Invasion of the Body Snatchers

(Philip Kaufman, USA, 1978)


Invasion of the Body Snatchers was made by Philip Kaufman in the days before he started making self-conscious art movies like Henry and June (1990) and The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988).

This remake of Don Siegel's 1955 classic, very cannily scripted by W.D. Richter (The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension, 1984), has its own, particularly modern attitude to the story.

The world into which these aliens land is already pretty weird – full of sects, subcultures, conspiracy nuts, artistic neurotics and sinister psychotherapists.

As befits the great era of horror cinema in the late '70s and early '80s, Kaufman spins out all the ironies and ambiguities of the original to the point of delirium.

Like Abel Ferrara in his subsequent 1993 remake, Body Snatchers, he exaggerates natural properties of images and sounds so as to make even the most apparently normal streetscape or office appliance hum with unspoken dread.

Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams star in this version, with Leonard Nimoy and Jeff Goldblum perfectly cast for their off-centre qualities.

MORE Kaufman: Twisted, Hemingway & Gellhorn, The Right Stuff, Rising Sun

© Adrian Martin March 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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