HMM Day 18 – Body Snatchers

I am absolutely terrified of theater people. Yes I know, it is hard to believe but theater people, mainly live action theater, absolutely terrify me. Especially musical theater! Anything where you are watching live performers dialogue in song… is enough to make me agitated beyond all measure. Now if you’re someone that is in theater and does act on stage, I just want to say this to you. I am very sorry I feel this way to you and others in your profession. I am sure you’re a good person… but your profession freaks me the fuck out.

So when I have the unfortunate luck to see a live theatrical performance of any kind, especially one that is a musical. It will place me in a state of pure discomfort and fear. It’s not the kind of fear where I run for the hills or cry uncontrollably while I piss my pants. But one that makes me sweat and stand on edge. Something about theater people scare me and I’ve never told anyone about it before. It must be something in their demeanor when on stage. Why do their faces look so intense, very exaggerated and basically real fake? I actually get this way with those professional Disney characters and all things Disney in general. Not the large animal suit ones like Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck although they are fucked up in their own right. But the human ones like Alice, Cinderella or Snow White. They are creepy ass people. I can go up to Chewbacca and give him a hug, but if I see that red headed Peter Pan in those green tights talking about taking people to Neverland! Then I am on the verge of scratching my eyes out.

This has always been a problem for me and to be honest, it’s not that terrible a thing. I hate live musical theater anyways, so if not having to watch Hamilton or Grease because of a phobia then boredom and hatred will certainly keep me away. But I have finally figured out why I feel this way and perhaps a few of you as well. It’s called the “uncanny valley” and its a psychological term coined by a guy named Mushroom Moriarty* who was a robotics professor. His theory suggests that robots and other depictions of humans can cause us a sense of revulsion as something attempts to be “more human.”

This would explain why more human artificial intelligence or certain CGI movies make you want to grab a torch and pitchfork. What you’re seeing is something on the brink of being human and it makes you very uncomfortable. It’s why Pixar movies now keep a certain cartoonish style to their characters. Think about those realistic CGI films like Beowulf, Monster House, Arthur Christmas, Final Fantasy and The Polar Express. They all have this weird look to them because they are mimicking humans at such a high level that your brain is confused. You think what you’re seeing should be cool, but deep down you want to take an axe to those annoying characters.

So this is why I think theater people freak me out. Sure they’re human… I’m sure of it. But on that stage, they are being so fake that my brain receives this and knows it’s terrible. The emotions are all completely exaggerated, with their stupid looking acting faces and outfits. It all scares me to the point where I itch and tap my leg like I was on crack. I wish I was on crack, then maybe I could watch a musical theater.

The worst was that live play of Hamilton on Disney Plus! My daughter put it on one time in our house. A bunch of over dramatic ass hats rapping while wearing revolutionary tights. Now, can I just ask something? I don’t like rap music but does anyone remember when rappers were the toughest people? They were straight up gangsters and you wouldn’t ever pick a fight with them. But now we have dudes in tights… rapping about passing legislation. Yea, I would rather drive nails up my dick hole.

But it makes sense, you as a person can tell when you’re being fooled. There’s a deep feeling in your body that sets you on edge. Like the air around you is warped and harder to breath. Don’t feel bad, you should listen to it. It’s your subconscious telling you that this “person” you’re seeing is not the real thing. This is a secret survival strategy that helps protect you from a fake doppelgängers but more importantly your brain telling you that theater people are truly fucking scary. This is why I love the movie Body Snatchers from 1993.

Body Snatchers is a 1993 horror film directed by Abel Ferrara and is a more modern remake of the 1956 Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. It stars Gabrielle Anwar, Billy Wirth, Terry Kinney, Meg Tilly, Christine Elise and Forest Whitaker before his weird eye. The film received mostly mixed reviews and kind of fell into the more obscure realms of 90’s horror films.

The Story

As an EPA worker named Steve Malone moves his family to a military base to research ecological effects in the area, his daughter Marti soon starts noticing people are acting strangely. They soon discover that mankind is being overrun and replaced with plantlike alien lifeforms! The invasion is on and there’s no telling who is human and who isn’t.

Although I love the original 1956 Invasion of The Body Snatchers and the 1978 remake, I always loved this 1993 film much more. Plus I really wanted to have another horror film from the 90’s in my marathon and this is one that goes by the wayside. I’ve actually talked to many people and they didn’t even know this movie even existed. But it truly is a testament to the theme of the Body Snatchers in general that this movie can keep being remade and still be good. It is because the idea of a plant based alien invasion that does so by replicating it’s victims is pretty hard hitting.

