Alien Body Snatcher flicks


Aliens from other worlds walk among us. Far more frightening and insidious than intergalactic metal ships with laser beams that melt everything in their path, these invaders have come to conquer us from within. Their sinister plan is to look like us, blend in with the masses, taking us over one by one, until we become them. Your co-worker, your neighbor, your family, even the person you most love and trust on this planet may not be what they appear to be.

Such is the premise of one of my favorite kinds of movies, a subgenre of Science Fiction/Horror: the "body snatcher" flick. A variation on the vampire or zombie, but without the gothic trappings, rules of no sunlight or brain-munching reanimated corpses. I love these movies. Even the weaker entries will usually hold my interest, and a couple of these films are masterpieces. It's also a genre that adapts to each time period. The paranoia and mistrust these movies generate and rely upon work whatever the "other" you fear may be. It doesn’t matter if its adults, the other sex, Communists, terrorists or what have you, these movies cleverly capitalize on that basic fear.

These are most of the main examples of this type of movie, chronologically from the '50s to today….

Invaders from Mars (1953 – William Cameron Menzies)
One of the most memorable and one of the first. A young boy named David (Jimmy Hunt) is awoken one night to witness a flying saucer land in the sand dunes just behind his house. His parents don't believe him, insisting it must have been a bad dream. Dad does go to investigate, returning to report nothing wrong. But the next day David notices something suspicious on the back of his Pop's neck, and the father who was gentle and loving is now cold and violent. Other people investigate the dunes, and they too seem to come back with changed personalities. David enlists the help of his teacher and a scientist, and together they uncover an interplanetary conspiracy. Call in the Army!

Invaders from Mars is a cult classic, and as my own father can attest it was quite frightening to children in its day. While the premise is still solid, what lends to the lasting impact is the nightmare tone and visual style. This was a decidedly low-budget B-movie affair, and despite some pretty silly looking aliens when they are finally revealed in the third act, the creepy choir music, the expert use of color, the way people vanish under the sand, and the ominous adult world already disorienting from a child's perspective being amped up to its most arch all help to make an effective little movie. The director, William Carlos Menzies, helmed the 1936 H.G. Wells adaptation Things to Come and was the production designer or art director on such A-list films as The Thief of Bagdad (1924) and Gone with the Wind (1939). His eye brings some unshakable images to the otherwise silly Invaders from Mars. The scene at the police station is one of my favorites, very expressionistic, where David realizes even the chief is already one of "them". The whole "it was all a just a dream…or was it?!?" ending is a little disappointing, but the nightmare of not being able to trust the grown ups around you is a timeless one.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 – Don Siegel)
A true masterpiece, and the gold standard by which all such movies will always be judged. Adapted from a story by Jack Finney that was originally serialized in Collier’s Magazine in 1954, it is set in the tiny, isolated fictional California town of Santa Mira. The local psychiatrist, Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy), returns from a business trip to find a couple townspeople who are worried about family members who's personalities seem to have changed overnight. Miles initially is able to convince them they are imagining things, but after his girlfriend Becky (Dana Wynter) develops similar feelings about her own father, they begin to dig deeper. What they discover are large seed pods that when placed near a sleeping human will produce a doppelganger that is an almost perfect physical copy, but with a mind now belonging to alien beings. There is a conspiracy in the town as more and more of the citizens are taken over and replaced. Will Miles and Becky be able to outsmart the invaders by suppressing their emotions and escape, and can they warn the proper outlying authorities before the pods are dispersed throughout the country?

Don Siegel (Dirty Harry) turns what could have been a simple B-movie into a truly great classic of cinematic paranoia. The movie is so dark, in visuals and tone, that you will often find it labeled as Film Noir. The very dark ending was famously altered, leaving the audience with at least some hope that the pods would be destroyed and the terror contained to Santa Mira. But even with that tacked-on framing device, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is masterwork. There have been a couple of popular interpretations over the decades that see the movie as an anti-McCarthyism or alternatively an anti-Communist allegory. Siegel claimed he had no such aims, that he was only trying to tell a good genre story, but the universality of the terror the movie creates lends itself to any fear of conformity, no matter what end of the political spectrum the root (or rather, the pod).

I Married A Monster From Outer Space (1957 – Gene Fowler Jr.)
This one is a B-movie that pretty well remains one without ever reaching the cult status of Invaders from Mars and certainly not anywhere near the brilliance of Body Snatchers. The quickly becoming familiar plot of an alien saucer landing in a small town then abducting and controlling earthlings is used again here, with the new wrinkle being that they have a plan of impregnating human women. Marge Bradley (Gloria Talbott) becomes one such object of their "affection" after her fiancé (Tom Tryon) is taken over by ugly aliens. She has noticed the changes in her beloved, that he seems more like a stranger than the man she loved, but is this simply what happens to a relationship after you're married, or is there something more sinister going on? Turns out these aliens have come to earth from a dying world, looking to cease their own extinction by procreating with our women. Don't you just hate it when that happens?

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"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

"The Twilight Zone" episodes
"The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" (season one, original airdate March 4th, 1960)
"Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" (season two, original airdate May 26th, 1961)
These aren't movies of course, but they're such excellent twists on this theme that I had to mention them. The first is "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street", a classic from the first season where an odd light from overhead that knocks all the power out soon leads to chaos. Tensions in the neighborhood boil over, after one neighbor and then another is suspected of being a space alien masquerading as human that has caused the inexplicable fluctuations in electricity and is surely trying to take over the world. By nightfall one man has been shot, and a riot breaks out. As the normalcy becomes anarchy, we see two aliens watching the events comfortably from their flying saucer. One explains to the other that they need only to do the smallest things to turn the humans against themselves and don't have to risk the onslaught of actual invasion and combat. Rod Serling's narration sums it up with "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices - to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own - for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone."

The other episode I wanted to highlight is from the second season, "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?", has more fun with the idea. On an isolated stretch of New York State highway one snowy evening, two troopers are sent to investigate a possible UFO sighting. They don’t find the saucer exactly, but they do see that something large has crashed through the ice of a pond, and the footprints in the snow lead to a small diner. Inside they find the owner and a bus driver plus his seven passengers who have just stopped in for a bite to eat on their overnight journey. But wait, the bus driver is sure he only had six passengers. One of the people in this diner is not a person at all, but a masquerading being from outer space! They try and determine who is the alien, but just about any of them can be suspects and also can be explained away. The troopers eventually give up and the bus departs. A short time later, one of those patrons returns, revealing his three arms, calmly telling the owner of the diner that he is, indeed, the Martian, that he has killed everybody else, and the owner is next, in order to make way for an invasion. But the owner just smiles and explains that he is from Venus, that his kind have populated the area long ago, and that the Martian saucer was shot down by them. He then takes off his hat to reveal a third eye. There’s some tension throughout the episode, but this one is really played for laughs – especially Jack Elam, who is cast as one of the passengers and even with the extra arm and eye in the punchline, he really steals the entire episode.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978 – Philip Kaufman)
In the post-Watergate 1970s they decided to remake the classic Finney story. But rather than a straight remake, it is wisely a sort of unofficial sequel, with those seed pods not taking over a small isolated town this time, but the gigantic metropolis of San Francisco. Kevin McCarthy, the star of the original, even has a fantastic cameo as an apparently crazed man running through the streets shouting the same, frantic lines that almost ended the 1956 film. This time our hero is Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland), who works for the city Health Department. A friend of his, Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams), has seen odd things going on around town, including a change in her husband. By the time they discover the sinister plot, the aliens have overtaken too many key posts of authority as well as simply too much of the general populace. Can they escape? Is there any place left to run that's even safe?

This is one of the precious few remakes that comes close to the brilliance of the original. The 1978 version isn't quite a masterpiece, and there's one silly throwaway element that has always annoyed me (namely the homeless man who's pod somehow got intermingled with his dog's, resulting in a monster that scares Brooke Adams at precisely the wrong moment). But overall it is damn good, and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the perfect first film. Helping that cause considerably is the fact that this time there is no tacked-on happy ending of any kind. The final scene is one of my favorites in all of cinema.

The Thing (1982 – John Carpenter)
I think the only other true masterpiece of this subgenre is John Carpenter's The Thing. Like the '78 Body Snatchers, this is more of a reworking than a remake of 1951's The Thing from Another World. Besides the modernizing of it all, the key added component is the body snatching angle, which was not part of the original flick. In an isolated Antarctic research station, a small group of men let what seems to be a normal dog into their compound, only to discover it is an alien lifeform that can mutate into an exact copy of whatever being it chooses. When it starts taking them over one by one, it becomes a race to discover who can and can't be trusted, before the spring comes and it can make its way to a large center of begin taking over the world.

The tension is terrific, and Carpenter along with his effects man Rob Bottin do spend time delving into the horror aspect, have an absolute gas creating the slimiest and most disgusting creatures as the alien is caught transforming. The ultimate may be the head that severs itself from a body, sprouts large spider-like legs, and starts to scurry away. Having the setting be a blizzard in the middle of nowhere, leaving no choice but to stay and fight with flamethrowers is great. And with all the men looking alike in their heavy parkas, it further lends to the mystery of not being able to tell who is who anyway, much less who is a murderous alien. There is a brilliantly dark and hopeless ending where the last two individuals find themselves in a Mexican standoff in the elements, not knowing if the other can be trusted, but realizing death is better than letting the creature survive. Ennio Morricone's sparse electronic score also helps set the mood.

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Invaders from Mars (1986 – Tobe Hooper)
Tobe The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Hooper tried his hand at a remake with Invaders from Mars. Very little is significantly changed, and once again a young boy named David (Hunter Carson) awakens to find a saucer in the sand pit behind his home. The creatures this time are much, much improved from the men in green fabric suits that lumbered through the '53 flick. But while Hooper reproduces some of the same iconic images throughout, his big screen nightmare isn't really much of an improvement on the original cult classic. It's slicker and goes for more horror, but in comparison to The Thing or the '78 Body Snatchers it just isn't very impressive. But if you're a fan of the genre, rent both of the Invaders from Mars some evening, pop some corn, and enjoy 'em for what they are.

The Hidden (1987 – Jack Sholder)
I hesitated to include this one on my list. Not because it isn't some terrific B-movie fun, but because it's a movie that you'd enjoy most not knowing what you were getting into beforehand. It starts as a standard '80s action flick, with a Los Angeles bank robbery gone bloody. But once the perpetrator is dying in the hospital, that robber - who we've learned has been on a horrific crime spree, turns out to be something unexpected. The bullet-riddled man who should be dead by all rights, rises and goes to the sick man in the bed next to him. He opens his mouth and a large, slimy slug exits, entering the other patient. Soon after the new man rises and leaves the hospital. Enter Seattle FBI agent Lloyd Gallagher (Kyle MacLachlin), who says he has been trailing this dangerous man. The cop assigned to the case (Michael Nouri) has his doubts about the odd agent, but soon they are trailing the new body…and then another, and another, and another. It turns out Gallagher too is an alien who is only borrowing a human body, and he has been chasing this psycho bug from planet to planet.

Good twist on the body snatching formula, and even with a modest budget and some very dated '80s elements, The Hidden succeeds as a Sci-Fi/action/cop/horror movie. There’s also some nice humor layered in throughout, and it builds to a satisfying finale.

They Live! (1988 – John Carpenter)
John Carpenter didn’t make another masterpiece, but he did make a heck of a fun little movie in They Live!. This time aliens aren't taking over human bodies, but they do walk among us disguised as humans. They're real ugly suckers, but a hidden transmitter masks their true forms, and if you passed one or two or a dozen of them on the street you wouldn't notice a difference. Former pro-wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper plays a down and outer who accidentally stumbles on the sinister alien plot to take over our planet and enslave humanity. He hooks up with a small band of renegades who have developed special sunglasses that, when worn, reveal the bad guys on sight. This is another small budget affair, and it shows in many spots. Plus the acting from Piper leaves something to be desired (though who doesn't love the "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubblegum" line?). But there's a wonderful element of satire built into this one too. It takes very obvious Regan-era swipes, but while it all lacks subtlety, it doesn't make it any less funny. For example, when he looks at the dollar bill in his hand while wearing the special glasses he sees the subliminal message underneath: THIS IS YOUR GOD. Funny stuff. In spite of the overall cheesiness and often TV-quality to the sets and effects, this is still a guilty pleasure to be enjoyed.

Body Snatchers (1993 – Abel Ferrara)
Director Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant, King of New York) returned to the original Jack Finney source material, and like the '78 version decided to make it a bit different. This time the pods are found at an isolated U.S. Army base in the woods of Alabama. The brilliance of that change in setting is that the military requires a level of conformity in its activities anyway, making it inherently more difficult to spot which soldiers have and haven't been changed into emotionless aliens. And this time we have a heroine, Marti Malone (Gabrielle Anwar). Her family has moved to the base because her father is a civilian contractor, so she finds Army life a strange adjustment. It is made stranger when her mother and others on the base start acting oddly. Eventually she and her would-be boyfriend, a soldier (Billy Wirth), discover those pesky giant seed pods. But have too many of the command and soldiers already been taken over?

While not at the same level of brilliance as the first two Body Snatcher movies, this one isn't bad either. I really like a couple of the smaller roles, especially Forest Whitaker as a Major who'd rather kill himself than be taken over, and for my money this has THE best and creepiest transformation scene in any such movie. As Anwar's Marti falls asleep in the bathtub, she doesn't realize a pod placed in the ceiling by her mother (Meg Tilly) is quickly attacking her. The long, thin, spaghetti-like growths that descend and start to envelop her naked body is really top-notch stuff. She wakes up startled and unable to breathe, just in time to pull the tentacles from her mouth and frame. It is one effective, creepy scene.


The Puppet Masters (1994 – Stuart Orme)
This is an odd entry in the genre, and while the ending is a mess I do respect it in a weird way. This time the filmmakers decided to go back to the true source, Robert Heinlein's 1951 novel, that predates Jack Finney's story and Invaders from Mars. But as a movie, it is very much aware of every body snatcher flick that came before it, and assumes the audience is too. These stories usually start out establishing the setting the invasion is going to take place and a few key characters who we will follow try to survive. It may be half an hour or longer before any of the main characters actually come in contact with the aliens masquerading as humans, and longer still before they realize what is going on. By contrast, The Puppet Masters just jumps right the Hell in to the deep end. About ten minutes in the main character, Sam (Eric Thal), has been changed and is shooting up the place. His father (Donald Sutherland) and would be romantic interest of a scientist (Julie Warner) and all the others recognize what is going on immediately. There is no drawn out set-up, no disbelief or sense of "what is happening?", just wham, bam, that guy is a space alien…GET HIM! I kind of like that the movie just starts in the second act. While that approach is interesting, what it leads to is characters we don't really care about and a finale that just comes apart at the seams. The unexpected energy of the beginning and the assumption that fans of the genre don't need their hands held when it comes to a supposed mystery of aliens taking over human beings is fun while it lasts, but it's a shame the filmmakers didn't have something as equally revolutionary for the last couple reels.

*can only find the German dubbed trailer online, for some reason

The Faculty (1998 – Robert Rodriguez)
Much like The Puppet Masters, this movie pretty much just jumps right into the plot as if we were mid-way through. Set in a suburban High School, with the cliché archetypes of High School horror movies – the jock, the geek, the stoner, the pretty virgin, etc., played by a handsome group of young up-and-coming actors like Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood and Jordana Brewster. Almost immediately after the movie begins, they realize the teachers are quickly being overtaken by aliens and they must unite to defeat them (every kid’s fantasy, right?). Robert Rodriguez plays up the horror angle more than the Sci-Fi this time with some sexual titillation thrown in for good measure, and while I think it wanted to be a kind of tongue-in-cheek, self-aware bit of fun like Scream (which had hit a couple years earlier) had been to the slasher movie, even employing the same screenwriter, but it's simply not as clever as it thinks it is. While there's some fun casting of the evil teachers like Famke Janssen, Robert Patrick, Selma Hayek, Bebe Neuwirth, Jon Stewart, and Piper Laurie, it suffers some of the same problems as The Puppet Masters in that it starts so quickly that there isn’t much of anywhere to go. A minor effort, but watchable trash just the same, even if at times it is more like Body Snatchers meets a Tommy Hilfiger ad.

The Astronaut's Wife (1999 – Randy Ravich)
As relatively weak as The Faculty and The Puppet Masters are in genre terms, they are gangbusters compared to the woefully dull, derivative and unexceptional The Astronaut's Wife. This one is sort of I Married A Monster From Outer Space crossed with Rosemary's Baby (our heroine even has the same haircut), but without the camp of the '50s drive-in flick nor the suspenseful artistry of Polanksi's classic of terror. Johnny Depp plays Spencer Armacost, one of two NASA astronauts who have a sinister close encounter in space. He survives, though his wife Jillian (Charlize Theron) finds her husband's manner strangely changed somehow. You need not have seen all the previous movies on this list to know where the story goes next. Too bad. Depp and Theron are attractive, and the supporting cast has some good character actors like Joe Morton. But this one is a dud, plain and simple.

The Visiting (2006? - Oliver Hirschbiegel)
And now for this new century, the old threat returns. Shooting now and readying for a probable release of late Summer ’06, the Invasion of the Body Snatchers formula is being reworked yet again, with the tentative title of The Visiting. German director Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall, Das Experiment) will make his U.S. debut behind the camera. This time the setting will be Washington, D.C. and it stars Nicole Kidman, the new Jimmy Bond Daniel Craig (Layer Cake) and Jeremy Northam (Emma, Gosford Park). Very few details have been released yet, but given the setting you'd expect a take on the material more like the '78 Body Snatchers than any of the others. As I'm such a fan of the genre, I gotta say I'm anxious to see what Hirschbiegel will do. Given the general state of readiness and paranoia in post-9/11 America, there should be ample breeding ground to make another good pass at the Invading Body Snatchers. Time will tell.

Until then, keep watching the skies!...and the person next you. Have a good sleep.

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I like these kinds of movies much more than the "dead zombies shuffling around looking for brains to eat" movies. My favorites were the first two Body Snatchers, The Thing and The Hidden.

I saw the 50s' Body Snatcher as a youngster and it scared the bejezus outta me. The Thing had some of the coolest special effects I'd seen up to that time and The Hidden is kind of a "hidden" gem. Very entertaining but not as well known as the others.

I'll be looking forward to the new one with Kidman. I like Kidman and see most of her movies but I want to see her in a great movie. The Interpreter, Birth and Cold Mountain were good but not great. We won't even mention Bewitched and Stepford Wives. Please Nicole, do a great movie.
My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
And again Holden throws down a juggernaut post that leaves very little to be approved upon. I think I love you.

Though it doesn't fit the bill entirely, another title that could possibly be thrown into the mix is again from John Carpenter, Starman. It isn't so much body snatching as it is body cloning, but the principle remains essentially the same. It doesn't have the terror of The Thing or the cheese of They Live, but it does have a consistently upbeat attitude about alien visitors that is absent in all the aforementioned flicks (though "Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?" is personally more smile inducing than Starman).

What really makes this film for me is the odd chemistry between Karen Allen, who is always painfully loveable, and Jeff Bridges as the quirky, extra-terrestrially re-incarnated husband. It isn't so much that you fall for the relationship that innocently blooms between the two, but that the continually evolving Starman is addicting to watch and you want to see what happens to him. Plus, I just love the idea that we invite the alien to earth via the Voyager and when they answer the invite and send someone, and our government shoots them out of the sky and tries to track the alien down for tests. It has some memorable scenes despite them not being groundbreakingly original or unexpected (the Starman bringing things back to life, etc) and is a perfectly watchable science fiction flick.

