9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

After repeated viewings of the Body Snatchers corpus, I have conflated all the movies into one glorious pod-a-thon and can’t really remember what happens in which. But the film I’m putting on this list is the black and white 1956 version starring Kevin McCarthy, because I think it really captures the mean-mindedness and paranoia that’s the essential part of the story. Who hasn’t wondered from time to time if all their friends and family have been replaced by alien replicants? When I worked at the BBC I was convinced for much of the time that my co-workers had been ‘podded’, and I even started looking in obscure cupboards to see if they were growing in there. (I can’t reveal my findings for obvious reasons.) invasion3The other thing I love about Invasion of the Body Snatchers is the early part of the film when we’re not quite sure what, if anything, is happening. People have become ‘strange’ – nobody can quite say why. It’s one of the things I fear most – familiar, loved things going wrong. I also like the 70s Donald Sutherland version, but it’s just not as good as the original. [By the way: Stephen King writes brilliantly about Body Snatchers in his excellent study of the horror genre, Danse Macabre.]

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