CC: The Body Snatchers (1955)(1953)(1978)(1993)(2007)

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Friday, January 9, 2015

CC: The Body Snatchers (1955)(1953)(1978)(1993)(2007)

The Body Snatchers is a 1955 science fiction novel by Jack Finney, originally serialized in Colliers Magazine in 1954, which describes the town of Mill Valley, California, being invaded by seeds that have drifted to Earth from space.  The seeds replace sleeping people with perfect physical duplicates grown from plantlike pods, while their human victims turn to dust.

The duplicates live only five years, and they cannot sexually reproduce; consequently, if unstopped, they will quickly turn Earth into a dead planet and move on to the next world.  One of the duplicate invaders suggests that this is what all humans do; use up resources, wipe out indigenous populations, and destroy ecosystems in the name of survival.

The novel has been adapted for the screen four times; the first film in 1956, the second in 1978, the third in 1993, and the most recent in 2007.  Unlike two of the film adaptations, the novel contains an optimistic ending, with the aliens voluntarily vacating after deciding that they cannot tolerate the type of resistance they see in the main characters.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

  • Genre: Horror – Sci-Fi
  • Directed: Don Siegel
  • Produced: Walter Mirisch
  • Written:
    • Jack Finney (Serial & Novel) 
    • Daniel Mainwaring (Screenplay)  
    • Richard Collins (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, King Donovan, Carolyn Jones, Jean Willes, Ralph Dumke, Virginia Christine, Tom Fadden, Kenneth Patterson, Guy Way, Eileen Stevens
  • Music: Carmen Dragon
  • Cinematography: Ellsworth Fredericks
  • Editing: Robert S. Eisen
  • Studio: Walter Wanger Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Allied Artists Pictures  
    • Crystal Pictures Inc.  
    • Artisan Home Entertainment  
    • The Criterion Collection  
    • National Telefilm Associates  
    • The Nostalgia Merchant  
    • Olive Films  
    • Republic Pictures Home Video
  • Rated: APPROVED
  • Release Date: 5 February 1956 (USA)
  • Running Time: 80 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1956 American black-and-white science fiction film directed by Don Siegel that was released through Allied Artists Picture Corporation.  Daniel Mainwaring adapted the screenplay from Jack Finney's 1954 novel The Body Snatchers.

The story depicts an extraterrestrial invasion that begins in a small California town when alien plant spores grow into large seed pods, each one capable of reproducing internally a duplicate replacement copy of each human: As each pod reaches full development, it assimilates the physical characteristics, memories, and personalities of each sleeping person placed near it; these duplicates are devoid of all human emotion.  Little by little, a local doctor uncovers what is occurring and tries to stop the invasion.

In 1994 Invasion of the Body Snatchers was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."  The slang expression "pod people" that arose in late 20th Century American culture references the emotionless duplicates seen in the film.

Psychiatrist Dr. Hill is called to the emergency room of a hospital, where a screaming man is held in custody.  Dr. Hill agrees to listen to his story.  The man identifies himself as Dr. Miles Bennell, and he recounts, in flashback, the events leading up to his arrest and arrival at the hospital:

In the fictional town of Santa Mira, California, Miles Bennell, a local doctor, sees a number of patients who believe their loved ones have been replaced by impostors.  Returning from a trip, Miles meets his former girlfriend, Becky Driscoll, who has herself recently come back to town after a recent divorce.  Becky tells him that her cousin Wilma has the same fear about her Uncle Ira, with whom she lives.  Dr. Dan Kauffman, a psychiatrist in the town, assures Bennell that these cases are merely an "epidemic of mass hysteria."

That same evening Bennell's friend Jack Belicec finds a body with his physical features, though it's not fully developed; later, another body is found in the cellar of Becky's home that is a copy of her.  When Bennell calls Kauffman to the scene, the bodies have mysteriously disappeared, and Kauffman informs Bennell that he is falling for the same hysteria.  The following night, Bennell, Becky, Jack, and Jack's wife Teddy again find duplicates of themselves, emerging from large seed pods in Dr. Bennell's greenhouse; they conclude that the townspeople are being replaced while asleep by exact physical copies.  Miles tries to make a long distance call for help from federal authorities, but the phone operator claims that all long-distance lines are busy; Jack and Teddy drive off to seek help in the next town.  Bennell and Becky discover that by now all of the town's inhabitants have been replaced and are devoid of humanity; they flee to Bennell's office to hide for the night.

