Saturday, 25 February 2012

Invasion of the Bodysnatchers

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Year:1956
Country of origin:USA
Director:Don Siegel
Genre:Cold War paranoia
Starring:Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates
Rating:4/5
IMDB link:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049366/
Tagline:Collier's Magazine called it "The Nightmare That THREATENS THE WORLD"
Favourite line:"They're here already! You're next! You're next, You're next...!"

Cold War era sci-fi paranoia that really stands the test of time.

The plot:
A community doctor returns to his hometown, to find the citizens, well, altered somehow. Several of his former patients inform him that people they know have been changed. Not physically, for they look identical in every regard. Not mentally, even, for the memories remain. It’s something in their eyes, you see. Something intangible, as if the spark of life that defines our humanity has somehow been removed and, in its place, a void.
Then, pods are discovered, leaking white, foaming broth, and, within, growing, swelling, facsimiles of those still unchanged.
With horror, the doctor realises that silently, stealthily, an alien invasion is underway, one that will see humanity replaced by….GOD KNOWS WHAT!!!

Damned creepy stuff, this, all carried along by a rock solid central performance from the increasingly terrified Kevin McCarthy as Dr. Bennell.
Given the age of the piece, allowances must be made, particularly in terms of some of the acting, especially from the women folk, all simpering fear and batted eyelids and, yes, sometimes the action and pacing seems clumsy, na├»ve almost, but this is from the fifties, people. If you can’t see through that shit then, frankly, you’re a dunce and don’t deserve to understand much of anything, anyway.
With a runtime just shy of the one hour twenty mark, this is a brief affair, but brevity in movies is not something we ever complain about down here at Smell the Cult HQ.
With a stunning remake to come in the seventies, I was fearful that this would be a great disappointment but, far from it, this is how cult movies should be done.
Great.

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