Oh and of course the "Sliders" episode "The Breeder" in which Maggie's body is host to an alien parasite that forces her to try to find the perfect mate for incubation. A somewhat expected plot, but you can't complain when Kari Wuhrer is playing a nymphomaniac.
Horror's Not Dead
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I like Starman a lot.

I didn't include it because it's not really about invasion, it's exploration that happens to come in human form. I also didn't mention Nic Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) starring David Bowie, which has a similar device though a much different execution, or John Sayles' The Brother from Another Planet (1984), which was released the same year as Carpenter's more mainstream and conventional effort.

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Standing in the Sunlight, Laughing
Freaky... I think I'm getting Invasion of the Body Snatchers this week from Netflix.
I also have The Man Who Fell to Earth on my queue. Great thread!
I'll be back.
Review: Cabin in the Woods 8/10

Thanks Pikey for another great thread, good work.
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I thought about including Men In Black (1997) too, but the "Edgar Bug" (Vincent D'Onofrio) isn't really trying to 'become us' for the purpose of colonization. He only takes the skin of a man (literally his skin) so he can more easily complete his mission and leave our planet. He's never really worried about truly fooling anybody into believing he's human. Ultimately if he succeeds it would mean our destruction as well, but that's not the primary goal, just an ancillary consequence. It's not even the same kind of planet conquering that goes on in War of the Worlds, much less Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

There are also many different aliens walking among us in the MIB universe, but mostly they are benign and mean us no harm. I do love Edgar, though.

Another couple I almost threw on the list for sake of inclusion are Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959 - Edward D. Wood Jr.) and Lifeforce (1985- Tobe Hooper). In Ed Wood's anti-masterpiece, space aliens diabolically plot to reanimate the dead to form an army of zombies that will conquer Earth and stop us from destroying the galaxy with our stupid warlike ways. Stupid, stupid, stupid!!! And in Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce, deep space Vampires come to our planet hitching a ride on Halley's Comet. They're giant, sexy bat creatures who love to walk around nekkid' and suck not blood but a more abstract life essence, turning the human victims into zombies (which I think was plan eleven or twelve). It kinda throws every Sci-Fi and Horror element you can think of into a blender. What pours out onto the screen is only moderately engaging (naked female space vampires, not withstanding), and seems to forget its own rules from time to time.

Both movies are kind of in that body snatching mode, but both throw so much of the classic idea of the zombie/vampire in there that I didn't include them. Again, it's not really about walking among us undetected and taking us over one by one. They are seeking to take over the world, and in the case of Plan 9 literally snatching our bodies (the dead ones anyway), but to me these are much sillier than the whole idea of not being able to trust the person next to you because they may no longer be human. These minions being used in the plots are obviously no longer one of us, not supposed to blend in to society.

And speaking of sexy naked alien chicks, the premise of Species (1995 - Roger Donaldson) is about extraterrestrial DNA being mixed with human DNA, resulting in a gorgeous and deadly half-breed (Natasha Henstridge). Stellar ensemble cast (Ben Kingsley, Forest Whitaker, Alfred Molina, Michael Madsen, Marg Helgenberger) wasted in this silly if slick action movie. The aliens aren't entering our bodies, our horny men are entering theirs...and being killed for it. And who can blame them? What a way to go. I know there have been a couple straight-to-video sequels, but I haven't bothered watching them.

So that's why I didn't include Species either.

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Hey Holden, even tho you're a bit grumpy, you alone are worth the "price" of this forum. Great stuff.

I enjoyed the hell out of Lifeforce. There's just something about those scary British flicks. A hot nekkid vampire girl, Steve Railsback and a pre-Star Trek Patrick Stewart. Who could ask for more? Another Brit favorite was about these giant grasshopper looking thingies. It included an impenetrable spaceship, weird vibrations and poltergeists. Cheesey but eerily creepy at the same time.

Speaking of Species, it's not only a good place to see a stunning Natasha Henstridge as Sil but also a certain Dawson's Creek cast member as the young Sil. My favorite from DC, BTW.

Some trivia nuggets regarding some of the "body snatching" movies...
  • Don Siegel, the director of the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, has a cameo in the remake as the cab driver who doesn't take them out of town.

