“Join us—life will be much simpler and better.”
Directed in 1956 by Don Siegel, Invasion of the Bodie Snatchers is a sci-fi classic. On the surface, the film is like any sci-fi movie: suspenseful, a little scary and entertaining. The era the film was conceived, however, gives it a more sinister undertone with allusions to Communist paranoia many everyday Americans felt during the 1950s. The setting of the movie is a small, tightknit town in an unspecified region of America, and yet the town is very obviously American. The commonness of the town allows viewers to insert themselves into the horror, desperation and despair that the main characters are faced with almost from start to finish. The fear of invasion and infiltration permeates out of the movie. In an era where the United States feared the spread of Communism not only taking over allies (neighboring towns in the film) but also our very own citizens at home: your friends, your neighborhood police, your dentist and even your family. The fear that at any moment any one you know could be brainwashed with Communist ideals was very real. As for the portrayal of the aliens, they are very clearly meant to increase the fear and aversion to Communism. The aliens are replicas of human beings; they do not have love, they do not understand beauty and they do not feel emotions. They are complete devoid of human emotions; this is a warning to all about the dangers of Communism: yes, while those who support it claim it to be a perfect system, it accomplishes this by stripping away what makes humans, humans. Invasion and replacement during sleep is especially nightmarish because it suggests a level of uncontrollability as well as insusceptibility. In a blink of an eye and right under one’s nose, one’s way of life can be entirely changed.