The next morning, they see truckloads of the large pods heading to neighboring towns, to be planted by "pod people" and used to replace surrounding populations little by little.  Kauffman and Jack, both of whom are "pod people" by now, arrive at Bennell's office and reveal that an extraterrestrial life form is responsible for the invasion.  After their takeover, they explain, life loses its frustrating complexity, because all emotions and sense of individuality vanish.  Bennell and Becky escape and hide in an abandoned mine outside of town.  Bennell comes upon a nearby farm and discovers more large seed pods being grown by the hundreds.  While he is gone, Becky falls asleep and is transformed; when he returns and kisses her he realizes what has happened.  She calls out to the pursuing "pod people".  Bennell, now panicking, runs and eventually finds himself on a crowded highway, frantically screaming to passing motorists, "They're here already! You're next! You're next!"

The flashback ends as Bennell finishes his story at the hospital.  Dr. Hill and the on-duty doctor doubt his account until an injured truck driver, involved in a highway accident, is brought into the emergency room; he was found in his wrecked truck buried under a load of giant seed pods.  Both doctors realize that Bennell's story is true, and they immediately call the federal authorities.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

  • Genre: Horror – Sci-Fi
  • Directed: Philip Kaufman
  • Produced: Robert H. Solo
  • Written:
    • Jack Finney (Novel "The Body Snatchers")  
    • W.D. Richter (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, Leonard Nimoy, Art Hindle, Lelia Goldoni, Kevin McCarthy, Don Siegel, Tom Luddy, Stan Ritchie, David Fisher
  • Music: Denny Zeitlin
  • Cinematography: Michael Chapman
  • Editing: Douglas Stewart
  • Studio: Solofilm
  • Distributed:
    • United Artists  
    • American Broadcasting Company  
    • MGM Home Entertainment  
    • Warner Home Video
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 20 December 1978 (USA)
  • Running Time: 115 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1978 science fiction thriller directed by Philip Kaufman.  The plot involves a San Francisco health inspector and his colleague who discover humans are being replaced by duplicate aliens who appear to be perfect copies of the persons replaced, but devoid of any human emotion.  A box office success, Invasion of the Body Snatchers was very well received by critics, and is considered by some to be among the greatest film remakes.

In deep space, a race of gelatinous creatures abandon their dying world.  Pushed through space by the solar wind, they make their way to Earth and land in San Francisco.  Some fall on plant leaves, assimilating them and forming small pods with pink flowers.  Elizabeth Driscoll, an employee at the San Francisco health department, is one of several people who bring the flowers home.  The next morning, Elizabeth's boyfriend, Geoffrey Howell, suddenly becomes distant, and she senses that something is wrong.  Her colleague, health inspector Matthew Bennell, suggests that she see his friend, psychiatrist Dr. David Kibner.  Kibner suggests that Elizabeth wants to believe that Geoffrey has changed because she is looking for an excuse to get out of their relationship.

Meanwhile, Matthew's friend Jack Bellicec, a struggling writer who owns a bathhouse with his wife Nancy, discovers a deformed body on one of the beds and calls Matthew to investigate.  Noticing that the body (which is adult sized but lacks distinguishing characteristics) bears a slight resemblance to Jack, Matthew breaks into Elizabeth's home and finds a semi-formed double of her in the bedroom garden.  He is able to get the sleeping Elizabeth to safety, but the duplicate body has disappeared by the time he returns with the police.

Matthew realizes that what is happening is extraterrestrial, and that people are being replaced by copies while they sleep.  Matthew calls several state and federal agencies, but they all tell him not to worry.  In addition, people who had earlier claimed that their loved ones had changed seem to have been converted as well, including (unbeknownst to him) Dr. Kibner.

That night, Matthew and his friends are nearly duplicated by the pods while they sleep.  The pod people try to raid Matthew's house, but he and his friends are able to escape.  During this, they discover that the pod people emit a shrill scream once they learn someone is still human among them.

Jack and Nancy create a diversion within a crowd of pursuing pod people to give Matthew and Elizabeth time to escape.  Matthew and Elizabeth are chased across San Francisco.  They are eventually found by the doubles of Jack and Dr. Kibner at the Health Department.  Kibner's double tells them that what the alien species is doing is purely for survival and that they are even doing humanity a favor by ridding them of emotion.  Matthew and Elizabeth are injected with a sedative to make them sleep.  However, having already taken a large dose of speed, the couple overpower them and escape the building.

