Invasion of the Body Snatchers is deep-seeded paranoia on an extraterrestrial level. Another one of my mom’s all time favorite sci-fi horror movies is the 1956 original version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. A movie my brother and I first saw with her at a young age. The very idea of having your loved ones replaced terrified me. It’s a classic that still works very well today. Even though its themes are very much of the era. The alien invasion is really in place of deeper themes such as fear of McCarthyism, Communism, and conformity. Science fiction is really the best medium for political subtext.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is told through flashbacks by Dr. Miles Bennell. He recounts how his small town of Santa Mira was secretly invaded by a race of plant-like aliens. It first began with multiple patients claiming that their loved ones were replaced by emotionless duplicates. Then Bennell and his girlfriend Becky discover its origin. A series of sea pods that descended from space are creating emotionless “pod people” when an individual is asleep. It’s not long before the entire town is overrun by them. Leaving Bennell and Becky as the only ones left. They can be fooled, but Becky has trouble supressing her emotions.
By far the most terrifying scene for me was when Bennell kisses Becky, only to discover that there’s nothing there. It leads to the famous ending where a frantic Dr. Bennell tries desperately to convince people of the invasion. “They’re here already! Your next! Your next!” It would have been a chilling note to end things on, but it was changed to include a prologue and epilogue. Making things a bit more hopeful. Whether hopeful or not, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is both a classic and a cautionary tale.