Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

invasion of the body snatchers poster 1978 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great visuals, scary and smart story, great remake


Movie Info

Movie Name:  Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Studio:  United Artists

Genre(s):   Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  December 20, 1978

MPAA Rating:  PG (but contains nudity)

invasion of the body snatchers pod people donald sutherland sleeping

They’re coming for you!

A strange web has fallen over San Francisco leaving odd parasitic flowers popping up around the city.  Health inspector Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) and his coworker Elizabeth Dristoll (Brooke Adams) begin to notice changes in the people around them as a strange plague begins to sweep the city with a detached nature.  Psychologist Dr. David Kibner (Leonard Nimoy) argues that it is an effect of society.  Something more sinister is happening and falling asleep could mean death.

Directed by Philip Kaufman, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a science-fiction horror movie.  The film is an adaptation of Jack Finney’s 1955 novel The Body Snatchers which was previously adapted with Kevin McCarthy in 1956.  The movie received positive reviews.

invasion of the body snatchers leonard nimoy scream

Don’t make me go back to being Spock! Please!!!

I saw Invasion of the Body Snatchers at a young age, and it terrified me.  The idea of falling asleep and not waking up is scary as a kid, and this movie goes a long way to magnify it.  Even though A Nightmare on Elm Street was built around the whole idea of characters being killed in their sleep, I always found this movie scarier in that sense.  The new version of the film ramps up the horror, but the story in general creates a creeping horror that his hard to mess up.

The original film was about the Red Scare and the fear that the Soviet Union was moving in on United States soil.  The movie modifies this plot by dealing with the increasing detachment of society from each other, self-help, and a growing sense of self-centered nature.  The story unfolds with a few people noticing the changes and the changes beginning to overcome the city to the point of no return.  It is a terrifying snare that keeps getting tighter and tighter on Sutherland and his friends.

invasion of the body snatchers dog human hybrid monster

This thing should have gotten a Best Supporting Oscar nomination…it is terrifying

The cast is strong.  Sutherland was still one of the powerhouses and had already excelled in atmospheric horror in Don’t Look Now.  Likewise, Brooke Adams had a strong showing in Days of Heaven also released in 1978 and gives dimension to her character who is the first to notice the changes.  Jeff Goldblum and Veronica Cartwright are a good “kooky” pairing as the New Age couple who are quickly caught up in the horror, and Leonard Nimoy gets the opportunity to play someone other than Spock in his post-Star Trek career (before the return to Spock in Star Trek:  The Motion Picture).  The movie features cameos by the original Invasion of the Body Snatcher’s star Kevin McCarthy (spouting his classic line), Don Siegel who also appeared in the original, Robert Duvall, and the director Philip Kaufman.

invasion of the body snatcher donald sutherland scream

Red Rover, Red Rover…send pod people over!

The film is shot stylishly in ways to maximize the suspense and horror.  The movie does leave some questions lingering in the gestations of “pod people”.  The small organism pods seem to be what clones the people, but it doesn’t explain the big pods (previously seen in the original film) and what they do.  Also it is unclear how the pod people germinate since when Sutherland falls asleep everyone grows from him…are the spores air born?  Why can everyone just sleep in shifts if you need to have the organism near you to clone you?  Regardless, a broken pod leads to one of the most terrifying creations in the hobo-dog monster.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one of the best “remakes” out there (I’d argue it isn’t a remake but an adaption since it is based on a text).  The first film was classic in different ways, but Invasion of the Body Snatchers emotes pure terror in the screams of the pod people as they hunt down those who are not like them…the pod people are coming…they’re here already!  You’re next!  You’re next!  You’re next!

Related Links:

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Body Snatchers (1993)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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