Tuesday, October 11, 2005

INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956) -
Don Siegel

There’s a very good chance that I could already be a Pod Person. Last night, while watching Siegel’s original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, I started to doze off against my best efforts. Not because the movie was a drag, but because I started it around midnight after a long day of staring into a computer screen and a long week of not sleeping so well. Even if you haven’t seen the original Body Snatchers, you probably know that when you fall asleep…that’s when they get‘cha.
   
So I awake this morning feeling a little out of it, not in a disconcerting way, but just going through the motions. Hitting the morning coffee, the usual internet sites, reading up on the latest avian flu pandemic predictions while outside the apartment complex’s gardeners do the usual morning work hacking down shrubbery, palm tree fronds, no strange pods to speak of. It seems in this day and age we have more to fear from the birds in the trees than the trees or plants themselves.
 
Then I sit down to write up this review on Body Snatchers, and I realize it. Nothing’s really coming to me. No pronounced emotions, no human insights, no real opinions to express. This is when I sit down to do a blog entry, so that is what I have to do. I know I enjoyed the movie, but I can’t quite say why. I try desperately to recall some images.
 
Nothing much is coming back to me except Kevin Mc Carthy’s panicked mug running around a small California town: “You fools! They’re already here! You’re next!!!” So I think back to the first version of Body Snatchers I saw for comparisons – Philip Kaufman’s 1976 version set in San Francisco which I remember telling people I loved. It took the body snatching concept so much further, gave the Pods and Pod People some strange sexual undercurrents, like a very dirty Garden of Eden come to life in the backyard of someone’s Nob Hill walk-up.
 
This prompts me to the window of my own Beachwood Canyon walk-up in the shadow of the Hollywood sign. Then I see them. Getting into their fuel-efficient cars. Walking their waste-inefficient dogs. All heading to Starbucks, or to The Gym, or off to their 1 o’clock meeting or audition. And that’s when I realize: “You fool! They’re already here! You’re one of them!!” The Invasion has already happened. Not by way of plant life, but by Double-Shot Soy Mocha Latte!!!
 
Don't go to sleep. You might be next...

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