79. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

invasidonDirected by Don Siegel

Written by Daniel Mainwaring

Produced by Walter Wagner

Starring: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Lany Gates, King Donovan and Carolyn Jones

Country: USA

Release date: February 5, 1956

Why you should see it?

Invasion of the body snatchers is a science fiction film based on Jack Finney’s 1954 novel “The body snatchers”. This movie has as an uncredited dialogue direction by Sam Peckinpan (the great Western director) who also appears in a cameo in the movie.

This is the quintessential B-movie, because it was executed precisely and packed with action by director Don Siegel plus a scary movie. This is the perfect low budget movie because it was effective in eliciting horror with slow building tension without monsters and minimal special effects.

As it was popular in B-movies this is a politicized film mostly interpreted es the paranoia toward the spread of Comunisn as a dehumanization and take over of an entire community.


Psychiatrist Dr. Hill is called to the emergency ward of a hospital, where a frantically screaming man is held in custody. Dr. Hill agrees to listen to his story. The man identifies himself as Dr. Miles Bennell, and recounts the events leading to his arrest in the flashback that follows.

In the fictional town of Santa Mira, California, Miles Bennell, a local doctor, has a number of patients accusing their loved ones of being impostors. Another patient is a former girlfriend of his, the recently divorced Becky Driscoll, who tells him that her cousin Wilma, has the same fear about Uncle Ira. Dr. Dan Kauffman, a psychiatrist in the town, assures Bennell that the cases are nothing but “epidemic mass hysteria”.

That same evening Bennell’s friend Jack Belicec finds a body with what appear to be his features, though it’s not yet fully developed. The next body found is a copy of Becky in the cellar of her house. When Bennell calls Kauffman to the scene, the bodies have mysteriously disappeared and Kauffman suspects Bennell of falling for the same hysteria. The following night Bennell, Becky, Jack and Jack’s wife Teddy again find duplicates of themselves, emerging from giant pods. They conclude that the townspeople are being replaced in their sleep by perfect physical copies. Miles tries to call long distance for help from outside resources, but the phone operator claims that no long-distance calls are possible. Jack and Teddy drive away to get help. Bennell and Becky discover that most inhabitants have already been replaced, and are now devoid of any humanity. They flee to Bennell’s office to hide for the night.

The next morning they see that truckloads of pods are being sent to neighboring towns, to replace even more humans. Kauffman and Jack, both of whom are now “pod people”, reveal that an extraterrestrial life form is responsible for the invasion. After the takeover, they explain, life loses its frustrating complexity because all emotions and sense of individuality have vanished. Bennell and Becky manage to escape and hide in a mine outside of town. While Bennell inspects a near-by farm where more pods are bred, Becky falls asleep and is instantly taken over. She informs the “pod people” where to find Bennell, who runs onto the next highway, frantically screaming to passing motorists, “They’re here already! You’re next! You’re next!”

Bennell finishes his story. Dr. Hill and the doctor on duty doubt his account until a highway accident victim is hospitalized, who had been found under a load of giant pods. The men realize that Bennell’s story is fact and begin to alert the authorities.

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