5.0 out of 5 stars Horror/Sci-Fi Classic
I first saw INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978) in a movie theater back in mid-'79. I was not quite 12 years old then and this film freaked me out. I had nightmares for days. This gives you an idea of how effective this chilling update of the 1956 story was! Now that I have owned it on VHS for several years and have seen it a few more times, I can still appreciate this...
Published on April 3 2004 by Robert J. Schneider
1.0 out of 5 stars DVD is crap.
This dvd is totally crap. Fox-Lorber quality crap. It's the murkiest, muddiest thing I've seen.
Story and actors are fine. But typical MGM bargain basement production quality.
Published 25 days ago by B. Gilchrist
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4.0 out of 5 stars A different invasion for a new era,
Made at the height of communist fears and McCarthyism, the original version of Invasion was a film dictated by its time. Many critics see it as a metaphor for A)the effect of communism or B)a metaphor for McCarthyism. Both the original author Jack Finney and director of the first film Don Siegel denied this. For Finney it was an entertainment an example of the paranoid world we live in. For Siegel it was much more complex. It was a metaphor for the urbanization and denial of our humanity in an age of reason and logic. Both are rich interpretations and luckily neither one effects the marvelous entertainment value of the original film.
Phil Kaufman's update (it's not really a remake as little remains of Finney's novel beyond the concept and only the bare bones outline of Siegel's film)deals with the same theme of Siegel's film; it's about the dehumanizing aspect of the urban world we live in. Kaufman, though, daringly set in in the heart of the urban myth on the West Coast--San Francisco.
Donald Sutherland plays Matthew Bennel a public health inspector. He's got varied and interesting friends including one of his co-workers Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams). She comes to Bennel complaining that her husband isn't himself. He's uncommunicative, emotionless and won't really talk to her. She suspects her husband is having an affair and follows him. She discovers he's exchanging these odd looking packages with people they don't know. Bennel suggests that she speak with a pop psychologist he's friends with and that he might have a rational explaination. Dr. David Kibner's (Leonard Nimoy)suggestion is more down to earth. He's seen this a lot lately and compares it to a virus--but a psychological one. He suggests that she's just lost touch with him and that she needs to reach out to get him more involved.
Bennel's writer/poet friend Jack Belicec (a very young Jeff Goldblum)believes Kibner's explaination and his book are garbage. His supportive (quite literally as she earns the money with her mudbath salon)wife Nancy (Veronica Cartwright)believes Jack's a little jealous and that Kibner might be on to something. Until Nancy discovers a body in her salon. It resembles--vaguely--Jack who had fallen asleep in the salon. They call Bennel as they're afraid it might be the body of a customer with some sort of communicable disease (the metaphor at the cusp of the AIDS epidemic captures the pulse of San Francisco during this time). From there, stranger things begin to happen particularly when another friend appears to be in the process of being "duplicated".
Kaufman's film holds up very well. While not as important as Siegel's ground breaking film (Siegel has a cameo with original star Kevin McCarthy and Robert Duvall as a priest at the beginning), it is a valid and very good reinterpretation of the original classic film. Kaufman makes San Francisco claustrophobic and threatening. The brooding cinematography adds to the sense of menace as does the interesting at times atonal score. W. D. Richter's (Buckaroo Banzai, Big Trouble in Little China) screenplay plays with many of the elements of the original film and has a number of set pieces every bit the equal of the original film.
All the actors give strong performances. Nimoy in particularly plays off his well known character of Mr. Spock in the early scenes with his touchy-feely pop psychology. Sutherland and Adams have considerable chemistry. Interesting note is that Sutherland did many of his less physical stunts. Kaufman was game but Sutherland's assistant told Kaufman he had the "clumsiest man alive" running around twenty feet off the ground and implied he was inviting disaster.
The DVD transfer is good. It's a bit dark but the colors are fairly true to the original prints I've seen. The print is also quite good although there are quite a few analog artifacts that crop up throughout the film. Still, it isn't distracting. The stereo soundtrack sounds surprisingly good given the age of the film. It is a tad bit compressed.
