Paranoia-inducing science fiction film, which embodied Americans' fears of both Communism and McCarthyism in the 1950s. Released in 1956, this film was directed by Don Siegel and written by Daniel Mainwaring, Richard Collins, and Sam Peckinpah, based on Jack Finney's novel "The Body Snatchers". It starred Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, King Donovan, and Carolyn Jones, among a host of others. Peckinpah had a brief cameo as Charlie the Meter Reader.

Basic plot: Earth is being covertly invaded by alien seed pods that create emotionless duplicates of humans. The small number of people who learn of the invasion must stop the aliens before they are turned into alien pawns themselves.

Depending on who you ask, the film was either an allegory on the evils of faceless Communism or the dangers of anti-Communist hysteria. The fact that it can so easily be interpreted either way is a testament to Siegel's skill behind the camera and to the power of the script. I've always seen it as a fairly straightforward movie about conformity and the importance of embracing your own humanity, but given the political and social climate of the 1950s, it's almost certain that the filmmakers were aware of the interpretations and comparisons that would be made. I prefer to think that the anti-Communist/ anti-McCarthyism dichotomy was a conscious choice made while the movie was being filmed--why play to one paranoia when you can play to multiple paranoias...

"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" has been remade twice, once in 1978 and again in 1993. Neither has been able to match the original.

"They're here already! You're next! You're next!"

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