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Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

“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. 

"the film – working as a masterful stroke of highly-charged paranoia – is a stunningly effective film of absolute creepiness"


Arriving on 4K UltraHD 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 Kino Lorber’s upscaled restoration – has arrived and it looks absolutely stunning when it comes to city streets delineation and highlights clarity, especially during the nighttime scenes.  Complete with an archival audio commentary by director Philip Kaufman; archival interviews with sound designer Ben Burtt, actress Brooke Adams, composer Denny Zeitlin, actor Art Hindle, and vintage promotional materials, 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’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a certified hit, still working for today’s audience.Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

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.

5/5 stars

 Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- November 23, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: 4K Region Free

From acclaimed filmmaker Philip Kaufman (The Wanderers) comes this chilling ’70s adaptation of Jack Finney’s classic novel The Body Snatchers. Filmy spores fall from space over San Francisco, and the city blossoms with beautiful new flora. People take the flowers home and, as they sleep, the plants creep over them, devouring their bodies and stealing their identities—their emotions, their uniqueness, their souls. If you notice an eerie change in someone very close to you, chances are you’re next! More than just a highly effective sci-fi thriller, Invasion of the Body Snatchers treats contemporary problems of urban paranoia and loss of individuality with intelligence and sensitivity... and ends with the single most horrifying frame in movies. Featuring a brilliant screenplay by W.D. Richter (Big Trouble in Little China), gritty camerawork by Michael Chapman (Raging Bull) and awe-inspiring special effects, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a pulse-pounding shocker with wonderful performances by Donald Sutherland (The Puppet Masters), Brooke Adams (The Dead Zone), Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), Jeff Goldblum (The Fly) and Veronica Cartwright (Alien).

Video:

Stemming from a fresh restoration and remaster of the original 35mm camera negatives, the native 4K transfer of Invasion of the Body Snatchers absolutely POPS with warm colors, looking brand-new again.  Yes, you can ditch the Scream Factory blu-rays as this transfer leaves Scream and Arrow’s treatment in the dust.  San Francisco is ALIVE with fresh greens, golden sun, and lots of clarity; the kind never seen before.  The Dolby Vision HDR presentation is a damn showstopper, giving every scene brand-new depth and detail.  This release is damned impressive.

Audio:

There are two standard audio tracks on this release: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. Optional English SDH subtitles are provided for the main feature.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Audio Commentaries with director Phillip Kaufman riding solo in the first and author and film historian Steve Haberman providing the second.

Special Features:

  • Leading the Invasion (HD, 25 min)
  • Re-Creating the Invasion (HD, 16 min)
  • Scoring the Invasion (HD, 16 min)
  • Re-Visitors from Outer Space, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pod (HD, 16 min)
  • The Man Behind the Scream (HD, 13 min)
  • Writing the Pod (HD, 11 min)
  • Star-Crossed in the Invasion (HD, 9 min)
  • Practical Magic (HD, 5 min)
  • The Invasion Will Be Televised (HD, 5 min)
  • Trailers (HD)

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

5/5 stars


Film Details

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime:
115 mins
Director
: Phillip Kaufman
Writer:
W.D. Richter
Cast:
Donald Sutherland; Brooke Adams; Jeff Goldblum
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
Get Some Sleep.
Memorable Movie Quote: "In an hour, you'll be one of us."
Theatrical Distributor:
United Artists
Official Site:
Release Date:
December 22, 1978
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 23, 2021.
Synopsis: This remake of the classic horror film is set in San Francisco. Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) assumes that when a friend (Brooke Adams) complains of her husband's strange mood, it's a marital issue. However, he begins to worry as more people report similar observations. His concern is confirmed when writer Jack Bellicec (Jeff Goldblum) and his wife (Veronica Cartwright) discover a mutated corpse. Besieged by an invisible enemy, Bennell must work quickly before the city is consumed.

Art

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

 

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