INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS(1978)
With Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, Jeff Goldblum, Angela Cartwright
Directed by Phil Kaufman
Reviewed by JB
The 1978 remake of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS will not make you forget the 1956 version, but it stands on its own as one of the better horror films of the period. Novelist Jack Kinney's story is moved to 1970s San Francisco, but the updates are minor - for example, the psychiatrist of the 1951 version is now of the book-writing pop celebrity variety. The story - four people who become aware that "pod people" are taking over human bodies - plays out much in the same way as the original but with some distinct touches. The conspiracy that exists among the duplicates is played out in a much eerier fashion, and we actually see what happens to the human bodies that have been replaced (they dry up and are carried out to ubiquitous garbage trucks for disposal).
The cast all does fine work, especially Veronica Cartwright, who makes something out of the non-descript part originally played by Carolyn Jones, but it was perhaps not the best idea to cast Donald Sutherland in the Kevin McCarthy part. Sutherland is a wonderful actor, but his patented deliberate, low-key style does not provide much of a contrast with the emotionless pod people chasing him through the streets.
Look for both Kevin McCarthy and 1951 BODY SNATCHERS director Don Siegel in the film. (Hint: McCarthy is easier to spot. He's here! He's here! You're next! You're next!) - JB