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Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – Episode 24 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“I’ve been afraid a lot of times in my life. But I didn’t know the real meaning of fear until… until I had kissed Becky.” Have you ever kissed someone and realized they weren’t who they were? That’s the horror Miles Bennell is describing in this episode’s quote. Join Erin Miskell, Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr as they harvest the paranoia binbuster known as Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Don Siegel’s classic, black and white, science-fiction shocker. They had to hurry before they fell asleep and became …, well, someone who wasn’t them.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 24 – Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is ably directed by Don Siegel (The Beguiled, Dirty Harry, The Shootist, and Escape from Alcatraz) and adapted by Daniel Mainwaring from Jack Finney’s novel The Body Snatchers. The film tells the paranoiac story of an alien invasion that consists of giant pods that take over people’s memories and replicate their bodies, all while they sleep. No one will ever be the wiser! Well, almost no one. Talk about a good motivation for insomnia. In fact, one of the films working titles was Sleep No More.

Including a cast of topnotch, veteran, character actors – Kevin McCarthy (Dr. Miles Bennell), Dana Wynter (Becky Driscoll), King Donovan (Jack Bellicec), Carolyn Jones (Theodora Bellicec), and Larry Gates (Dr. Dan Kaufman) – the film delivers what it’s selling. Coming on the heels of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch hunt and even though Finney and Siegel claimed no hidden, political message, the Invasion of the Body Snatchers resonated with the public’s fear of unfair prosecution and the resulting drive for conformity. It is an example of a perfect synergy between a film and the time in which it appeared in history.

Each of the Grue Crew was affected by this film in their “formative” years and have carried some image or theme from the film throughout their lives, Joseph Perry shares an especially personal story of how the film affected him and his nightmares. When it comes to the rules of the “science” in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Chad Hunt points out some contradictions, but in the end, agrees they don’t detract from the impact of the film. Jeff Mohr wishes the studio hadn’t added a narration and changed the ending with the addition of a prologue and an epilogue, but still considers the film to be one of his favorites of the 1950s. Being a product of its time, Erin Miskell points out the homogeneity of the people and pod people populating the story and laments the problem still existing to some extent today.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is House of Wax (1953), selected and hosted by Erin Miskell.

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nutjobs talking about the films we love. Send us an email  (chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com, jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, or josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com) or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) – Episode 41 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Sleep . . . Sleep . . . and be born again into a world without fear and hate!” – the tagline for Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) warns its audience of the horrors threatening to take over your body and extinguish your soul. Seventies leading man Donald Sutherland teams up with Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, and Veronica Cartwright to save the world from the pod people. The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 41 – Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

A sequel to the Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), the 1978 version from director Philip Kaufman tackles the source material from author Jack Finney once again, filling it with all the paranoia post Nixon era Seventies where everyone is so self absorbed they’d never realize the world was being taken over by aliens. It is crazy-frightening how easy it seems for the alien pod people to take over San Francisco, starting with a cameo from Robert Duvall as a sinister priest to the chilling ending where Veronica Cartwright screams in terror. No character is safe. Still, not sure how any of this explains the crazy human faced dog,but, whatever. Points for creativity, eh.

Doc Rotten and The Black Saint return to give their thoughts on the classic sci-fi horror film recently released on Blu-ray by Scream Factory. Santos recalls watching the film in the theater in the Seventies while Doc shares how, as a kid, he originally did not like the film but grew to love it for the classic film that it is. The grue-crew look back at that careers of the main cast including Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, and Leonard Nemoy. The from the great sound work in the film to the special effects, they rave about Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And so should you!

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Horror News Radio 46 – Robocop 2014 | Top 5 Horror Remakes

Robocop (2014) revisits the territory blazed by Paul Verhoeven in the 1987 original film, except watered down for a PG-13 audience. To be fair, the remake is geared more as a straight-laced action flick with heavy sci-fi overtones and one singularly frightening scene of extraordinary body-horror. What will the grue-crew think?

Thomas continues the theme with the Top 5 of the Week bringing his Top 5 Under Appreciated Remakes featuring films like Little Shop of HorrorsDawn of the Dead and 12 Monkeys. Wait. What? Yup, it’s a remake.

Co-hosts Doc RottenSantos (The Black Saint) Ellin Jr., Dave Dreher and Thomas Mariani also tackle the “What You Have Been Watching” segment for this week discussing the hit HBO show, True Detective. Dave closes the show with the Horror News of the Week with updates on Penny DreadfulThe Purge: Anarchy and Beetlejuice 2.