I remember watching this movie as a kid, back to back with the original 1950’s version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I can remember being scared as hell by the ending, and ending which still stands today. While I haven’t seen the original in ages, this version, the first of three, so far, is fresh in my mind. It’s a sharp movie, a smart movie, and one that will likely remain the definitive version of the Body Snatchers movies. Sure, the 1990’s one is good, and I have yet to see the 2007 The Invasion remake, so the verdict is still out on that one. But this one? The 1970’s version? Just a great flick, from start to finish.
From deep space, the seed is planted… and terror grows. The paranoid frenzy begins anew on August 7th, when Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978) returns to DVD in an all-new Two-Disc Collector’s Edition from MGM Home Entertainment. A horror classic in which a small group discovers that the human race is quietly being supplanted by alien beings devoid of emotion, the edgy thriller is directed by Oscar®-nominated master storyteller Philip Kaufman and starring an A-List cast of genre favorites and Hollywood heavyweights, including screen legend Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum, Brooke Adams, Veronica Cartwright and sci-fi icon Leonard Nimoy .
A remake of the 1956 masterpiece, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers is timed to coincide with the August 17th theatrical release of The Invasion, the latest re-imagining of the timeless story starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel. If the new version of this classic story ends up being . . . less than good . . . at least fans will have a nice, spiffy special edition of this classic movie to hold on to. And while this movie has been a couple previous DVD releases, this is the one you want to own. It has creepy cover art (though I prefer the original 1970’s theatrical poster), cool menus, and just a nice heaping of extras.
The story behind this movie is one everyone knows. Even if they haven’t seen this movie, everyone knows what Invasion of the Body Snatchers is all about. People begin acting funny, a few people notice and try to rise up against it, and it escalates. Soon, people don’t know who to trust, what to do, or how to stay awake. It’s just a feverish and frantic panic as this all unravels. And it’s superbly done. The directing the stellar and the cast is just great. You sympathize so much with the lead, played by Sutherland, as he tries to get a grip on this whole situation. It’s just brilliantly done. As Sutherland’s character, and his group of friends, drifts further into panic, everything just gets so claustrophobic and overwhelming. You can literally feel these characters get overwhelmed as they find out just how big this whole “body snatchers” conspiracy stretches.
I could seriously go on and on about this movie. It’s one that everyone should see and, hopefully, maybe people will after the The Invasion remakes, hits this month. It’s really the best version of this storyline to date. It’s handled perfectly on every respect. Plus, it shows that remakes can be done, and can sometime prove to be better than the original. It seems to be a rarity, but it’s proven here. Sometimes Hollywood can get it right. There’s obviously love for the source material and for the story, even love to adapt it to the era of the 1970s, but keep the story intact. The director knew when to go full force with his own vision, and when to rein it in to remain respectful. It’s all handled superbly. I don’t think he could’ve amounted a better cast, either.
I’ve read a fair amount of reviews stating the movie sticks too close to the original, or lacks emotion, but I disagree. The fact that the director chose to stick closely to the script of the 1950’s version shows how relevant and strong the story was for both eras. A good story is a good story. Plain and simple. The director made the right choice. And, yes, people are a bit disconnected in this movie, but that’s a sign of the times in which the movie was created. I won’t call this movie flawless, but it’s a great film. It’s creepy, it feels real, and it has just a creepy, creepy ending. It still holds up, a true testament to how well made this movie was.
Presented on two-discs, the Invasion Of The Body Snatchers: Collector’s Edition two-disc DVD set hosts an impressive array of new bonus materials, including commentary by director Philip Kaufman, a retrospective look at the film titled “Re-Visitors From Outer Space or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Pod” (which is a cool name, regardless of what anyone says). There’s also the “Practical Magic: The Special Effect Pod” featurette, “The Man Behind The Scream: The Sound Effects Pod” featurette, and “The Invasion Will Be Televised: The Cinematography Pod” featurette. These are pretty good featurettes with interviews from the cast and crew of the movie. Toss on the original theatrical trailer, a solid transfer for the audio and video, and you got yourself a DVD that is worth picking up, especially for fans who have been waiting for a new Invasion of the Body Snatchers DVD. Just note that while the audio and video transfer is solid, it still shows the age of the movie.
Just in time for the release of the latest rendition of the classic Body Snatchers tale, Fox/MGM has released a stellar two-disc set of the 1970’s classic. Without a doubt, Invasion of the Body Snatchers comes Highly Recommended. It’s a cool sci-fi yarn full of suspense and the classic twist-ending that’s both horrifying and creepy. Given how horror movies have been on a bit of a downslope lately, this is definitely one that will reaffirm your faith in the genre, of just make you shake your head. It’s a great movie. I just wish the original 1950’s version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers was readily available. It would make a great night of back-to-back viewing. Go and see this movie – you won’t be disappointed.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978): Two-Disc Collector’s Edition is now available on DVD.