Tag Archives: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Top Ten Film and TV Reveals

10. The Phantom of the Opera… as seen in Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Even some 90 years later the image of the Phantom as he is first revealed in the classic Lon Chaney silent version is an indelible image that still possesses the power to repulse and shock, so one can only imagine the impact it had in its day.

 

9. Norman Bates… as seen in Psycho (1960)
Oh mother! Another classic that still retains all of its power to this day, even if you know the true identity of the murderer, it is still an impressive reveal, and is one of double proportions if you count Mrs Bates in the rocking chair and that swinging light bulb!

 

8. Doctor Who… as seen in Doctor Who (1963 – Present)
No matter the Doctor, no matter the transformation, the regeneration of one Doctor to the next has always made for must see television. For me the most memorable has to be Tom Baker falling off a giant satellite dish and turning into Peter Davison via some bizarre figure dressed in white (dunno either) to the most emotional, that of David Tennant into Matt Smith. Tennant pretty much was the Doctor so we really felt his emotional exit and the humility he brought to his final moments, moments that had been deftly built over the course of a year of specials and three final episodes. This really was the end of an era as it also spelt the end of show head writer, Russell T Davies, who clearly left no emotional stone unturned.

 

7. An ape on horseback… as seen in Planet of the Apes (1968)
We are as gobsmacked as Chuck Heston and his fellow astronauts when the hunting horns bellow to the crescendo of horse hooves and the sight of apes on horseback with ruddy rifles. It’s the first reveal that Heston and co are on a whole darned planet of them. As shocking and memorable as the final Statue of Liberty shot is, for me, it is this first stark reveal that truly sets the tone for all that follows.

 

6. James Bond… as seen in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Connery had gone, James Bond was dead…but long live James Bond as another actor filled his shoes, namely George Lazenby. I can hardly comprehend on what the mammoth search for Bond must have been like or the anticipation of a new actor filling the role that Sean Connery had made his own. Cleverly, we are teased by the filmmakers who show us glimpses of Bond here and there in his rear view mirror behind the wheel of his beloved Aston Martin DB5 as he drives onto a beach to rescue a damsel in distress from some thugs. Once the villains are dispatched and the woman runs off and drives away in her car. Bond stands up and wryly talking directly to camera, the only time this ever happens, says to the audience as much as to himself: “This never happened to the other fellow!” A text book physical reveal that has rarely, if ever been bettered.

 

5. A Body Snatcher… as seen in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
It’s the final reel of the film and we are just relieved to see that Donald Sutherland, despite his Hair Bear Bunch barnet, is safe and not been nobbled by the pod people, but wait. He stops as Veronica Cartwright approaches, points, eyes roll and mouth opens distinctly inhuman like to let out one of the most chilling sounds and images ever to greet cinema going audiences. ‘They’ had finally caught up with him. The screen freezes and that image of Donald stays with you for ages after you first see it.

 

4. A Chest Burster… as seen in Alien (1979)
We know that John Hurt seriously hurts when he is flung around the Nostromo and that all is not well with his belly, in what is surely one of cinema’s greatest ever entrances as the aptly named chest burster, doing exactly what it says on the tin, and promptly shrieking as it exits Hurt’s body and splattering the white exterior crimson red. Primal stuff.

 

3. The Thing… as seen in The Thing (1982)
In the end the reveal is a massive relief of sorts, as you feel the anguish and paranoia of all the scientists and researchers sat on the chairs strapped to each other. We know the reveal is coming, but like those men on the chairs, we do not know when it is coming or from whom and we certainly aren’t prepared for what follows.

 

2. Doug Quaid… as seen in Total Recall (1990)
One of Arnie’s true classics I am of course talking about Arnie’s disguise as an overweight middle aged woman – thankfully not him in drag in the risible Junior – to get him through security before ‘she’ ends up with a facial tick of sorts only for her head to fall off and Arnie to step out from her as she opens up, with her head exploding as a bomb, as you do, with the immortal line “get ready for a surprise!” prior to detonation.

 

1. Keyzer Soze… as seen in The Usual Suspects (1995)
Who’d have thunk that weedy little Kevin Spacey was the murderous criminal mastermind behind it all. As ‘Verbal Kint’ states: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he never existed.” It’s a bravura performance that doesn’t need prosthetics or a fake accent to pull it off. Spacey dragging his foot one moment, then walking normally the next and then miraculously regaining the use of his withered hand is misdirection of the highest order and never fails to delight. It is unsurprising that Spacey won a best-supporting actor Oscar for his mesmerizingly understated performance.