The extras include a running commentary by Phil Kaufman and trailers. There's also a nice booklet with inside information and trivia included. The film is included in both pan & scan format and widescreen on a dual sided disc (not surprising given the year it was first manufactured --1998). It's a nice package altogether.
While Invasion lacks the surprise of the first film, Kaufman knows enough to play with audience expectations and familarity with the original film from the beginning. This is to his advantage. He also manages to include a considerable amount of social satire (something common in many of his films). While his direction isn't quite as self assured as it would be when he made The Right Stuff, he manages to keep the action moving and inspire intelligent performances from his ensemble cast.
5.0 out of 5 stars Much More Intriguing, Involved, Suspenseful and Horrifying .,
Much more intriguing, involved, suspenseful and horrifying than the original 1956 film. Much better by far. However I will say that you should see the original, uncut version of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956) to fully understand what is going on in the 1978 remake and to fully appreciate it. Yes, that is Robert DuVall as the priest on the swing. And, yes, that is Kevin McCarthy as the scared, crazy man in the street. Of course you remember Kevin McCarthy in the original 1956 film. This film has a good all-star cast, Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, Jeff Goldblum, and Veronica Cartwright. Leonard Nimoy is chilling. Jeff Goldblum who we remember from Death Wish (1974) is a nice surprise and is a great addition to the cast. Veronica Cartwright has a wonderful mature role. Great acting from her in this one.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent paranoia film,
The remake/lose sequal to the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers moves us out of the small suburban community of Santa Mira and into the metropolis of San Fransisco. Transparent alien spores enter the atmosphere above the city and fall to the ground during a light rain. Attaching to plants, the begin growing like parasites and sprout colorful and quite harmless looking flowers. Elizibeth Driscoll happens to pick one of them and bring it into her boyfriends house with her. After setting it on the nightstand next to the sleeping Jeffrey, she goes to bed. When she awakens the next morning, Jeffrey isn't quite what he used to be. And so it begins. The movie moves slowly and builds up considerable suspense and tension by the time you reach the ending. Many of the characters retain the same titles given to them in the Jack Finney book and the original film, but the story itself is as much a sequal as a remake. The film stays true to the basic subject matter but twists various events present in the first film into events that have just as much if not greater effect then they had in the original. As the film progresses, the characters become slowly aware of the changes in others around them, and paranoia begins to take over. This film frightened me; it really did. It's extremely well made, with the photography and the soundtrack all adding to the effect. It's a wonderful picture, one that I recommend to anyone. The DVD presentation is okay at best sadly, a remastering of the film would be nice after all these years. Darker scenes show pixelation every once and a while, and the film isn't as clear in some places as one would hope it would be. But these are minor problems at the most, and none of them detract from the effect of the film. Highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky!!!,
Jesus!!! This was scary!!! All actors in here were excellent. Donald Sutherland and Leonard Nimoy were great on their roles. The special FX were awesome for that time!!!
Buy this baby, and drink some cofee while U see it!!! Don't sleep, OK?!!!
4.0 out of 5 stars The body snatchers in the me-decade,
By A Customer
Aliens from a dying world drift across the uncharted and almost endless wastes of deep space before finding their way to our living planet Earth. Not immediately identified when first appearing on our world (they germinate into flowers that grow like parasites everywhere) the aliens are mostly ignored. Then people begin to notice that their friends and loved ones are...different.
Like the 1950's version of "Body Snatchers" this version worked because it tapped into a latent and common paranoia. The original capitalized (or parodied IMNSHO) the red menace (soon to reach on outer space when Sputnik was launched). In this version, set during the "me-decade" the mass-hysteria is based on the idea that people have forgotten how to love, necessarily turning them into loveless but otherwise exact duplicates of themselves. Nobody attributes this to possession by an alien intelligence incapable of loving, and set in the one-time free-love capital of San Francisco, it's an explanation that people can't help but accept. Though relying more on the idea of menace than special effects, like the original, this version does lead up to its own version of the greenhouse scene, which is chilling and gives the aliens their needed identity as otherworldly invaders.
