Quantcast

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Invasion-of-the-Body-SnatchersThe seed is planted…terror grows. On August 2, 2016, the terrifying sci-fi classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers will be presented like never before in a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray from Scream Factory. Featuring a new HD transfer, this release also comes packed with new bonus features, including interviews and audio commentary with cast and crew, and a limited-edition collectible slipcover with newly rendered artwork.  Under cover of darkness, while an unsuspecting city sleeps, an alien life form begins to sow the seeds of unspeakable terror. Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, Veronica Cartwright and Jeff Goldblum star in this shocking, “first-rate suspense thriller” (Newsday).

.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1

Film 

One by one, the residents of San Francisco are becoming drone-like shadows of their former selves. As the phenomenon spreads, two Department of Health workers, Matthew and Elizabeth, uncover the horrifying truth: Mysterious pods are cloning humans — and destroying the originals! The unworldly invasion grows stronger with each passing minute, hurling Matthew and Elizabeth into a desperate race to save not only their own lives, but the future of the entire human race.

When it comes to the discussion of remakes that surpass the original film, there are three that always headline the topic; The Thing, The Fly and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  One of the differences Body Snatchers has over those two contemporaries is that it had a more difficult film to surpass.  The original Don Siegel film was beloved and one that still holds up today.  Yes, its very much a B-picture which lends itself to be open for a modernized, more “serious” remake.  The task is no easy one, but with this Invasion, there feels very much a purpose for it and a voice to be heard.

Everything you ever wanted in a horror film comes full circle with 1978’s retread of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  First off, there is a combo of great suspense and gore.  The film film features some outstanding and downright disturbing practical effects.  Philip Kaufman’s masterpiece also features an eerie and perfectly haunting atmosphere.  A large populated metropolitan area never felt so empty, alone and spooky.  Top that off with expert cinematography and great performances from a top tier cast.  Yes, the film is more in the prestige, but it has everything you want from the lower budgeted horror fare as well.  It blends terrifically and makes for such an impacting and horrifying experience.  Oh and for those people who put far too much stock into ratings…this was only rated PG back in 1978.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers redux is also a well crafted, planned and layered film.  Every shot in the film and piece of direction is careful planned, thought out and placed.  Its a brilliant spectacle to take in and look at.  And another of the many places this film excels at is its rewatch value.  There are things all over the place in the film that you’re not going to see the first, second or even third time out.  I’ve seen this film a lot and even I was noticing things when I did it for this Blu-ray.  Brilliance is all over the place.

Remake, screamake, this one is a perfect film.  To call it a masterpiece almost feels like understating it, but it truly is.  And though the setting of the film may date it, I feel the thematics, message and engaging nature of the film keep it timeless.  And the thing is incredibly iconic too.  There are so many images, lines, characters, creatures, sounds and music cues that have stuck with us and are constantly revisited and paid homage to in modern pop culture even to this day.  I stand to be corrected, but aside from just new adaptations for sound (Dracula, Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera, etc) or Hammer, I don’t think there was a remake of of this impact and ease of surpassing the original until this came along.  What’s great to, is that both this and the original can stand on their own or with one another and be perfectly enjoyed.  This Body Snatching story is a well that has been frequently revisited through Hollywood’s history, but this is clearly the best trip and stands as one of both horror, the 1970s and film history’s best films.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers 4

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition of Invasion of the Body Snatchers comes with a brand new 2K scan on the interpositive.  The transfer definitely looks an improvement over the current edition that’s been on Blu-ray for a few years now.  There are less specs and dirt on the frames.  Detail is definitely more abundant.  Darker scenes hide much less detail than before.  It has a crisper, sharper image and some of the blurriness in scenes on the previous edition appear to be gone.  While I don’t know that this is a huge jump, its significant enough and has the feeling that someone sprayed some Windex on the glass and cleaned it up very good.  

Depth:  

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and beautiful here.  Some grain shows in dark scenes (but that’s welcoming).  Scenes in the night and shadowy places feature a haunting, good look.  No crushing, not much detail lost.

Color Reproduction:  The color palette here is very 70s.  Lots of “normal” looking colors like different tints of brown permeate most of the picture.  Some of the plants feature some varied, more striking colors to compliment very strong greens.  When blood shows up, it looks pretty noticeable and full.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent through the duration of the film.  Details show strong in close-ups, but medium shots also fare well with stubble, wrinkles, make-up, freckles and blemishes.  I will say in comparison with the previous edition, it was more apparent of Donald Sutherland having a 5 o’clock shadow than in the previous edition.