  • In Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), Kevin McCarthy's character is named Dr. Bennell, and at the end of the film there is even a gag where he is seen holding a large seed pod.

  • In the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Sam Peckinpah has a small role as the town's meter reader, Charlie, who is seen briefly in Miles' basement (probably placing a pod), the morning after Miles has rescued Becky from her father's house.

  • In the '78 Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake, Robert Duvall has a fleeting cameo with no dialogue as a sinister-looking priest, swinging at a playground in the first section of the film. We never see him again. Duvall had starred in one of the director's previous films, The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid.

  • Veronica Cartwright, co-star of the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers, is appearing in the upcoming The Visiting.

  • Actor Keith David is in The Thing (1982), They Live! (1988) and The Puppet Masters (1994).

  • In The Thing (1982) for the scene where Doctor Cooper (Richard Dysart) has his arms bitten off by the creature, an actual double-amputee was fitted with a Dysart mask and fake arms filled with blood for the effect of his arms being ripped from his body.

  • Jimmy Hunt, who starred as the young boy in the original 1953 Invaders from Mars, has a cameo in the 1987 remake as the Police Chief.

  • The school in the 1987 Invaders from Mars is named after the director of the 1953 original, William Cameron Menzies.
  • Tobe Hopper's movie Lifeforce (1985) can be seen playing on a television set in his version of Invaders from Mars (1987).
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A system of cells interlinked
Terrific thread.

I try to watch The Thing (1982) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) whenever I get the chance, as they are a couple of my favorites in the genre. I , too, have a soft spot for Starman, and also love the interaction between the two main characters.

"Arizona maybe?"
"What means...Kid nap-ped?"

I actually got misty last time I watched Starman....what a sap.

Holds, I will hit you with some rep for this thread, once I am allowed again.
“Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal, and if they are equal, they are not free.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

I thought you said you watched
me! I thought you knew the rules!

I watched you very carefully:
Red light stop, green light go,
yellow light go very fast.

I See You When You're Sleeping
Excellent articles there Hold, it's a pity I came in under the impression this was Adrien Brody Snatcher flicks.

There was one film I saw when I was younger where a family moved to a new town and each family member where being replaced. I'm not if by aliens or robots, it was really creepy though. Something about a getaway on a lake at the end too.

Originally Posted by Holden Pike

I thought you said you watched
me! I thought you knew the rules!

I watched you very carefully:
Red light stop, green light go,
yellow light go very fast.
I loved that part

In Soviet America, you sue MPAA!
Shivers, David Cronenberg, 1975

A very unique body snatching film from the genius that is Cronenberg. The body snatchers aren't a higher alien species bent on taking over earth, but rather slugish parasites that worm their way into a host, transforming them into violentlyy aggressive nymphomaniacs. Effectively it is a sexual zombie film; Each host spreads the alien body through sexual contact much in the same way a zombie spreads its disease.

Taking place entirely in a fancy new apartment building that is designed to be as self-contained from the world past its island shores as is possible, the story begins with a doctor murdering a woman and attempting to burn the parasites out of her with acid. Naturally she had already spread the parasite before her exit and thus the story propels.

Cronenberg really, really did something unique here. Watching it I was reminded heavily of not only Cronenberg's later works (obviously) but landmarks such as Dawn of the Dead and shots that were reminescent of The Shinning - until I realized both films were made after Shivers. As Dawn proposes consumerism will be the downfall of society, Shivers proposes that sexually repressed desires will kill our culture. Cronenberg does a fantastic job of mixing fear with sex to the point that the two are so homogenous that it is confusing which is which - and isn't sex really one of the scariest things in our culture, anyway?

A very well written, sexily disturbing film that I really dig.

"He tells me that even old flesh is erotic flesh, that disease is the love of two alien kinds of creatures for each other, that even dying is an act of eroticism."

Yeah, Shivers and Rabid are both REALLY twisted and frightening and just plain unsettling. His latter and better known stuff (Dead Ringers, The Fly, Videodrome) is certainly creepy and disturbing, but the first few movies he made are something else.

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