', and the News breezily continues as normal? The film never explains how all of this can be happening concurrently. But, Wait! Over there! Look! It's Another Joel Silver Approved Vehicle Smash-Up!
THE INVASION is hardly the worst remake yet made. As noted, enough of Finney's novel survives to give the film some suspense. It's well made (if not smartly thought out) and acted. But, there's a reason that it is often lumped in with the "unnecessary remake" label.

*I disagree with those who say Kidman was cast for her icy reputation. She's a fine actress, plus, the way the screenplay is structured leaves little room for the audience to doubt her humanity.

** Josef Sommer and Celia Weston play Mr. & Mrs. Belicec (Cartwright's character name in the 1978 film)