Noise/Artifacts:  Pretty clean, features some solid grain.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers 5

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics:  I’m pretty sure this is the same 5.1 mix used on the previous edition.  In addition, though, you get the stereo track now in DTS-HD MA form rather than Dolby Digital.  This 5.1 mix is effective, weaving in the beautiful score to effective stings and loudness with the goopy, gross sounds of the pod people being birthed and coming to life.  There are also stings in the film, like the shrieking, that are incredibly loud and effective.  All in all, they didn’t need to do much to this mix because it was perfectly fine before.

Low Frequency Extension:  Explosions, fog horns, fire, car crashes and other action sounds get a thump from your sub as well as well timed musical stings.

Surround Sound Presentation:  The score sounds gorgeous through all the channels in this mix.  Rear speakers provide some really smooth ambiance and some interest alien sound as well as enhancement on some full environment action beats.  Front speakers follow along and accurately portray the invasion from left to right and all around.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clean, crisp and clear.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers 2

Extras 

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers – Collector’s Edition comes with reversible cover art featuring the original theatrical poster.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Philip Kaufman
  • With Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman

Star-Crossed In The Invasion (HD, 9:06) – An interview with actress Brooke Adams.  She had no idea it was a remake when she was auditioning for the film.  She even does that weird thing with her eyes, which she says is much easier than running in high heels.  Overall she makes it sound like the film was fun to shoot and had great relationships with her co-stars.

Leading The Invasion (HD, 25:04) – An interview with actor Art Hindle.  He was a big fan of the original, which his mother took him to see in the theater.  Hindle goes over a lot of his motivations and ideas behind his performance and character in the film.  He goes over Kaufman’s desire not to have the pod performances be just simply flat and a bit more defined.  Apparently Sutherland was pretty distant on set to start, as he was going between this and Animal House early in the shoot.

Re-Creating The Invasion (HD, 15:43) – Interview with with writer W.D. Richter. Richter goes over how they got together and approached remaking the original and pulling from the book.  He mentions that he was on set.  One of the more interesting portions has him giving depth and background on the Kevin McCarthy and Don Siegel cameos.

Scoring The Invasion (HD, 15:34) – Interview with composer Denny Zeitlin.  He purposely avoided seeing the original movie in order to prepare a fresh sound for the film.  There was a desire to make the sound eerie and organic, using acoustic instruments.  Jerry Garcia played banjo for the moment in the film with the infamous dog with a human head scene.

Re-Visitors From Outer Space, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Pod (HD, 16:14)  – Archived restrospective including interviews with director Philip Kaufman, screenwriter W.D. Richter, director of photography Michael Chapman and actors Donald Sutherland and Veronica Cartwright.

Practical Magic: The Special Effects Pod (HD, 4:38) – Another ported featurette focusing on the effects work on the film.

The Man Behind The Scream: The Sound Effects Pod (HD, 12:47) – This ported bonus feature has an interview with Ben Burtt and sound editor Bonnie Koehler.

The Invasion Will Be Televised: The Cinematography Pod (HD, 5:24) – This archived featurette focuses on the terrific and iconic cinematography in the film.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:13) 

TV Spots (HD, 1:02) 

Radio Spots (HD, 4:46) 

Photo Gallery (HD, 6:17) – A lot of posters, behind the scenes, promo images and lobby cards.

Science Fiction Theater: Time is Just A Place (HD, 25:53) – An episode based on Jack Finney’s short story. Directed by Jack Arnold.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers 3

Summary 

1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a masterpiece and a film to always go back and revisit.  Speaking of revisiting, this Blu-ray is, for the first time, a TRUE update and enhancement to double dip on.  There have been some cheap rereleases of this every Halloween with a new cover, but this is the real deal.  A new transfer and additional, meaty extras that give you every reason to double dip on this classic.  Fans should be happy and owners of the currently Blu-ray should be satisfied with shelling out again and giving the old one to a friend.  Another must have from Scream Factory.

Invasion-of-the-Body-Snatchers-Blu-ray

Share

Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

  1. No Comments