Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Critics Consensus: One of the best political allegories of the 1950s, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is an efficient, chilling blend of sci-fi and horror.
No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
Movie InfoDon Siegel's classic exercise in psychological science fiction has often been interpreted as a cautionary fable about the blacklisting hysteria of the McCarthy era. It can be read as a political metaphor or enjoyed as a fine low-budget suspense movie, and it works well either way. Kevin McCarthy stars as Miles Bennel, a doctor in the small California community of Santa Mira, where several patients begin reporting that their loved ones don't seem to be themselves lately. They look the same but seem cold, emotionally distant, and somehow unfamiliar. The longer Miles looks into these reports, the more stock he places in them, and in time he makes a shocking discovery: aliens from another world are taking over Santa Mira, one citizen at a time. Emissaries from a distant planet have sent massive seed pods containing creatures that can assume the exact physical likeness of anyone they choose. When Santa Mirans go to sleep, the pod creatures take on the shape of their victims and then destroy their bodies. The aliens may look the same, but they possess no human emotions and, like plants, are concerned only with propagating themselves and eventually subsuming the earth. Needless to say, Miles and his friends are terrified, but since it's hard to tell who's a person and who's a pod, they're at a loss for what to do, especially when it seems that there are increasingly more aliens than humans. Invasion of the Body Snatchers builds tension slowly and steadily, dealing not in the shock of bug-eyed monsters common to other 1950s science-fiction movies but in the unnerving possibility that the enemy is among us -- and impossible to tell from our allies. The ultra-paranoid conclusion of Siegel's original cut was softened by Allied Artists, who added a framing device that suggested help was on the way. This coda was as effective in blunting the film's grim conclusion as giving a Band-Aid to a beheading victim; few films of the era make it more painfully clear that for these people (and maybe for ourselves), there's no turning back and no way home. Keep an eye peeled for a bit part by soon-to-be-legendary Western director Sam Peckinpah, who plays a meter reader and also (uncredited) helped write the screenplay. Based on a novel by Jack Finney, Invasion of the Body Snatchers was remade in 1978 by Philip Kaufman and in 1993 by Abel Ferrara (as Body Snatchers); and its influence can be felt from The Stepford Wives (1975) to The X-Files. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Invasion of the Body Snatchers
This tense, offbeat piece of science-fiction is occasionally difficult to follow due to the strangeness of its scientific premise. Action nevertheless is increasingly exciting.
Don Siegel's superb little effort, with its matter-of-fact isolation of hero Kevin McCarthy (ironic, no?) from the smarmy complacency of a small town gone to hell -- and way beyond -- points the way to his gripping action films of the 60s and 70s.
It's still a chilling picture, gaining over Phil Kaufman's smart remake by virtue of its intimate small town setting, and it has one of the greatest endings ever filmed.
Although expertly remade twice - in 1978 and 1993 - and rather less successfully in 2007, the original is still the most striking, with a justly famous scalp-freezing ending.
Don Siegel's taut, bleak, noir-flavoured picture is arguably the science-fiction B-movie of the 1950s, an age when screens glowed with the atomic threat and undulated with scuttling, supersized bugs.
Jack Finney's magazine story-turned novel "The Body Snatchers" has proven remarkably resilient through the years.
The film's portrait of human beings gradually assimilated by an alien invasion of emotionless duplicates creates a profoundly disturbing sense of paranoia.
One of the very best sci-fi/horror pictures of one of that genre's best decades.
what if the mask of your neighbor tilts for a second and you catch a glimpse of the riot going on behind his face?
A superbly crafted film by innovative director Siegel, this low-budget science fiction tale became one of the great cult classics of the genre.
An all time classic. The "message" was lost on most original viewers.
The first--and still best--version of the Cold War sci-fi, despite compromised ending that was imposed by producer Walter Wanger on the director to make the tale less downbeat and anarchic.
Some genuinely creepy moments and good social commentary raise this horror film
Siegel's brilliant movie sits as a perfect bookend to Romero's "Night Of The Living Dead."
Tenso e bem construído, conta com uma ótima trilha sonora, a direção expressiva de Siegel e com um roteiro que pode ser lido como uma alegoria clara do mccarthismo.
Audience Reviews for Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Don Siegel's original Body Snatchers paved the way for so many horror/Sci-fi classics. It's not my favourite version but it is one of my favourite B-movies from the era, mainly due to the realistic performances that were slightly more convincing than many others of the time. The key to this great horror is the utter hopelessness. Political messages can be found but context can be applied to almost anything but ignore all that, this is a clever Alien invasion film, sit back and enjoy.
This classic sci-fi gem is the original story of invading alien forces taking over the world population. A very subtle and deliberate metaphor for the creeping American fear of Communism, Body Snatchers was very popular on release and has had a long lasting effect on the genre, even spawning an amazing 1978 remake. This original isn't as nuanced or artsy as its later version, but what it lacks in beauty it makes up for in thrilling drama. Because of the time it was released there's an urgency that cannot be replicated, and it shows in the hammy performances from Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter. There is a reason this film is a classic, and it still holds up to this day, but I will say that the performances were very over the top and somewhat stilted. Otherwise, the paranoia and high production value really make this a horror/sci-fi must see.More
A man discovers that his town has been replaced by aliens.
The description of this film on Flixster implies that one can read this film as a "cautionary fable about the blacklisting hysteria of the McCarthy era." If that is true, I would like to see that argument drawn out and supported because I've been thinking about that interpretation and I can't make it hold water. What I see is B-movie science fiction. Other positive reviews regale the film's "fear factor," but I've always been immune to this response, and so the film's cheap thrills and atmospheric suspense aren't compelling for me. I wasn't bored, but I wasn't moved or compelled either.
Overall, there may be more to this than a better version of an Ed Wood picture, but I don't see it.
Although there appears to be a debate about the topic, I feel positive that INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS is the umpteenth fable with an underlying allusion to the McCarthy Era. Was it intended for such a film's key actor to bear the same last name as possibly the most significant politician during the Cold War, or was it pure coincidence? Thankfully, INVASION ends up with something more to offer than a Cold War subtext. Regardless of its low production budget, its familiar music and decent performing keep the viewer mentally awake for the suspense, at which point both aspects come to life in an unusual but thrilling fashion.More
Invasion of the Body Snatchers Quotes
- Dr. Miles Bennel:
- There isn't a human being left in Santa Mira!
- Dr. Miles Bennel:
- I never knew the meaning of fear until I kissed Becky.
- Dr. Miles Bennel:
- They're here already! You're next! You're next!
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