We can argue all day about what things comprise a film that should be considered a "classic". We can also talk until we are blue in the face about remakes and their place in cinema history. As the movie business is after all a business, remakes will probably never go away, but at least we can always look back fondly on the best of them. INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS is both a classic of the science fiction genre and also one of the great remakes of all time. Don't get me wrong, I actually love Don Siegel's original 1956 vision of BODY SNATCHERS, but for my money, Kaufman's is the best version that will probably ever exist. It's such an interesting allegorical tale and is oddly timeless in a lot of ways. We can actually see how people can become mindless drones in real life (especially now with us all staring at our phones all the time) so BODY SNATCHERS is as relevant today as it was in 1978 and 1956. One thing that comes with the increasing role of technology in our lives is increased paranoia. Are we being watched all the time? It's been said that it isn't paranoia if it's real and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS takes the direct route to this conclusion - for terrifying results.
One thing that encapsulates a classic film is classic images and the image of Donald Sutherland pointing is and forever will be burned onto the memories of all who have seen BODY SNATCHERS. There's just something about Sutherland's face, his mouth agape and twisted into a horrifying snarl, that is truly haunting. The whole idea of people being taken over and recreated from alien "pods" is so creepy in general. After all, only we ourselves and those close to us would really have any idea at all if we changed overnight to emotionless creatures who look exactly like our physical counterpart selves. What do humans have to define themselves through but emotion and personality? The idea of becoming some kind of collective hive mind, despite the implications of supposed peacefulness that comes with that, is so absolutely unappealing and scary and yet it that resonates more now than ever. What is the internet and social media for but to express emotion and our personalities - and we do so each and every day. The other thing that has always been memorable is the idea that "they get you when you're asleep". That's when you get taken over and replaced by a pod and that is really scary. Sleep is one thing that we cannot live without and the idea that we are unsafe if we attempt to rest is really powerful. I'm sure this is why NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET was such a phenomenon when it came out. We can all relate to fighting the losing battle against needing some slumber. BODY SNATCHERS has always stood out because of its ending as well. I'll try not to spoil for those that haven't seen it, but suffice it to say that things don't end all shiny and happy. Movies with unhappy endings have always stuck with us more as moviegoers because they go against what we have been inherently trained to expect from films. We expect "happily ever after" and when we don't get it, our response is often anger and dissatisfaction. It's funny though, because if you look back on a lot of movies that have maintained some sort of cult following over the years, you'll notice that many of them don't end on a high note. I find myself drawn to unhappy endings less and less these days, but it is still the most thought provoking and impactful way to go if you want to make a film with some staying power over time.
As we've come to expect from Scream Factory, their Collector's Editions tend to be loaded with extra goodies to increase our enjoyment for the films we already love. This disc is no exception and on top of having the best looking Blu-ray transfer of the film (from a new 2K Scan of the Interpositive) that I have seen to date, it has lots of supplements as well:
-NEW Star-Crossed In The Invasion – An Interview With Actress Brooke Adams.
-NEW Leading The Invasion – An Interview With Actor Art Hindle.
-NEW Re-Creating The Invasion – An Interview With Writer W.D. Richter.
-NEW Scoring The Invasion – An Interview With Composer Denny Zeitlin.
-NEW Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman.
-An Audio Commentary By Director Philip Kaufman.
-Re-Visitors From Outer Space, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Pod – Including Interviews With Director Philip Kaufman, Screenwriter W.D. Richter, Director Of Photography Michael Chapman And Actors Donald Sutherland And Veronica Cartwright.
-Practical Magic: The Special Effects Pod.
-The Man Behind The Scream: The Sound Effects Pod – An Interview With Ben Burtt And Sound Editor Bonnie Koehler.
-The Invasion Will Be Televised: The Cinematography Pod.
-An episode of SCIENCE FICTION THEATRE, "Time Is Just A Place," Based On Jack Finney's Short Story, Directed By Jack Arnold.
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS can be purchased on Blu-ray here: