Hello, Hello my little horror hounds! This fine Friday I am feeling a little paranoia on celluloid, and what better source for conspiracy than alien invasion meets small town America? Now this flick has been remade a hundred times over, but the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers still holds up as one of the best films inspired by science fiction master Robert Heinlein’s book, The Puppet Masters.
In Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a small town Doctor named Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) finds himself perplexed by cases of townsfolk who claim that their loved ones are no longer their loved ones. They look the same, they sound the same, but that spark that makes them the person they know is gone; replaced by emotionless copies that have their memories. Thinking it an epidemic of neurosis, until close friends show him the body of a man that is no man at all, at least not yet. A not fully formed creature that is waiting to become human, as soon as it’s mark goes to sleep.
This movie embodies some of the themes that I find most frightening in a horror story. The first being knowing the truth, but not being believed, the second is having no one to trust, and the third is not being sure of your own sanity. Let’s be honest, if suddenly you felt like everyone was different but you, you’d have to consider that you might just be crazy. If it happens to be true, you might just wish you were. The end of this scenario is the most frightening of all, even if you get the world to believe you, even if humanity thinks they have won, you could never know. You could never sleep soundly again, when out there could be pods waiting for you to rest your head. How could we sleep, when they look just like us?
The idea has been explored in many movies and books, in many ways. The invasion, The Stepford Wives, The Faculty, in Oklahoma Congressional candidate Timothy Ray Murray’s mind (who thinks his fellow politicians have been in fact replaced by body double robots), but it’s important to look back to the source, to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which without gore, without special effects, introduced true paranoia through the silver screen.
So next time there’s something off about your Aunt Claudine, your co-worker, or even your spouse, take a good long look and ask, is that the person you have always known?
Until next time, my demonic darlings. -Ruby