Tuesday, January 7, 2014

'90s Trash: Body Snatchers (The Invasion Continues...)

Oh boy, another pointless Remake from the 1990s.  For all of the (deserved) hate that Platinum Dunes and Ghosthouse get for the constant Remakes/Revamps, the 1990s were equally bad for this kind of thing.  Just recently, I watched the 1995 Remake of Village of the Damned (by a good Director!) and didn't like it.  I had similar misgivings towards the 1998 Remake of Carnival of Souls (also by a good Director!).  Early on in the site history, I did the rarely-seen Bucket of Blood Remake for Showtime- it wasn't all that great.  That film did have Will Ferrell in it for no clear reason, so that's a plus.  Granted- there are exceptions like the 1990 Night of the Living Dead Remake.  So what is the story with this film?  It comes to us from FIVE Writers, a good Director (Abel Ferrera) and the Producer of the previous Remake.  My DVD Box proudly-explains that he decided to make a new film now that technology had advanced to show people come out of the Pods.  Yeah, that's the reason to make a new movie.  Clearly the Studio felt the same way, since the film was barely-released (around 100 Theaters) and grossed less than half a million dollars.  Ouch.  That's quite a quick fall from Bad Lieutenant!  The film has a few notable Actors from their time (Meg Tilly), TV Stars of the future (Burn Notice's Gabrielle Anwar) and future Oscar nominees (Forest Whitaker).  Is this Remake as bad as the others?  To find out, read on...
We start off 'strong' with some pretentious narration.  It's not done badly, but it is just so 'ugh- really?!?'
Our heroine- Anwar- is in town since her dad is an EPA Soil Expert checking an Army Base.  She runs across a sassy girl.  Naturally, she's the same 'sassy girl' from Child's Play 2 and Halloween 4/5.  Typecast much?
Hi, Forest Whitaker.  I look forward to your one other scene (and not just because it is awful).
The base's residents start to turn into Pod People.  There are some neat effects- like the mom's body collapsing like a corn husk- and build-up to it- like the kids in School all making the same drawing.

The silly part is that they shoe-horn nudity in with Meg Tilly...who uses her sister for a body double.  Creepy?
The way that the Pods copy your DNA and make the copies is nice and creepy too.  The effects are by no means bad, but the pacing and story just aren't there.  Oh and...
They completely ruined the 'Eerie Yell' of the Pod People.  They just kind of yell at you and start chasing you.

It's not eerie, it's not unsettling and it has no subtlety- it's just kind of loud.
As hope starts to be draining away, we get a ridiculous and over-acted bit from Whitaker.  He makes a rambling plea for individuality while Pod Person played by R. Lee Ermey is stone-faced.  The contrast could work...but it is just so damn hilarious!

Did you win an Oscar?
As I said, the Pod effects are neat.  They aren't nearly enough to make this an actually-good movie though.
 After some real cheats (just not showing people and then them being Pod People), we get our heroes escaping as the Pod People...just kind of let them.

They learn to regret this decision as our heroes just start blowing shit up with a Blackhawk Helicopter.  They...win?  The End.
You really messed this up somehow.  This one is an odd bird, so stay with me.  This film is both boring and way too dramatic with its lack of subtlety.  That make sense.  Basically, the story parts are really dull and the scary parts are done with absolutely no subtlety.  The scream bits are great examples.  The most memorable parts of the 1978 film involved the eerie exclamation of the alien beings.  The screams didn't sound like human noises and those faces are just creepy.  Seriously, watch that bit from the end of the film on YouTube- it is NOT hard to find.  This film does very little different, other than to set it at an Army Base.  See, it's clever since they follow military code and show no emotion.  Yeah, that's all they've got.  There are the makings of a good film here.  Weirdly they didn't find a way to get Kevin McCarthy to make a Cameo in this one.  He found time to be in Matinee, but not in this.  He also managed to appear as black-and-white footage in Looney Tunes: Back in Action to boot!  The film has some things going for it, but not nearly enough.  The sad thing is that it drags down both Larry Cohen AND Stuart Gordon involved with it...
Next up, a film I'm reviewing for a person from work (who will remain nameless).  Will this now-debunked bit of history make for a delicious film?  Stay tuned...


  1. Could have ben sooo good, but ended up being just ok. The effects are top notch though!

  2. I didn't realize how many people had their hands in this one... that's usually not a good sign.

    1. Yeah. I'd love to know the whole story on this.

      Was there a script by the first duo which was rewritten by the second duo and THEN rewritten again by the fifth guy?

      I'll see if Stuart Gordon will answer my question via Twitter. The search begins!

    2. I'll be damned- he replied! He did it quite quickly, I might add. Awesome sauce.

      According to him, most of what is in the film is from the Script that him and Dennis Paoli wrote. The framework appears to be the original Script co-written by Cohen.

      It also sounds like there were some additions/changes made by Nicholas St. John when Ferrera became the Director. He seems to be attached to most of the guy's films (which is not uncommon).

      Hurray for Twitter!