Another movie with Donald Sutherland? Oh joyous day!
Yes, that’s right. I ended up watching the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers rather than the 1956 version. I had intended to see the first and ended up starting to watch the wrong one, but honestly I had to continue after I saw that my Donald was in this movie as well.
This version of the movie has a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, and I’ll have to agree with that rating. I definitely think that this movie was made with the assumption that viewers would have seen the original first, so there were a few things like a few callouts to the old movie and storylines like “why you can’t fall asleep” that were a bit difficult to figure out without that context (of course, after seeing Nightmare on Elm Street I guess I should just always assume that something bad happens if you fall asleep). I think that Philip Kaufman plays up the paranoia really well and the actors (including Leonard Nimoy!) are really great in this film. How scary would it be to be that helpless? How scary would it be to see your own alien body double? And how scary would it be to be under that much stress and unable to get Jeff Goldblum to stop talking? I can’t imagine.
You can definitely feel the tension in this movie. I love it. I also love the fact that just when I thought I had figured out the ending…there was more! I just wish I had seen the original first.
Face palm moment: I recognized Veronica Cartwright from Alien, but there was something about her face that seemed more familiar than that. After a little Google search, I remembered where I first saw that crying face– she was little Kathy in The Birds! Ah, yes. I remember thinking she was semi-annoying while crying with birds pecking at her head. She’s still semi-annoying in this movie, but this time instead of birds she has to deal with alien body double pod creatures. Fun.
Favorite part: I liked the scenes where the main characters go back to some of the people who had complained about their spouses changing and being taken over by someone else, and these people now had obviously changed as well. “No, no, she’s all right. She’s better now. Much better now.” Creeeeeeeeepy
Regrettable tardiness scale (out of 10): 6/10. I regret more now that I hadn’t (and still haven’t) seen the original. That will be necessary for next year’s October marathon.