In San Francisco everyone can hear Veronica (Alien
) Cartwright scream. In the ultimate urban nightmare, to sleep is to die, to be replaced by a soulless alien duplicate. Less a remake of the 1956 classic of the same name, more a fresh vision of Jack Finney's source novel, Invasion of the Body Snatchers
is the archetypal story of humans supplanted by unemotional "vegetable pods". A masterstroke is the introduction of SF icon Leonard Nimoy as a very West Coast relationships guru determined to explain everything in terms of urban psychological alienation, and the story does prove more unsettling on the big city's forbidding streets. This is very much an ensemble movie, with outstanding performances from Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams, and what proved to be the first of several key genre roles for Jeff (The Fly
, Jurassic Park
, Independence Day
) Goldblum. With minimal effects and very little gore, but filled with unnerving camera angles and a underpinned by a chillingly effective score, the film is relentlessly suspenseful, culminating in a sequence of terrifying set-pieces and a truly spine-tingling finale. More resonant with each passing year, the story was reworked in 1993 as Body Snatchers
On the DVD: While the print is more than acceptable there is a loss of detail and some shimmering artefacts in the very dark scenes. The disc is not anamorphically enhanced, which really should be a standard DVD feature. Still, the picture is considerably ahead of VHS and the stereo sound is highly unsettling. An eight-page booklet gives an intelligent overview of all three Body Snatchers movies, and director Phil Kaufman's commentary is packed with information. --Gary S. Dalkin
WATCH OUT! THEY GET YOU WHILE YOU RE SLEEPING!
When health official Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams) notices that her lover has become strangely distant, this sets in train a series of shocking discoveries that sees both her and colleague Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) fleeing for their lives to the sound of ear-piercing alien screams.
Remakes of great films are usually on a hiding to nothing, but Philip Kaufman s brilliant update of the 1956 classic is a rare and memorable exception. Transposing the action to the heart of San Francisco allows Kaufman to retain all the suspense of Jack Finney s original story while adding caustic social commentary about the selfishness of the 1970s me generation that remains all too relevant today.
But it s a paranoid thriller first and foremost, based on one of the most psychologically terrifying of all premises what happens when you can no longer trust not just the authorities but even your nearest and dearest?
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the film
- Original uncompressed Stereo 2.0 audio / 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
- Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Audio commentary with director Philip Kaufman
- Pod Discussion: A new panel conversation about Invasion of the Body Snatchers and invasion cinema featuring critic Kim Newman and filmmakers Ben Wheatley and Norman J. Warren
- Dissecting the Pod: A new interview with Kaufman biographer Annette Insdorf
- Pod Novel: A new interview with Jack Seabrook, author of Stealing through Time: On the Writings of Jack Finney about Finney s original novel The Body Snatchers
- Re-Visitors from Outer Space: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pod a documentary on the making of the film featuring Philip Kaufman, Donald Sutherland, writer W.D. Richter and more
- The Man Behind the Scream: The Sound Effects Pod a look at the film s pioneering sound effects
- The Invasion Will Be Televised: The Cinematography Pod cinematographer Michael Chapman (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) discusses the look of and influences on the visual style of the film
- Practical Magic: The Special Effect Pod A look at the creation of the special effects from the opening space sequence
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nathanael Marsh
- Collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic David Cairns, as well as re-prints of classic articles including contemporary interviews with Philip Kaufman and W.D. Richter, illustrated with original archive stills and posters