Movie Reviews: “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978)

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Starring Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, & Leonard Lemoy.

The plot for this 1978 remake is very similar to the 1956 version. Sutherland plays Matt Bennell, a man who works for the Department of Health. When his co-worker friend (and secret love interest) Elizabeth complains that her husband is acting strange, the two of them start to notice that many other people are complaining of the same problem, that their loved ones are not really their loved ones.

I think where this remake shines most is in the last half where they try to flee the terror. It really builds on what the 56′ version started. It’s tense as hell, more violent, and more sophisticated. Sutherland makes a great horror lead. I wish he had done more films like this.

While plot remains mostly the same, this remake has a very different vibe from the 56′. It’s a perfect remake in that it takes the story and makes it it’s own without trying to be the original. It also has a bigger budget. Entire streets are lined with “them” chasing our heroes. Police, businessmen, women, children etc all transformed and on the prowl.

Lastly I think that the ending of this film is one of cinemas great endings. It’s truly memorable and shocking. Its even been parodied on “Family Guy.” What does that tell you? All in all, this stands alone, and on par with the original. This is what all remakes should aspire to be.

4.0 out of 4.0 stars.

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Movie Reviews: “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956)

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Starring Kevin McCarthy & Dana Wynter.

They want you to go to sleep. The alien pods slowly transform into you, disintegrating your old body, as you dream into death. The new body wakes up emotionless and carries on, wanting to transform the others. Dr. Bennell discovers this in his small community of Santa Mira, CA. He flees with Becky, his life long love. What will happen to that love if one, or both of them is taken? They must stay awake. They must fight it, but who can they trust?

“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” is my favorite sci-fi horror film from the 1950’s. The story is like a curtain being slowly pulled back until the realization is made that these things are for real and they want to take over. It’s an intense film filled with a multitude of emotions. Fear, sadness, love, hate. All the things that make us who we are, and are all about to be taken away.

McCarthy is awesome in the lead. First as the mild mannered, suave Dr. Bennell, and later on, a frantic man fighting for his life, and humanity itself. Some of the final scenes where he is chasing down cars on the highway yelling & pleading for help “They’re coming! You’re next!” are fantastic and iconic!

There’s one scene in the final act of the film that may be the single most chilling shot in all of cinema. I won’t spoil it though. You’ll know it when you see it!

“Invasion” has been remade 3 times now. None of the remakes top the original. They just can’t. However, one of them, the 1978 remake is fantastic and may be as good as the original in its own way. I plan on reviewing that next. If you haven’t seen this 1956 version, then make it the priority over all the other “Invasion” remakes. It’s a classic American film.

4.0 out of 4.0 stars.