Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978 film)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1978 science fiction film based on the novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney. It is a remake of the 1956 film of the same name. The original music score was composed by Danny Zeitlin.

This remake starred Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, Leonard Nimoy and Jerry Walter. It was adapted by W. D. Richter and directed by Philip Kaufman. Unlike many remakes, it met a generally favorable critical response and performed very well at the box office, earning nearly $25 million in the United States, well over its budget of $3.5 million; The New Yorker's Pauline Kael, who said "it may be the best film of its kind ever made," was a particular fan.


The film opens out in deep space, where a race of gelatinous creatures abandon their dying world. Pushed through the universe by the solar winds, they make their way to Earth and land in San Francisco. Some fall on plant leaves, assimilating them and forming small pods with pink flowers. Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams), an employee at the San Francisco health department, is one of several people who brings a flower home. The next morning, Elizabeth's partner, Geoffrey Howell (Art Hindle), suddenly becomes distant, and she senses that something is wrong. Her colleague, health inspector Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland), suggests that she see his friend, psychiatrist Dr. David Kibner (Leonard Nimoy). Kibner suggests that Elizabeth wants to believe that Geoffrey has changed because she is looking for an excuse to get out of their relationship.

Meanwhile, Matthew's friend Jack Bellicec (Jeff Goldblum), a struggling writer who owns a mud bath with his wife Nancy (Veronica Cartwright), discovers a deformed body on one of the beds and calls Matthew to investigate. Noticing that the body (which has adult features but lacks distinguishing characteristics) bears a slight resemblance to Jack, Matthew breaks into Elizabeth's home and finds a nearly complete double of her in the bedroom garden. He is able to get Elizabeth to safety, but the duplicate body has disappeared by the time he returns with the police.

Matthew realizes that what is happening is extraterrestrial, not realizing that Dr. Kibner has also been changed. He calls several state and federal agencies, but they all tell him not to worry. In addition, people who had earlier claimed that their loved ones had changed seem to have been converted as well.

That night, Matthew and his friends are nearly duplicated by the pods while they sleep. The pod people try to raid Matthew's house, but the humans are able to slip away. During this, they discover that the pod people clones emit a piercing shrill scream once they learn someone is still human among them.

Jack and Nancy sacrifice themselves to a crowd of pursuing pod people as a distraction, to give their friends enough time to escape. Matthew and Elizabeth are chased across San Francisco, until they are eventually found by the doubles of Jack and Dr. Kibner at the Health Department. Kibner's double tells them that their species is incapable of hating humanity; that what they are doing is the only way for their species to survive and that they are even doing humanity a favor to be ridding them of emotion. They are both injected with a sedative to make them sleep. However, the couple is able to overpower them and escape the building.

They run into Nancy in the stairwell, who has discovered a way to evade the pod people by hiding all emotion. Outside, Matthew and Elizabeth are exposed as human when Elizabeth screams after seeing a mutant dog with a man's face (apparently created when Matthew earlier attempted to destroy a pod attempting to replace a bum, who owned a dog). They flee, and discover a giant warehouse at the docks where the pods are grown. After Matthew and Elizabeth profess their love for each other, they hear "Amazing Grace" being played nearby. Matthew goes out to investigate, only to discover a cargo ship being loaded with hundreds of pods.

Matthew returns to find that Elizabeth has fallen asleep. Although he tries to wake her, her body crumbles to dust and Elizabeth's naked double arises behind him, telling him to go to sleep as well. With no one left, Matthew destroys the pod-growing facility by cutting the overhead lights. Within moments, the entire warehouse is on fire and the unhatched pods begin to die. He is pointed out by Elizabeth's double and hides under a pier while the pod people search for him.

The next morning, Matthew watches dozens of children being led into a theater to be replaced. At work he sees Elizabeth, but she is completely oblivious of him. While walking towards city hall, he is spotted by Nancy. Still able to survive after they were caught earlier, she calls his name, to which Matthew responds by pointing to her and emitting the piercing pod scream. With the realization that Matthew is now a pod person, Nancy screams in helpless anguish.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978 film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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