Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Posted: by Findlay

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) Directed by Philip Kaufman

In one sentence: Weird wee alien plants are cloning and then killing humans in what can only be described as, a huge inconvenience.

Why You Should Watch: I was late to the party with this one because I kept putting it on the backburner thinking “Fuck the 70’s, will it actually be good? Was anything good in the 70’s?” but HOW WRONG WAS I. Kaufman’s remake of the 1956 film is nothing short of astounding.

The pacing of the film is what stuck out to me originally. There’s no slow get-up and hour long exposition. This film kicks in with some mighty dread from the first minute and doesn’t even let you get yourself settled before you’re feeling like something is awfully fucking wrong. Exposition is handled right at the beginning, not by a heinous monologue or cack-handed bit of text, but a 30-second SFX sequence showing the amorphous alien shapes on their planet and making their way to Earth. Backed by a grand, but creepy score, this is all the information you need to know. They’re coming.

The bulk of the story surrounds a group of people in San Francisco slowly realizing that people are changing and things are just that puke-skinned shade of wrong.  Are these plants the cause? Why are they growing? Why is my husband now a dick? Paranoia, trust, and huge scale panic are condensed into the story and beautifully crafted through a small group of people, you can feel the *cough* REALNESS and weight of what’s going on. Kaufman’s shooting style also very very cleverly helps bolster these feeling with shooting the hills of San Francisco in a magically disjointed fashion. The camera is tilted so the streets are perfectly horizontal while the houses are resting at some wild angles, just framing the paranoia so well.

Alot of horror soundtracks aid the horror films creepy moments, not with the music, but the silent moments. Building and building then leaving silence to heighten those terrifying moments. Invasion’s soundtrack doesn’t do this, but it doesn’t need to. Denny Zeitlen’s soundtrack is powerful and grand. Those creepy moments don’t need silence because it’s not a one-on-one scenario. These are one-not-trusting-anyone-in-the-world moments, so the score is huge and swelling. Rolling towards a final destination. Doom.

Don’t be an idiot like me and hold off because you hate the 70’s and flares and moustaches. Watch this timeless belter ASAP. Oh, and there’s a young Jeff Goldblum in it, so, yknow.

Favourite Quote: “We came here from a dying world. We drift through the universe, from planet to planet, pushed on by the solar winds. We adapt and we survive. The function of life is survival.”