In 1956, Don Siegel directed and Walter Wanger produced a little film that capitalized on the fear of the Red Scare. The film was Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The screenplay was written by Daniel Mainwaring, and adapted from the 1954 Jack Finney novel, The Body Snatchers. The film tells the story of a small-town doctor who learns that the population of his community is being replaced by alien duplicates that are devoid of emotion or individuality. Yup, that sounds like the typical communist.
Yes, in the mid-’50s there was a deep seeded fear of communism. This was a period of American history characterized by anti-communist pursuits spearheaded by Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy. So, if you were communist or had “red” leanings, you might have accused under the rules of McCarthyism.
Anyway, the film, and undoubtedly the book, was a big, huge metaphor for all of this communist stuff. This is often the case withfilms; they are often a social commentary on the issues of their times.. the good ones are at least. However, far too often any intelligent aspect of a horror film often gets overlooked by critics, or non-fans, who simply condemn the films for their blood, violence, and gore.
At any rate, Invasion of the Body Snatchers was preserved in the early ’90s by the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
At any rate, the book spurned four films. The most recent being the 2007 film The Invasion, starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Obviously, the plot was updated for an era 50 years younger, but the science-fiction element is still present. Yes, the social commentary gets muddled and transformed into something about DNA, and yes, the suspense isn’t quite as high, but it’s still a highly enjoyable film. And judging from the retro style of The Invasion‘s poster art, they were still trying to capitalize from a bygone era.
Let us know which movie’s poster art you prefer in the comments section below.
Watching either or both of these films is a great way to ease into our 31 Days of Scares as we lead up to 2013.
Rock Hard \m/