In the stairwell, they find Nancy, who has learned to evade the pod people by hiding all emotion.  Outside, Matthew and Elizabeth are exposed as human when Elizabeth screams after seeing a mutant dog with a man's face.  They flee, and discover a giant warehouse at the docks where the pods are grown.  After Matthew and Elizabeth profess their love for each other, Matthew goes out to investigate, only to discover a cargo ship being loaded with hundreds of pods.

Matthew returns to find that Elizabeth has fallen asleep.  Although he tries to wake her, her body crumbles to dust and Elizabeth's double arises behind him, telling him to sleep.  Now alone, Matthew sets the pod warehouse on fire, destroying many unhatched pods.  However, he is chased by the pod people and hides under a pier outside.  However, the pod people know he will have to fall asleep eventually.

The next morning, Matthew watches dozens of children being led into a theater to be replaced.  At work he sees Elizabeth, but she is completely oblivious to him.  While walking towards City Hall, he is spotted by Nancy, who has avoided conversion into a pod person.  She calls his name, to which Matthew responds by pointing to her and emitting the piercing pod scream.  Realizing that Matthew is now a pod person, Nancy screams in helpless terror.

Body Snatchers (1993)

  • Genre: Sci-Fi – Horror – Thriller
  • Directed: Abel Ferrara
  • Produced:
    • Kimberly Brent 
    • Michael Jaffe 
    • Robert H. Solo
  • Written:
    • Jack Finney (Novel "The Body Snatchers")
    • Raymond Cistheri (Spec Script)  
    • Larry Cohen (Spec Script)  
    • Stuart Gordon (Screenplay)  
    • Dennis Paoli (Screenplay)  
    • Nicholas St. John (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Terry Kinney, Meg Tilly, Gabrielle Anwar, Reilly Murphy, Billy Wirth, Christine Elise, R. Lee Ermey, Kathleen Doyle, Forest Whitaker, G. Elvis Phillips
  • Music: Joe Delia
  • Cinematography: Bojan Bazelli
  • Editing: Anthony Redman
  • Studio:
    • Dorset Productions 
    • Robert H. Solo Productions 
    • Warner Bros.
  • Distributed:
    • Asso Film  
    • National Broadcasting Company  
    • Warner Home Video
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 28 January 1994 (USA)
  • Running Time: 87 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

Body Snatchers is a 1993 American science fiction horror film loosely based on the 1955 novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney.  The plot revolves around the discovery that people working at a military base in Alabama are being replaced by perfect physical imitations grown from plant-like pods.  The duplicates are indistinguishable from normal people except for their utter lack of emotion.

Steve Malone, an agent from the Environmental Protection Agency, is sent to a military base in Alabama to test possible effects on the surrounding ecological system caused by military actions.  With him is his teenage daughter from his first marriage, Marti, his second wife Carol, and Marti's half brother Andy.  On their way to the base, they stop at a gas station.  In the restroom, Marti is threatened by an MP member with a knife.  When he notices her fear, he lets go of her, satisfied that she shows an emotional response.  Before she leaves the room, he warns her, "they get you when you sleep".

Steve and his family move into their new home on the base, and Marti makes friends with the base commander's daughter Jenn.  On his first day in day care, Andy runs away because he is recognized as an outsider among the other somehow conformist children.  He is picked up and brought home by helicopter pilot Tim.  Marti and Tim quickly feel attracted to each other.  Meanwhile, while examining soil samples, Steve is approached by medical officer Major Collins, who asks him about psychological effects particularly narcophobia (the fear of sleep) and their possible relation to toxins of the environment.  Steve believes that a physiological reaction would be more likely.

In the evening, Marti and Jenn go to the bar attended by the station's military personnel, where they meet not only Tim but also the MP who threatened Marti at the gas station.  He denies that they ever met before.  That night, a group of soldiers can be seen picking giant pods from the river running by the base.  When Andy wakes up and enters his mother's room, Carol crumbles to dust, while a soulless double emerges from the closet.  Nobody believes Andy's story that his real mother is dead and the person pretending to be Carol is only an impostor.