This is a great movie which, like the Carpenter version of "The Thing" can stand up on its own feet. The cinematography and sound editing are real stars here - capturing the sounds and sights of a complex city in which the aliens move about in broad sight. (Kaufman telegraphs the aliens handiwork by placing garbage trucks wherever the old bodies can be recovered; the sound of light rainfall seems ever present). But most of all the paranoia of the original is back and even more terrifying, with the aliens occupying not some idyllic small town, but a major city. The hero is not some country doctor but a health inspector who already knows of the rot in our society on which the aliens seize in their plans of conquest. The film works its magic and delivers an almost heart-rendering and ear-splitting climax in the very last frame.
5.0 out of 5 stars AHHH!!!!!!,
By A Customer
I did something stupid! I watched it alone! At the end of the movie I could feel my heart beating. This was much better than the 1956 one. This is scarier and the characters are more developed. We think of the idea of alien invasion is mythical. A crop circle 300 meters in circuference was made in one night. Te crops were woven between each other like the pattern of a shirt. A group of even 20,000,000 people couldn't pull that off in one night. I saw that on the discovery channel and then I watched this movie. It is a movie that hits us were we don't like and makes us uncomfortable. We try to hide it and reasure ourselves that it was just a movie. You are just saying that so you will feel better. This might happen? I'm not a believer in aliens, but I have considered the possiblity. I'm very open minded. Be open minded and watch this movie alone in the dark!!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Fibrous Fiends From Outer Space,
The best of three very good big screen adaptations of Jack Finney's classic sci-fi novel is the closest thing to a filmed nightmare you're likely ever to see.
This entire picture is a horror masterpiece. Director Philip Kaufman puts together a hell of a movie, colorful, claustrophobic and atmospheric. Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams head-up a stellar cast, including Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, Leonard Nimoy, and even Robert Duvall in an early blink-and-you've-missed-him cameo. Kevin McCarthy reprises, more or less, his role from the original 1956 film, initiating Sutherland and Adams on a nightmare ride of alien invasion that escalates to apocalyptic proportion.
There's not a thing wrong with this movie. Denny Zeitlin's eerie, atonal electronic score highlights the often very unsettling visuals, which include disintegrating people, fibrously materializing doppelgangers, and a dog with a human face. The script is flawless, succeeding - like Finney's novel and the original movie - by presenting us with recognizable people facing an impossible reality, updated for modern times. The actors underplay the tense melodrama, making it all the more dramatic when they're ultimately driven to screaming madness.
I can't recommend this movie highly enough. If you're a horror or science-fiction fan, or simply love a wonderfully performed, tensely scripted melodrama, this movie is for you.
Warning: this film is very, very disturbing, at times. You might want to keep it on the upper shelf.
5.0 out of 5 stars They might come to your town.,
If you think about the theirs probablly not another apocalypic vision that is more creepy then a whole bunch of aliens coming down to earth stealing persons indenties. It is also one of most compelling theams in a Horror/Science Fiction film. Think about it.
The final sceen is one of the scariest endings I have ever sceen.
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't watch this one alone...,
If you want to see a down right very scary movie about things that just might happen now or in the future (may not come from space or be this extreme, but...)then rent or buy this one, trust me!
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended,
Alien spores drift into Earth's atmosphere and begin to produce replications of the populace. As more and more humans are replaced, those who remain gradually become aware that something very strange is going on. Director Philip Kaufmann and screenwriter W.D. Richter are able to attain such a high pitch of paranoiac suspense because we are never allowed to see or know more than the central characters do. The scope of the invasion is unveiled gradually. The pacing of a story like this is of the utmost importance and Kaufmann makes nary a misstep--we go from a world in which everything is routine to a nightarish reality in which no one can be trusted.
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Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Philip Kaufman (DVD - 2012)
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