Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Warner Archive - BODY SNATCHERS on Blu-ray ""

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Warner Archive - BODY SNATCHERS on Blu-ray

I find it's always interesting to revisit "modern" versions of old sci-fi classics, but especially when those versions are now over two decades old themselves. What's interesting is that, outside of some of the actors in it and much of the practical effects work - it doesn't feel as dated as I thought it might. There's just something about this story that makes it feel contemporary - basically no matter when you rewatch it. We can always apply the metaphor of the pod people to some group that opposes our own viewpoints and that we have decided are categorically evil. That paranoia of being watched and monitored has only grown stronger since this film came out.
I feel like the scene that I always remember from this film is the bathtub scene with Gabrielle Anwar. First off, there's something about being in a bathtub that we can obviously all relate to. The comfort and vulnerability of it makes it a "safe place" - or so we would assume. But no. Falling asleep in the tub in movies has been notoriously a bad idea. My connection to the scene BODY SNATCHERS certainly ties back to the scene in NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET where Heather Langenkamp similarly drifts off while soaking and Freddy Krueger's claws rise up from the water. The other thing that is interesting and memorable about the version of this in BODY SNATCHERS is that it gives us a little insight into how human bodies are "drained" and the pods develop into clones of human beings. In the multiple versions of this story that have been told on film since 1956, this is the first time (that I can recall) where this process is more explicitly depicted. It is certainly hinted at in the Philip Kaufman's 1978 version of the story - bodies near pods become desiccated and shrivel up. But in BODY SNATCHERS, Abel Ferrara "treats" us to a more specific vision of the "birthing" process. Also, as creature effects had advanced a bit since the late seventies, we are also shown the much graphic and splatter-y deaths of the pod people. It's all pretty gross, but if you think about it - these creatures and their whole process of  "replacement" is quite disgusting. This movie also has a lot of nudity too - which also kind of makes sense in a way as these creatures would be absolutely uninhibited about their new bodies. Between that, the gore, and the violence in this version of what has become a timeless tale - this version has a lot to make it a memorable one. The supporting cast includes R. Lee Ermey, Meg Tilly and Forest Whitaker. Also, it has a lot more pod people pointing and screaming, which is delightful.

BODY SNATCHERS can be purchased on Blu-ray here:

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