Dr Miles Bennell returns his small town practice to find several of his patients suffering the paranoid delusion that their friends or relatives are impostors. He is initially skeptical, especially when the alleged dopplegängers are able to answer detailed questions about their victim's lives, but he is eventually persuaded that something odd has happened and determines to find out what is causing this phenomenon. This film can be seen as a paranoid 1950s warning against those Damn Commies or, conversely, as a metaphor for the tyranny of McCarthyism (or the totalitarian system of Your Choice) and has a pro- and epilogue that was forced upon Siegel by the studio to lighten the tone. Written by
Mark Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
During its original cinema release, paper-mache pods were on display in the lobbies, as well as black & white cutouts of Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter running frantically away from a crowd of pod-people. See more »
Upon discovering two pods in the trunk of his car after visiting the gas station, the hero pulls them from the trunk and sets them on fire with a highway flare whereupon they burst into flame. Nowhere else in the film is there any suggestion that these pods are flammable nor would they be if germinating into a human replica. See more »
The simplicity of the horror is what "makes" this film so brilliant...
What must be considered one of the most original of all the science fiction films emanating from the '50s is INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, a low-budget sci-fi film about a sleepy Southern California town infested with a bunch of pods that are replicating the town's humans in physical form hatched from alien pods and taking over mind and body.
It doesn't waste any time in getting to the core of the horror element, with McCarthy as a doctor invited to a friend's house where he sees the first evidence of a sleeping pod form taking on the shape and identity of another. He and his sweetheart (the beautiful DANA WYNTER) are soon aware of the situation enveloping the small town residents and make an effort to alert the authorities, but find that no one can be trusted to be whom they claim to be--and are soon on the run themselves.
It easily remains one of the most gripping of these films with an excellent score by Carmen Dragon. KEVIN McCARTHY, DANA WYNTER, VIRGINIA CHRISTINE, WHIT BISSELL, KING DONOVAN and CAROLYN JONES all deliver fine performances and director Don Siegel keeps the suspense taut until the final scene.
Summing up: Alien invaders have always been a big part of sci-fi stories but never quite as creepily as depicted here. Terrific suspense.
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