The following night, Marti and her father are nearly "taken over" too by duplicates emerging from the giant pods.  Carol attempts to convince Steve that the takeover is a good thing, claiming that it ends confusion and anger.  She also claims that there's no place to go, as the invasion is not an isolated incident.  Steve is almost shocked and saddened into compliance, but Marti and Andy drag him out the door.  Carol emits a shrill and mechanical scream that alerts other "pod people" to the presence of a human being.  Now the majority in numbers, they swarm over the base chasing the remaining humans.

After hiding Marti and Andy in a warehouse, Steve enters Major Collins' office.  The hysterical Major tries to call for help, but the line is blocked.  While swallowing sleep-prevention pills Collins announces that it is too late to run; all they can do is fight.  Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of a group of pod people, led by base commander General Platt.  While Steve hides, the pod people try to convince the Major that the individual is not important, and that only conformity can solve the world's problems.  The Major shoots himself rather than live in such a world.

Steve returns to his children and tells them to follow him, claiming to have found a way out.  They drive aimlessly through the military base, as loudspeakers shout out instructions for spreading the invasion by carrying out pods in trucks.  Realizing that her father was replicated while he was away, Marti swerves the car to the side and tries to escape with her brother.  Tim, who escaped his former comrades who tried to turn him into one of them, enters the scene.  Marti takes his gun and shoots the person pretending to be her father.  The father duplicate shrinks into a mass of seething, bloody goo.

Tim manages to get hold of a helicopter gunship, but Marti and Andy are taken away by the pod people.  They sedate both of them and take them to the base infirmary where the remaining human beings are systematically duplicated by pods.  Tim is able to rescue Marti, and although Marti's half brother and Jenn, now duplicates themselves, try to stop them, they manage to escape.

The ending of the film is an ambiguous one.  Tim destroys the trucks filled with pods with the helicopter's rockets, while Marti confesses her profound hatred in a voice-over narration, thereby hinting at a loss of humanitarian quality.  While they land on another base, the words of Marti's stepmother earlier in the film can be heard, suggesting that the phenomenon may have already spread beyond the army base: "Where you gonna go, where you gonna run, where you gonna hide?  Nowhere... 'cause there's no one like you left."

The Invasion (2007)

  • Genre: Sci-Fi – Thriller
  • Directed:
    • Oliver Hirschbiegel 
    • James McTeigue
  • Produced:
    • Jessica Alan 
    • Bruce Berman 
    • Doug Davison 
    • Susan Downey 
    • David Gambino 
    • Roy Lee 
    • Steve Richards 
    • Joel Silver 
    • Ronald G. Smith
  • Written:
    • Jack Finney (Novel "The Body Snatchers")  
    • David Kajganich (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jeremy Northam, Jackson Bond, Jeffrey Wright, Veronica Cartwright, Josef Sommer, Celia Weston, Roger Rees, Eric Benjamin, Susan Floyd, Stephanie Berry, Alexis Raben, Adam LeFevre, Joanna Merlin
  • Music: John Ottman
  • Cinematography: Rainer Klausmann
  • Editing:
    • Hans Funck  
    • Joel Negron
  • Studio:
    • Warner Bros.  
    • Village Roadshow Pictures  
    • Silver Pictures  
    • Vertigo Entertainment
  • Distributed: Warner Home Video
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 17 August 2007 (USA)
  • Running Time: 99 minutes
  • Country:
    • USA 
    • Australia
  • Language:
    • English 
    • Russian

The Invasion is a 2007 science fiction thriller film starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, with additional scenes written by The Wachowskis and directed by James McTeigue.

After the space shuttle Patriot crashes on Earth, a fungus-like alien lifeform is discovered on the remaining parts scattered over US territory.  Once people get in contact with the organism, they are being controlled by it when they enter REM sleep.  One of the first people infected is Tucker Kaufman, a CDC director investigating the crash.

Tucker's ex-wife, psychiatrist Carol Bennell, begins to feel something is amiss when people seem to have "changed".  Her patient Wendy Lenk describes how her husband "is not her husband", and one of her son's friends acts detached and emotionless.  At a neighborhood kids party, Carol's son Oliver discovers a strange lifeform.  The mothers speculate if the organism is in any way connected to the reports of a fast-spreading flu.  Carol takes the organism to her doctor friend Ben Driscoll to have it checked.  Meanwhile, Tucker uses the CDC to spread the disease further, disguising the spores as flu inoculations.

