Audiences have spent decades trying to pinpoint the political messages behind “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”
The 1956 sci-fi classic follows a doctor named Miles (Kevin McCarthy) who uncovers an alien plot to substitute humans for emotionless “pod” people. Critics assumed the film took a swipe at McCarthyism, the scourge of the era. The key players behind the film, from McCarthy to director Don Siegel, downplayed those talks.
Great art can speak to many in different ways, though. Re-watching the film now on Amazon Prime suggests a more modern interpretation may be in order. And you can run one particular scene word for word with an entirely new meaning.
Yes, we’ve already seen three “Body Snatchers” remakes, with the 1978 Donald Sutherland vehicle standing the tallest. Director Philip Kaufman’s take on the material, based on Jack Finney’s “The Body Snatchers” novel, leaned on the conspiratorial bent of the times post-Watergate.
The current cultural tides suggest a fourth could truly speak to our woke era.
Be afraid, be very afraid, to swipe a line from another sci-fi classic (and its remake).
A sequence late in the 1956 “Body Snatchers” offers a hint of where a new remake could go. Miles and his lady love, Becky (Dana Wynter) are hiding out when they hear their friend Jack (King Donovan) outside the door.
They let Jack in, but it’s immediately clear he’s been taken over by a pod. He’s joined by a psychiatrist (Larry Gates) who’s been trying to convince Miles he’s wrong about his body snatching conspiracy.
Psychiatrist: There’s nothing to be afraid of. We’re not going to hurt you.
Jack: Once you understand you’ll be grateful. Remember how Teddy and I fought against it? Well, we were wrong.
Miles and Becky aren’t convinced.
Miles: We’ll leave town. We won’t come back
Psychiatrist: We can’t let you go, you’re dangerous to us
Jack: Don’t fight it, Miles, It’s no use.
The psychiatrist then shares the origin of the seeds and why they’re a force for good.
Psychiatrist: You’re reborn into an untroubled world.
Miles: Where everyone’s the same.
Miles: What a world. We’re not the last humans left. They’ll destroy you.
Psychiatrist: Tomorrow you won’t want them to. Tomorrow you’ll be one of us.
Miles: I love Becky. Tomorrow will I feel the same?
Psychiatrist: There’s no need for love.
Miles: No emotion? Then you have no feelings only the instinct to survive. You can’t love or be loved, am I right?
Psychiatrist: You say it like it’s terrible. Believe me, it isn’t. You’ve been in love before. It didn’t last. It never does. Love. Desire. Ambition. Faith. Without them life’s so simple, believe me.
Miles: I don’t want any part of it.
Psychiatrist: You’re forgetting something, Miles.
Miles: What’s that?
Psychiatrist: You have no choice.
That last line is chilling. It reminds us of the modern woke movement. Get woke, or else. Lose your job, your reputation or your place in a given field. Say the wrong thing, and it’s time for the apology tour.
That is, if the Outrage Mob is in the mood to accept your apology. Just ask Roseanne Barr. Or Kevin Hart.
Christian faith isn’t woke, and it’s increasingly under attack today by the woke Left. Ambition? How many woke presidential candidates are promising free money … for doing absolutely nothing?
The uniformity of thought the pod people provide is like social media networks deplatforming those who run counter to the groupthink. Consider Candace Owens, a black conservative woman recently banned by Facebook for exploring the root causes of black poverty.
The woke movement promises to end racism, sexism and any other disturbing “ism.” It seeks to wipe away the errors of the past as easily as tearing down a statue. A woke world is one without problems like financial inequality, poverty and greed. It’s scary all right. And it fits right into the “Body Snatchers” template.
FAST FACT: The 1956 “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” took only three weeks to film.
Ironically, two years ago another “Body Snatchers” film got the proverbial green light. We’ve heard little of the project since then, though.
There’s no way a film from modern Hollywood would so much as suggest a critique of Leftist groupthink. That’s a shame. That could fuel a remake that could rival the greatness of the first two “Body Snatchers” films.