Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978, Philip Kaufman)


Eerie and very sinister, quiet and deadly. You only really too late that your own friends and neighbors are being replaced by creatures unknown. This is a force beyond our understanding, a parasite that feeds upon man. Do not, I repeat, do not fall asleep. You shall dream your last dream if you do, and the rest is a walking nightmare. Conformity is the norm already in human culture, which is unfortunate. Most unfortunate. Welcome to Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The original 1956 classic dealt with McCarthyism and communism, fear of the other and the suburbs not being a safe haven. Philip Kaufman’s equally great remake moves the action to San Francisco, trafficking in 1970s style paranoia and the fear of government bureaucracy in the wake of Watergate and the Vietnam War. Donald Sutherland, Blake Adams, Veronica Cartwright, Jeff Goldblum and Leonard Nimoy round out a fine cast that adds to the expert direction. The soundtrack is nice and creepy, although the film easily uses silence to underline the horror of what is occurring.

One of the best parts of the film is when a person literally crumbles away in Sutherland’s arms. What a terrifying concept, that a person could be destroyed and an unfeeling monster emerges, occupying their living space. Also the film wonderfully uses Nimoy and Sutherland,  who both fit the material rather well and are the major players in a situation that could determine the fate of the human race.

While I’m not sure if the other two remakes are even worth seeing the 1978 version is almost equal to the 1956 adaptation of the novel all of them are based on. Due to spoofs and time I knew the film’s ending, and yet that finale still amazes. This film is another worthy additon to sci-fi and horror.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: The Blob (1988, Chuck Russell)


In the 1980s there were a surprisingly high number of quality remakes: John Carpenter’s The Thing, David Cronenberg’s The Fly, and Chuck Russell’s The Blob. The Blob was a sharp contrast to its 1950s original, a cheesy sci-fi/horror movie that launched the career of Steve McQueen. In the original the government aids the town in fighting the alien menace, showing that government could be helpful and protective. By the 1980s the government was seen as the problem, and not just because of Reagan America: Watergate, the Vietnam War and the Kennedy murders had soured the American public’s opinion of their public officials. The military that once helped the people in the old film now posed a big threat in the 1980s remake, choosing to cover up the deaths caused by a monster from beyond.

The creature effects are pretty good in this movie too, and of course the death toll gets drastically upped as well. When the Blob gets you it horribly eats you in the grossest, nastiest way possible. This is creepy and ups the tension, adding to the film’s modern take on sci-fi and horror. One of my favorite parts is when a pair of kids become trapped down in the sewers as they attempt to flee from the Blob. For some reason kids being put in serious and terrifying danger has been a staple of modern horror, although in older films such as Night of the Hunter children being threatened was prominent as well. I’m also reminded of Jurassic Park’s kitchen scene, with the dreaded raptors hunting the two kids as they desperately tried to avoid becoming lunch.

Although at times the movie is really cheesy, I still like the film’s cast and how the movie plays out. Its an entertaining thrill ride, a dated 80s movie where Kevin Dillion’s street tough motor bike riding outcast is the hero and Shawnee Smith is the pretty heroine in distress who proves more to be more than just that. I loved the ending despite it being the type of ending that we see in horror movies these days, and how they defeat the Blob is just as great as it was in the 1950s original. We need more good, solid horror remakes like this (or great horror remakes such as The Thing and The Fly), ones that build upon the original and do something different, offering up their own twist on previous material. I would rather have those than another bland sequel.

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