There are a lot of great alien invasion movies, but few match the paranoia of Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Based on Jack Finney's novel, this adaptation was released in 1978, but I didn't see it until 1980 or 1981, when I caught it on a cable channel at a friend's house. And it was one of the most terrifying things I'd ever seen. It wasn't just the idea that an alien might replace you with an exact duplicate, but that Leonard Nimoy could play a psychiatrist who encourages to get in touch with their feeling--someone completely against the character of Spock on Star Trek. The movie's San Francisco setting and Kaufman's odd camera angles added to the movie's unease. The actors include Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Veronica Cartwright, and Jeff Goldblum, and all are outstanding.
There are two other film versions I can recommend: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956, d. Don Siegel) and Body Snatchers (1993, d. Abel Ferrera). (I know a 2007 adaptation exists, but I have no desire to see it.) However, the 1978 version was the one I saw first, and for me remains the most effective.
Which version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers do you prefer? Have you read the novel, and if so, what did you think? Do you have a favorite alien invasion movie? Let me know in the comments.
Derek Austin Johnson has lived most of his life in the Lone Star State. His work has appeared in The Horror Zine, Rayguns Over Texas!, Horror U.S.A.: Texas, Campfire Macabre, The Dread Machine, and Generation X-ed.
He lives in Central Texas.