Ben and Dr. Stephen Galeano, a biologist, discover how the spore takes over the brain during REM sleep.  They also find that people who had brain affecting illnesses, such as encephalitis or ADEM (Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis), are immune to the spore because their previous illnesses prevents the spore from "latching on" to the brain matter.  Carol's son, Oliver, is immune to the spore because of the ADEM he had as a young child.  Carol decides to get her son, who might show a way to a cure, back from Tucker.  Before she drives to Tucker's house, she joins Ben's team who are called to the house of the Belicecs, the Czech ambassador and his wife, in a case of emergency.  There they witness the transformation of Yorish, the Russian ambassador and the Belicecs' friend.

When Carol arrives at Tucker's house, he and several colleagues close in on her.  He explains that the changed humans, devoid of irrational emotions, are offering a better world, and asks her to join them.  When Carol resists, he holds her to the ground and infects her by spurting his saliva on her.  She escapes and returns to Ben at the Belicecs' house.  They flee when Belicec returns with more transformed people intent on infecting anyone in the house.  Galeano and one of his assistants head to a base outside Baltimore where they and other scientists attempt to find a cure for the alien virus.  Carol and Ben separate to find Oliver, who texts his location, the apartment of Tucker's mother, to Carol.

Finally Ben arrives, but Carol realizes that he too has become one of the infected.  He tries to seduce her to give in to the new society, but also frankly states that there is no room for people like Oliver who are immune.  Carol shoots him in the leg with a revolver she stole earlier from a transforming policeman, and flees with her son.  With the infected closing in on them, Galeano picks them up with an army helicopter at the last second.  They head back to the base, where scientists use Oliver's blood to create a vaccine.

One year later, most victims of the infection have been cured, having no memory of the events which took place during their illness.  Asked by a reporter if he considers the virus to be under control, Galeano replies that a look at the newspaper headlines should be proof enough that humanity acted human again.  At her home, Carol helps her son to get ready for school, while Ben, now apparently her partner, reads the morning newspaper.  He expresses his dismay about the violence in the world.  Carol remembers Yorish's remark that a world without violence would be a world where human beings ceased to be human.

And I just wouldn’t feel right if I ignored this stellar example of film making!


Invasion of the Pod People (2007)

  • Genre: Sci-Fi – Thriller
  • Directed: Justin Jones
  • Produced:
    • Paul Bales 
    • Nick Everhart 
    • Justin Jones 
    • David Michael Latt 
    • David Rimawi 
    • Leigh Scott
  • Written:
    • Ron Magid  
    • Jay Marks  
    • Leigh Scott
  • Starring: Erica Roby, Jessica Bork, Sarah Lieving, Danae Nason, Shaley Scott, Michael Tower, David Shick, Amanda Ward, Marat Glazer, Lorraine Smith, Teri Fruichantie, Leigh Scott
  • Music: Chris Ridenhour
  • Cinematography:
    • Bianca Bahena 
    • Leigh Scott
  • Editing: Kristen Quintrall
  • Studio: The Asylum
  • Distributed:
    • The Asylum  
    • DTP Entertainment  
    • Edel Media & Entertainment
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 24 July 2007 (USA)
  • Running Time: 85 min
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

Invasion of the Pod People (released in some countries as Invasion: The Beginning) is a 2007 science-fiction film produced by The Asylum.  Like several other films by The Asylum, Invasion of the Pod People is a mockbuster whose release coincided with the premiere of The Invasion, although the plot of Pod People borrowed heavily from the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, of which The Invasion is a reworking.  Please to notice the lack of giving any credit to Jack Finney which would be my main sore point concerning anything The Asylum releases.  Personally, this feels more like the Producers finding an excuse for women kissing and nudity but what do I know?

The film is about Melissa, a young woman living in Los Angeles, who works for a large corporation.

One night, there is a freak meteor shower.  The next morning, Melissa goes about her day but as time passes, slowly becomes aware that those around her have changed since the meteorites fell.  It's as if their minds are no longer their own.  For example, Melissa's supervisor Samantha seduces her into a passionate lesbian encounter, even though Samantha had never shown any signs of being a lesbian.

Melissa soon realizes that the townsfolk have been replaced by a race of aliens known as Pod People.  The aliens grow in large seed pods and gradually take the form of a particular person, eventually taking over their bodies once the growth process is complete.  The Pod People try to take control of Melissa, but she flees the town to warn humanity of the invasion in progress.




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