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Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Collector's Edition (1978) - Blu-ray Review

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Invasion of the Boday Snatchers (1978) - Blu-ray Review

4 beers“Can you still do the things with your eyes?  You’re not crazy if you can still do the thing with your eyes.”

I will NEVER forget the first time I saw Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  I wouldn’t go outside in the rain for weeks afterwards thanks to the opening few minutes of the movie.  The camera shows us an alien landscape and follows a thick strain of alien DNA as it billows through the universe, landing in San Francisco via THE RAIN.  And then, oh dear god no, there’s the priest on a swing in the park; Robert Duvall no less.  When was the last time you saw a priest in a park?  That’s when you know the end of the world is upon us. 

Arriving this week on 1080p HD is 1978’s classic update of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  Now, you too can dispose of the remains of any other copy of this movie you might have.  Its replacement – courtesy of Scream Factory – has arrived.  Complete with TWO new supplemental items and a NEW 2k scan from the interpositive, this release is to be praised until we can no longer talk or hear each other.  The results are insanely good. 

You already suspect it, now you must admit it.  People are turning on you.  Everywhere.  They simply cannot be trusted.  That’s basically the premise – the motif – in 1978’s re-imaging of Jack Finney’s book.  Invasion of the Body Snatchers spins its dark web from the 1956 original directed by Don Siegel.  As far as science fiction B-movies go, this is the most “human” any thought or discussion of paranoia and intellectualism gets; the fascists are coming.  Wicked in its welcoming of conspiracies against one another and yet still full of compassion, this remake gets everything correct, making it damn-near the only version of pod-people to ever really see.

Kaufman’s version tells the story of how two Health Inspectors, Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) and colleague Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams), discover that their friends, lovers, and strangers alike are being replaced by pod-like beings evolving from exposure to an evolving plant life stemming from the alien landings so frighteningly decoded in the beginning.  Playing upon the paranoid-fueled fears of an entire population as one-by-one they turn to aliens, Sutherland is aided by the cosmic wisdom from his friend Dr. David Kibner (Leonard Nimoy) and Mud Bath owners, Jack Bellicec (Jeff Goldblum) and wife Nancy (Veronica Cartwright).  Chilling and campy, note-for-note Kaufman’sInvasion of the Body Snatchersis a certified hit, still working for today’s audience.

Kaufman is a master in the director’s chair, striving for authenticity with this film as the camera “walks” through the weary streets of San Francisco.  Kaufman recreates what was once done in black-and-white with fleshy color tones by adding a lot more precision and classic visual styling than the original.  This is visual paranoia at its best.  Alongside cinematographer Michael Chapman, Kaufman makes the camera an active part of the film with an emphasis on film noir techniques of a by-gone era: lots of shadow play and lots of Hitchcockian expression.  Look at the party scene as Goldblum keeps talking to Sutherland while he, on the phone, tries to explain what he saw on the street earlier in the day.  Shot at weird angles and edited with rapid-fire snips, the scene culminates as the two men see themselves in an elongated mirror.  This gung-ho attitude is still edgy and shockingly perfect for the paranoia established by the film’s tone.

With honorable cameos from Don Siegel and Kevin J. McCarthy, the camp factor is, of course, obligatory high; however, the film – working as a masterful stroke of highly-charged paranoia – is a stunningly effective film of absolute creepiness.  This duplicity in character is edged-off by a marvelous portrayal of friendship between Sutherland and Adams as they stumble into love.  Supremely human, only those without a heart – say a pod-person, for example – would not be affected by Adams’ proof of not being crazy when she does that “thing with” her “eyes”. 

Even its synth score gets jazzy and, composed by Denny Zeitlin, works to charm over the audience as the world quickly goes to Hell; humanity replaced with the unfeeling coldness of the pod-people.  This film is truly a classic example of how remakes should be done.  Kaufman’s film is highly original, warning of the impending “sameness” of the 1980’s.  Invasion of the Body Snatchers kicks with the stubbornness of a mule because it knows what you don’t; something important; something that could save your life.

The aliens aren’t coming.

They are already here.

Invasion of the Boday Snatchers (1978) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime:
115 mins
Director
: Philip Kaufman
Writer:
W.D. Richter
Cast:
Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
Pray for the human race...
Memorable Movie Quote: "That's because they're all part of it. They're all pods, all of them!"
Distributor:
United Artists
Official Site:
Release Date:
December 20, 1978
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 2, 2016
Synopsis: In San Francisco, a group of people discover the human race is being replaced one by one, with clones devoid of emotion.

Invasion of the Boday Snatchers (1978) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - August 2, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Discs: Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD-50)
Region Encoding: A

I am bowing tonight to the hooligans over at Scream Factory.   Their upgraded treatment of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is AMAZING.  With no sign of DNR manipulation, this 1080p HD transfer, in 1.85:1 ratio, is near perfect keeping the film’s grainy appearance intact.  While there are a few light-to-dark granulations in a few spots, the transfer is certainly top notch with strong saturated colors, deep blacks, and more depth than ever before seen.  This is impressive to say the least.  The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is also a huge improvement.  Full of tension and ambience, the sound blisters from the speakers with a fierce stimulation not heard from the movie in years…maybe ever.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • The only audio commentary is from Kaufman himself and is a true delight for fans of the film and of the director as many secrets are revealed behind the filming of the movie.

Special Features:

With TWO NEW actor interviews – one with Brooke Adams and another with Art Hindle – and TWO NEW crew interviews – one with writer W.D. Richter and the other with composer Denny Zeitlin, this release is chockfull of special material for its fans.  The other features were ported over from the previous release and include information on how the film was made and its impact upon audiences.  The opening sequence is detailed in another, as well as its effects.  With brand new cover art and a reversible sleeve, OWNING this release is a no-brainer.

  • Star-Crossed in The Invasion (10 min)
  • Leading the Invasion (10 min)
  • Re-Creating The Invasion (12 min)
  • Scoring the Invasion (12 min)
  • Re-Visitors From Outer Space, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Pod (16 mins)
  • Practical Magic: The Special Effect Pod (5 mins)
  • The Man Behind The Scream: The Sound Effects Pod (13 mins)
  • The Invasion Will Be Televised: The Cinematography Pod (6 mins)
  • Science Fiction Theatre: Time is just a Place (26 min)
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV & Radio Spots
  • Photo & Poster Gallery

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