Sleep No More / Body Snatchers / Pod People

Oct 10, 20:34 by IROSF
Thread for the discussion of [the many makes of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or Daniel M. Kimmel's discussion of the films.

The article is here.
Oct 12, 06:22 by James Pfundstein
Daniel Kimmel wrote (in part):
For many people, the filmís political message is easy to read. Miles is the well-meaning but complacent American not paying attention to the threat of the pods (read: Commies) until it directly affects him. Then he discovers that this alien regime wants to transform America into a regimented society where everyone will think and act alike. Those who deviate will be captured and held until they become pod people too. Itís not an unfair interpretation of the film, and certainly fit the mood of the country at the time.

It does seem to me to be an unfair interpretation of the film. The obvious psychological issue that makes the movie frightening (still) is the terrible pressure a society can put on an individual to conform. That the Soviet Union enforced conformity in a particularly horrible form is not really subject to reasonable dispute, but in the USA (in the 1950s, especially) it was Anticommunism that insisted the citizen conform in word and thought and deed. And 1956 (when the first Invasion of the Body Snatchers was released) was a couple years after McCarthy had imploded on television. The mood of the country was a little different than when McCarthy was at his red-baiting zenith or nadir.

But I have a bigger problem with interpretations like this. It allows the critic (not Daniel Kimmel, but those many who find the film's political message "easy to read") to slander the film however he or she chooses. Insert "Gays" or "Evangelical Christians" or "Atheistic Existentialist Unitarians" in place of "Commies" and the argument flows the same way. Criticism should do more than find a higher ground from which to sneer at the work under discussion. (Again, I'm not associating Daniel Kimmel with this; I'm just saying there's a lot of it going around.)


James M. Pfundstein
Oct 14, 08:20 by Adrian Simmons
There is a book that came out recently called 'The Sociopath Next Door'. Long and short of it: they look like us, they can act like us, but they are not us. They have emotional connection to anyone else. And they tend to occupy their time trying to control others.

I see some strong similarities between some of the survivors' tales in 'Sociopath' and the violation of trust/personality change in the 50s movies. There is also the creepy tendancy for sociopaths to alter the behaviour of the people around them- infecting them, if you will- turning them against each other and forcing them to take sides.

Y'know what somebody should do? A movie where the pod people are beatnik hepcats.. Where they cry when they watch 'It's A Wonderful Life' because Potterville was such a swingin' place.

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