Strange Invaders Will Take You Over
Not feeling yourself today? Has something come over you? Movies have covered that territory thoroughly over the generations. At a time when nonconformity was questioned through the prism of communist infiltration into our culture, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) gave us mild-mannered pod-people replicas from another world who absorbed our consciousness while we slept. The 1978 remake took a “flower power” cue from its time as neurotically troubled humans could be usurped by peaceniks freed from urban angst. In 1983’s Body Snatchers, military regimentation provided the perfect disguise for a takeover; what better culture through which to launch a species makeover than the rigid discipline of uniformed, weaponized guardians following orders? In a fourth take on Jack Finney’s inexhaustible 1955 novel, now for the disease-anxious new millennium, The Invasion (2007) cast our dehumanizing visitation from space as an infectious virus. The Matrix Trilogy (1999-2003) made us pawns of intelligent machines who plunged us into an artificial world. The Hidden (1987) and The Puppet Masters (1994) offered squishy, tentacled creatures who penetrated our bodies. It’s all too much! Can’t we just get back to an ordinary small-town life in a simpler time – say Centerville, Illinois, in 1958 – where life is quiet, the town seems frozen in that era and the inhabitants may be a bit odd but look just like us? Strange Invaders (1983) inhabits you in a fiendishly fun, somewhat low-key but unfailingly affectionate fashion, paying homage to all the great sci-fi tales about the eternal alien-vs.-human conundrum. Directed and co-written by Illinois native Michael Laughlin (Strange Behavior) and co-written by the since-prolific Bill Condon (an Oscar® winner for writing Gods and Monsters who went on to Kinsey, two Twilight Sagas, Mr. Holmes and the now-filming Beauty and the Beast), it’s a marvelously hip, fast-moving creeper-outer that hits all the notes of paranoia and parody with gusto. Laughlin and Condon even share some delightful moviemaking secrets on a highly entertaining audio commentary for Strange Invaders, landing on hi-def Blu-ray from TT on October 13; pre-orders open this Wednesday, September 30. It’ll take you out of yourself.