The Others

If there was one constant fear that humanity will always have then it will be fear of “others.” Since horror is constantly playing on our fears then it makes sense that a film such as Body Snatchers is one that spans all generations. The “others” is the idea that we’re afraid of a group of people and that this group of people is a threat to our society. The illegal aliens crossing the borders, the different religions, the people that vote differently and even the people that listen to different music. They are all the others and at all times, we are in constant fear of these ‘others.’ So to make a movie about invading aliens that want to mimic us and secretly take over our entire way of life! That is brilliant and yet sadly a true reflection on society.

Body Snatchers is exactly that. What we have in this movie is an invasion of an unknown alien. It slowly makes its way into our ways of life and takes over. You don’t know who the aliens are because they look just like people. Your loved ones can even be one of them! So 1993’s Body Snatchers takes this concept and delivers it in a much more intriguing way. While the older films placed the settings of these films from an urban or citizen point of view. This film does it from the point of view on a military base. Which is much more scarier because the military is already a place where people follow orders and tend to resemble a “hivemind” system much like the body snatchers. How can you tell who is human and who isn’t when everyone on the base is following strict guidelines and very little emotion? Everyone acts the same damn way so the military is the perfect place for a body snatchers invasion to begin. Also, the military is our only line of defense, if an invading alien force were to control that then what fight do we even have against that?

Body Snatchers is one of those lost 90s horror films that deserves more credit. It’s much scarier than the other films and it still translates to a modern setting. The effects are much better and I love how the alien plant pods seem to seek their victims. We have one scene where Marti is sleeping in her bathtub and one of the snatcher pods is up in the ceiling right above her. It sends its vines down through the panels as Marti nods off. It’s very reminiscent of A Nightmare On Elm Street and a bathing Nancy. Instead of a gloved Freddy hand, we have creepy vines from the pod slowly coming up through the suds. This all escalates into one badass scene where we get a pretty cool shot of the doppelgänger Marti being created in the vegetable uterus. But shit comes crashing down (literally) and Marti makes a break for it. Busting open the entire invasion.

Where the horror of Body Snatchers lies isn’t in the gore or the violence, although there is some of that in this film. The horror resides in the creepy factor. The aliens are emotionless and aren’t necessarily violent like the Xenomorph or The Thing. No, it is much more devious. At least with a monster alien, you know whats coming. You can identify the attempt which makes you prepared in your defense. But these body snatchers, they take over your body while you slumber and it’s odd and disturbing. It’s like knowing you have bugs crawl all over while you sleep. You can’t do anything about it! But the pod people lack emotion thus giving Marti and her companions the only way of knowing who is human and who isn’t. Which is perfect for a teenage girl because if they know one thing, then it would be emotions.

It goes back to my point about the uncanny valley. They look human but something inside you is saying it’s all fake and threatening. My gosh! Maybe theater people are actually body snatchers! That’s why the look so damn stupid on that stage. You see, pod people don’t know how to act human because they don’t feel emotion. But they can translate it. So pod people become actors on Broadway and are acting creepy because it is their interpretation of human emotion. That is why you see all the cheese on stage! That is why my brain is making me want to hurl when I see a group of douchebags stand and singing as if they are conquering a mighty foe. MY GOSH! We must do something about this. It’s only a matter of time before the theater people take over and kill us all. Then we’ll all be mindless drones on a stage rapping about Alexander Hamilton! Holy shit! My daughter keeps telling me about her awesome theater class she’s taking. She loves these musicals and sings all the damn time. Which means.. which means… she’s already one of them! Oh the tragedy! My poor daughter is gone and in her place is a soulless shell of a girl! I knew it was suspicious. She was acting so strange lately. She never smiles when I make a terrible joke. But she loves musicals like that bull shit The Greatest Showman and Grease! The invasion is on people! Be wary or you will turn out just like my theater loving daughter! As for me, I won’t give in I will do what Marti does and fight these pod people with all my might. Thank God for 1993’s Body Snatchers! Without this movie, I never would have made the connection on day eighteen of my Horror Movie Marathon.


Thanks for reading my post. Go ahead and check out other day eighteen movies from past marathons.

If you’re new to this marathon then catch up with past posts!

*That’s actually not his name, its really Masahiro Mori.

All things horror movie related!

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