Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Now the Pod People are Invading the Military, or Thoughts on Body Snatchers

 More like a sequel or a second invasion, Body Snatchers (1993) was the third remake of Invasion of The Body Snatchers (1956).  From gritty New York Director Abel Ferrara of Ms. 45 (1981), King of New York (1990), and Bad Lieutenant (1992, the one with Harvey Kieitel), Body Snatchers moves the story over to an Alabama army base with a completely new set of characters.  Terrey Kenney, who you may remember as McManus from HBO’s Oz plays Dr. Steve Malone, along with Gabrielle Anwar as Marti Malone, the teen daughter and narrator of the film, echoing the first Invasion’s theme of telling the story in retrospective.
Dr. Malone is an EPA investigator testing the surrounding waters and investigating the random toxic waste barrels at the military base that may show up next at the Uneeda Medical Supply company.  The movie stresses themes of conformity, and there’s a clever scene where all the kids in daycare make the same finger-painting except for Marti’s unlucky little brother.
The seedpods are reminiscent of the eggs from Alien (1979) and growing in those same swamps outside the base.  The original bodies crumble into dust and hair once they’re fully assimilated in a nice analog effect, especially considering that this movie is less than 6 years away from The Matrix.  When Marti wakes up in the bathtub covered in spaghetti worm strands as her double assimilates her from somewhere in the air vents above her, the movie finds its footing and begins to split away from the previous two.  Body Snatchers focuses on a more organic bio-horror, but on a smaller scale and with a much smaller budget than the second remake.
A consistent theme in all three of these films is that you can fool the aliens and walk amongst them by simply not showing emotion and appearing indifferent.  The pod people are robotic and unemotional but infused with former memories and of course, perfect replicas.  The alien hive mind scream alert system, a reference from the second remake, is the most terrifying part of the movie and the highlight of the film.  That moment is repeated several times in Body Snatchers for maximum exploit value, which you would expect from the director of Ms. 45.
With Forrest “Ghost Dog” Whitaker as an army doctor and Meg “Jennifer’s sister” Tilly as Marti’s step-mom, Body Snatchers would be remade again in 2007 with Nicole Kidman in The Invasion.


my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.