Friday, May 30, 2014

INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978) on the ABC Sunday Night Movie

Here's the ABC Sunday Night Movie intro for their repeat broadcast of Phillip Kaufman's 1978 remake of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, starring Leonard Nimoy and Donald Sutherland. For me, this was the scariest sci-fi flick of the Seventies, even edging out Alien. And, because (unlike Alien) Invasion was rated PG instead of R, I actually got to see it unaccompanied by parental units... which probably added to the fright factor. Of course, I also got to see Brooke Adams topless, so it balanced out.

Needless to say, the version that aired on ABC used an alternate, "clothed" take of that scene.


  1. Great movie. Terrified me as a kid.

  2. It's interesting to see how ABC treated the show as a 'Theatre' experience. All that was missing was the sticky floors and a bucket of popcorn. How much things have changed, evening programing and weekend programing in todays world often feels like nothing more than filler between infomercials. It's nice to reflect back on a time when television could actually be seen as a family event.

  3. Thanks! I still remember the first broadcast of the ABC Sunday night movie version. That final scene kept me awake all night.

  4. I agree with the anonymous poster above me. Every weekend movie (be it on ABC, NBC, CBS, TNT, HBO etcetera) felt like it was an epic event. Today it is as if it never matters. There is no difference whether a movie is on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday or any other day of the week. Yes, we have the technology to watch almost anything at will, but the world paid a price with all of that technology. We lost the feeling of how special these weekend movies were and what a rare treat it was to see them pre DVD and pre (or early) VHS/Betamax.

  5. ...Two comments about '78 IOTBS's plot , both involving the homeless banjo-playing musician with a pet dog , whom Sutherland's character patronizes/gives money to:
    Later on in the movie , we get a " shock moment " when we see that , in the transformation of people into pods , the musician (who I think is just called " Musician " or " Man " in the cast listing but is referred to by name in the dialogue ~ Or the other way around) has , in being transformed into a pod person , has somehow blended with his dog , creating a dog with homeless street musician's face !!!!!!!!! (This was in the late 70s , just before the modern-day , noticed-in-the early 1980s , upsurge in homelessness and I suppose the character might've tended to be seen as a , rather quaint , if unfortunate , " traveling Depression hobo " leftover of sorts .)
    But , anyway , aside from the question of such a hybrid might be created ~ And , I suppose sci-fi " Because they CAN , that's why !!!!!!!!! " logic is the best answer to this ~
    Really , it's a bit of an effort to create an " Eucchh ! " moment , maybe without much logic , but:
    (2) I seem to recall a suggestion that Sutherland's character himself , if accidentally , has caused this monstrosity to be created , by , when he's on the run , stumbling into the original pod , or something , of the musician and breaking it , perhaps forcing the aliens to patch it up by creating the man-dog ~ Are we to , in trying the aliens' way of thinking , to figure that the aliens figure that this man , who sleeps outside where others sleep inside , and is obviously close to the dog , is some sort of cainine-linked human , and that is at least one reason why they do it (Perhaps because of being forced to by Sutherland breaking the original pod , as outlined above .) ??

  6. ...Another point about this film is that I have seen it described as being about " disco " 70s people !!!!!!!!!
    Really , the characters aren't " disco " types , that sort of comes from the latter-day tendency to describe everything in the late 70s as " disco " (Or even early punk/New Wave or even 70s arena rockers , which they're neither either , though in the scene where the new pod people who are pods of young strong people are loading up the trucks we see " normal " late-70s highschooller/rocker clothes on them - These are presumably unpaid/" Be in a movie for free ! " (And perhaps a crew's lunch I suppose) extras , recruited from the area by local radio stations , say ?) ~ They're not disco types , they're these sort of late-70s " post-Sixties/encounter group semi-swinger-lounge/cocaine " types , that Sutherland , Nimoy , etc. are part of !!!!!!!!!

  7. ...For one last pojnt: I lived in San Francisco for many 90s/00s years , long after the movie was filmed but ~ I think I walked around the corner in the Tenderloin many times where there's a chase and Kevin McCarthy makes his cameo - I've often said that I , in my SF daze , " I lived in the parts of San Francisco where the romantic comedies aren't shot " - th' " TL " , Sixth Street , upper SOMA - but then , of course , this wasn't a (In the conventional ~ Earthly ! ~ sense , anyway , a " romantic comedy " ~ Maybe as those BS-making aliens see it ! " Snatchers Meet Earthlings " :-) .) ~ the spot where the homeless banjo player has his pitch is the front lawn of City Hall , too ~ When I was still in SF I saw the filming of the Sean Penn MILK flick's recreation of a Hervey Milk speech at the same corner ! And , as for Philip Kaufman and genre material I recall once , I guess in my SF days also , reading a piece on Kaufman involving visiting him at his office in SF and describing going through his filing cabinet of never-used scripts and such ~ and the article mentioned a complete script for a never-made PRINCE NAMOR , THE SUB-MARINER film , written during a time when Kaufman had an option on the character !

  8. Wouldn't there need to have been an actual pod somewhere close by for Brooke Adams to have been transformed so quickly? Seems kinda hard to believe there just happened to be one in the exact spot in the woods where Donald Sutherland left her. But screw logic, it's a great movie anyway.