The original 1956 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is the defining science-fiction film of its age. Far more clever than its genre trappings would seem, the film works just as well as a political allegory (perhaps even more so) then it does as a mind-bending sci-fi picture. There have been several remakes over the decades — with the 1978 effort being the best of the bunch…though still not as good as the original.
Considered one of the greatest science fiction films ever made, Invasion of the Body Snatchers stars Kevin McCarthy as Miles Bennell, a doctor in a small California town whose patients are becoming increasingly overwrought, accusing their loved ones of being emotionless imposters. They’re right! Plant-like aliens have invaded Earth, taking possession of humans as they sleep and replicating them in giant seed pods. Convinced that a catastrophic epidemic is imminent, Bennell, in a terrifying race for his life, must warn the world of this deadly invasion of the pod people before it’s too late.
A new special edition of this iconic motion picture has just been released by Olive Films with the following special features:
• New High-Definition digital restoration
• Audio Commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith
• Audio Commentary by actors Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, and filmmaker Joe Dante
• “The Stranger in Your Lover’s Eyes” — A two-part visual essay with actor and son of director Don Siegel, Kristoffer Tabori, reading from his father’s book “A Siegel Film”
• “The Fear is Real” — filmmakers Larry Cohen and Joe Dante on the film’s cultural significance
• “I No Longer Belong: The Rise and Fall of Walter Wanger” — Film scholar and author Matthew Bernstein discusses the life and career of the film’s producer
• “Sleep No More: Invasion of the Body Snatchers Revisited” — An appreciation of the film featuring actors Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, along with comments from film directors and fans, John Landis, Mick Garris, and Stuart Gordon
• “The Fear and the Fiction: The Body Snatchers Phenomenon” — Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, along with film directors John Landis, Mick Garris and Stuart Gordon, discuss the making of the film, its place in history, and its meaning.
• “Return to Santa Mira” – an exploration of the film’s locations
• “What’s In a Name?” – on the film’s title
• Gallery of rare documents detailing aspects of the film’s production including the never-produced opening narration to have been read by Orson Welles.
• Essay by author and film programmer Kier-La Janisse
• Original Theatrical Trailer
Why do you think this film has stood the test of time? Let us know in the comments.