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The Best Old Skool Cameos

Remakes, reimaginings, reboots, revamps, call them what you will. Hollywood may perennially suffer from ‘sequelitous’ but it also has something of a soft spot for the remake and big screen reboot. Dean Newman checks out the best blink and you’ll miss em moments where the new remake kids on the block feature a nod to their originals.

10. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
It’s a masterful remake but it’s the small things that make this chilling paranoid classic really shine. A case in point is the moment when the star of the original, Kevin McCarthy runs into a car screaming that they are here already and the pure genius here is that this is exactly how the original film ended, with McCarthy running down a busy road screaming those very words.
This might have meant that he had been running for some 22 years but it also meant that in another sense it could be considered as something of a continuation of events  rather than just a straight remake. Genius.

9. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Perhaps my second favourite old skool cameo is from Bill Bixby in The Incredible Hulk who didn’t let a little thing called death stop him turning up for a knowing nod and wink. Bixby is seen on TV in an episode of “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” (1969).
Mr Marvel himself, Stan Lee, who has pretty much done an ‘Alfred Hitchcock’ in every Marvel movie, turned up this reboot as a man who slurps a soft drink contaminated with Bruce Banner’s blood.

8. Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)
A space-set riff on The Magnificent Seven from the pen of John Sayles and produced by one Roger Corman. It’s a film full to the brim of wonderful memories from when I was young and the crisp writing and early score by James Horner gives it some much needed weight. But the glue that holds this ragtag group of mismatched aliens together is surely Robert Vaughn, who of course appeared in the original Magnificent Seven. A complete guilty pleasure with able support from George Peppard, as a cowboy just in case you didn’t get it, John Saxon and John Boy from The Waltons.

7. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)
The pilot may have had DeForest Kelly passing on the Trek baton to the brand new crew in the very first episode but the best nod and wink to the original series was from the original ships transporter system. Its ceiling was now transformed into the floor of the brand new transporter. Recycling, the possibilities are endless.

6. Smallville (2001)
It has an irritatingly catchy theme tune and many may have labelled it Dawson’s Cape, but this series, which is set to take the crown as having the most episodes of any sci-fi show, treats those previous Superman incarnations with supreme reverence. And it’s an impressive roll call.

Christopher Reeve (Dr. Virgil Swann) played Superman in Superman (1978) and its three sequels; Terence Stamp (Jor-El) will forever be General Zod in Superman II (1980); Annette O’Toole (Martha Kent) played Lana Lang in Superman III (1983); Dean Cain (Dr. Curtis Knox) played Clark Kent in “The New Adventures of Superman” (1993); Helen Slater (Lara, Clark’s mother) played Kara/Supergirl in Supergirl (1984). Marc McClure (Dax-Ur) played Jimmy Olsen in Superman (1978), its three sequels, and Supergirl (1984), Margot Kidder (Bridgette Crosby) played Lois Lane in Superman (1978) and its three sequels. Teri Hatcher (Lois’s mother) played Lois Lane in “The New Adventures of Superman” (1993).

 

5. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
Until Russell Crowe went round hiding in bushes last year, Sean Connery was the oldest person to have portrayed the Hooded Man on screen, which he did in1976’s Robin and Marian. With nod, wink and a favour to old The Untouchable co-star Kevin Costner, Connery turned up as an uncredited King Richard at the end of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves giving permission for Costner’s Hood to marry Maid Marian.

4. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
One of the better received remakes of recent years is Dawn of the Dead. For me it lacks the social and satirical bite of the original but a great effort with some memorable imagery. Getting in on the ‘brains’ action again were some of its original stars, including make-up supremo Tom Savini and Ken Forlee, who even gets another chance to give his classic line from the original – “When hell is full the dead will walk the earth”.

3. The Omen (2006)
Harvey Stephens, who portrayed the cute but evil moppet Damien in the original The Omen (1976), appears in this remake as the tabloid reporter (a devilish job if ever there was one) who asks Robert Thorn if the deceased nanny “was on drugs”. Apparently he is a property developer now after being a futures trader in London, almost jobs the devil would be proud of then.

2. Cape Fear (1991)
The classic Bernard Herrmann score made a welcome return, thanks to Elmer Bernstein, in this Martin Scorsese helmed remake and original stars, Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck came along for the ride, as did Martin Balsam. Quality. Their roles this time round are played by Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte and Joe Don Baker respectively.

1.Planet of the Apes (2001)
Clearly written by a group of monkeys with typewriters this good-looking but completely vacuous retread is a major misfire from the mind of Tim Burton. At least original star, Charlton Heston, got to hide his embarrassment behind some admittedly good Ape make-up where he delivered a twist on his classic “get your filthy paws off me you damned dirty ape” to Marky Mark (no doubt in desperate need of a funky bunch of bananas).