Sunday, June 10, 2007

They're here! You're next!

The upcoming Kidman flick, The Invasion, marks the fourth time that Invasion of the Body Snatchers has been made -- more if you include ripoffs (I mean homages) like The Faculty. What's remarkable is that all three versions so far ('56, '78, '93) have been very good movies. From the red scare era came this perfect formula: alien invaders replace our loved ones, turning the human race into an emotionless species of automatons.

The beauty of this sci-fi premise is that it can be used to talk about all sorts of issues. The original is widely regarded as a pro-American take on the spread of godless Communism. But other interpretations hold that the spreading disease is actually the mindless hysteria of red scare itself, and that Kevin McCarthy is the only sane, free-thinking man in a world gone mad with 1950's conformity. The Sutherland version is largely a film about organic food and obsession with health and decontamination. Maybe that's a stretch, but this is a hot topic in '78. Abel Ferrara's film is probably the scariest of them all, and although it's been a while since I've seen it, I seem to recall the notion of virus and disease (HIV maybe?) being a big part of it.

But this is all pseudo-intellectual jargon that may well be beside the point. The bottom line is, this premise will always be horrifying. The zombie film is a formula not far off from Body Snatchers, but these invaders aren't mean. They don't bite. They look and sound just like us, call us by name. They are calm and calculating, not malicious, doing what they do only because of their biology. They simply spread. Dress it up with whatever social context you like. Watching the new trailer (below), I realized that we've seen all of this before. Each version is largely the same movie set 10-20 years after the last one, with the same key scenes and familiar situations and dialogue. But even in this trailer, I'm scared. So maybe this will be about terrorism (the title alone seems indication of that), who knows? It's set in DC, so I'm sure there will be plenty about a passive, non-thinking government. But more importantly, it's about a couple people in a world of apathy, detatchment, and intellectual vacancy. It's scary as hell, and somehow, I never mind that they're remaking a classic over and over.

P.S. Sigur Rós? WTF?

P.P.S. My favorite alien impostor film ever, John Carpenter's remake of The Thing, is playing at the Aero in LA on Friday, June 15th. All in the area, be there.

1 comment:

zak forrest said...

yer dad was a big hit tonight. i was inspired. wish you were there