Thursday, August 18, 2016

"Invasion of the Body Snatchers [Collector's Edition]" Lands at Home on Blu-ray


Scream Factory brings a new 2K restoration of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" to blu-ray in a Collector's Edition that will leave sci-fi and alien enthusiasts absolutely giddy with satisfaction. Director Philip Kaufman ("The Right Stuff") helmed the 1978 remake from a screenplay by W.D. Richter ("Dracula", "Needful Things") based on Jack Finney's novel. An all-star cast of amazing actors is headed up by Donald Sutherland and co-stars Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, and Jeff Goldblum.


One by one, the residents of San Francisco are becoming drone-like shadows of their former selves in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". As the phenomenon spreads, two Department of Health workers, Matthew (Donald Sutherland) and Elizabeth (Brooke Adams), uncover the horrifying truth: Mysterious pods are cloning humans — and destroying the originals! The unworldly invasion grows stronger with each passing minute, hurling Matthew and Elizabeth into a desperate race to save not only their own lives, but the future of the entire human race.


Director Philip Kaufman did a masterful job of visualizing a dark state of paranoia in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". Michael Chapman's ("The Lost Boys", "Ghostbusters II") cinematography is effective and unsettling just the way it was intended to be. It was also a delight to take in a film knowing that all the special effects were practical versus the CGI we're given today.


A cameo by original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" actor Kevin McCarthy has him playing a man running down the road from a group of cloned aliens. He slams into the car Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams's characters are in and proclaims, "They're here! They're here!" It's almost as if he had been running from the pod people for 20 years and finally made it to San Francisco. Don Siegel, who directed the 1956 version also briefly appears as a taxi cab driver.


"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is rated PG for nudity, violence and gore, profanity, alcohol and drug use, and frightening and intense scenes. There are some unsettling parts where the alien replicants are being "born" which some will find gooey and gross. Apparently the display of a woman's breasts didn't merit a movie an R-rating in the 1970s as they do now.


The Collector's Edition of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is jammed full of all the bonus material we've come to expect from Scream Factory. There are new interviews with Actress Brooke Adams, Actor Art Hindle, Writer W.D. Richter, and Composer Denny Zeitlin. New audio commentary is provided by Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman.


It also contains older featurettes that delve into the special effects, sound effects, and cinematography. A classic episode of "Science Fiction Theatre" directed by Jack Arnold ("It Came From Outer Space", "The Creature from the Black Lagoon") based on Jack Finney's short story "Time Is Just A Place" is included as well. A theatrical trailer, TV spots, radio spots, and a photo gallery round out the special features.


I wish I liked "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" as much as most critics do. There's plenty of disturbing moments that impressed me. It was also great seeing Leonard Nimoy outside of his Spock persona. Witnessing a young Jeff Goldblum was the cherry on top. Ultimately, I felt like I was watching a bunch of people running around with some chillingly unsettling sequences thrown in every ten or fifteen minutes.

"Invasion of the Body Snatchers [Collector's Edition]" is available now on Blu-ray.


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