By 1956, I had been a horror and science fiction enthusiast for three years and had watched dozens of scary movies. That year my big brother took me to see Invasion of the Body Snatchers, one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made. It starred Kevin McCarthy, a wonderful actor who passed away last month at the ripe old age of 96.
I haven't seen the movie in years and my memory of it is a bit sketchy, but I'm pretty sure it went something like this:
Submitted for your approval: one Becky Driscoll and one
Dr. Miles Bennell…two lovers in the sleepy California town
of Santa Mira.
Becky:: Is this an example of your bedside manner, doctor?
Miles:: No, ma'am. That comes later...right after I beat the pants off of you at Parcheesi.
Little do they know that while they bill and coo, a horrifying chain of events is unfolding in their serene hamlet - one that will change their lives forever!
One by one, the residents of Santa Mira are being taken over by an alien life form. While townspeople innocently sleep, seed pods are developing into human clones!
There have already been reports of family members and friends acting strangely. The mystery deepens when Teddy, a friend of Miles and Becky, makes a startling discovery -
a pod man who is a dead ringer for her husband!
Teddy: Yep, just like Jack...passed out on the pool table same as every other Saturday night!
Jack: It's an exact replica of me, right down to the smallest detail!
Teddy: Not quite, dear. Looks like one of you, I'm not saying WHICH one, listened to me for a change, swallowed his stubborn male pride, and filled that damn Viagra prescription!
Acting on a hunch, a premonition, a funny feeling, a gut instinct, (insert your own trite expression here), Miles drives to Becky's house, sneaks down to her cellar, and makes a horrifying discovery.
A body in a box in Becky’s basement! A body in a box in Becky’s basement! A body in a box in Becky’s basement! Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers! She sells sea shells down by the sea shore! There once was a man from Nantucket...
But it wasn't an ordinary body. It was a fully matured seed pod bearing an uncanny resemblence to Becky...butterfly tat and all!
Becky waxes philosophical when she learns that a body double is waiting to take her place.
I don't want to live in a world without love or grief or beauty. I'd rather die.
Miles: That's crazy talk! Don't worry, I'm sure there will always be plenty of grief to go around.
Miles, Becky, Jack and Teddy hear strange gurgling sounds coming from outside in the greenhouse. Acting on a hunch, a premonition, a funny feeling, a gut instinct, they investigate.
Jack: What the devil? More pods! Miles, where do they come from? You're a doctor. Please tell us. What are we dealing with? What are we up against?
Miles: See the one over there that looks just like me? I’m sure you’ve heard of iPod, Jack. Well, that’s MY-Pod! MY-Pod, get it? Hee hee hee hee hee! Sorry about that, chief!
Stick a fork in it, Mini-Me, you’re done!
Miles and Becky race across town hoping to get help at nurse Sally's. Acting on a hunch, a premonition, a funny feeling, a gut instinct, Miles decides to play it safe by peeking in the window before ringing the doorbell. To his astonishment and dismay, Miles finds….
Stanley Driscoll: Is the baby asleep yet, Sally?
Nurse Sally Withers: No, but she will be soon. And there'll be no more tears.
Stanley Driscoll: Shall I put this in her room?
Nurse Sally Withers: Yes, in her playpen.
Miles: Oh, no! Just as I suspected. They've turned this place into Poddy Central! PODDY Central, get it? Hee hee hee!
Acting on a hunch, a premonition, a funny feeling, a gut instinct, Miles pops the trunk of his car and discovers that
a seed pod has been planted inside.
C’mon light! Cheech & Chong never have this much trouble.
Miles takes Becky downtown to his office, where they hide out, hoping to find signs that pockets of human life still exist in Santa Mira.
The whole town’s gathering in the square.
Trucks are coming in from every direction.
Sarah Palin should be arriving any minute now.
When they hear voices in the hall and footsteps aproaching, Miles and Becky dash into in a closet.
Miles: As soon as they leave we’re getting out of here. If we can make the aliens believe that we already crossed over and joined them, we might be able to get out of town and call in help from the outside.
When we go down to the street, remember to walk like a robot, keep your eyes straight ahead, speak in a monotone, and whatever you do, don’t show any emotion.
Becky: That's a perfect description of your acting performance through the first two reels.
Miles: Good one! So funny I forgot to laugh!
Will Miles and Becky manage to elude the evil alien horde?
Will Jack take Teddy's advice and consult Doc Johnson?
Will I ever get back on topic and talk about the Shady Dell?
Stay tuned for Part 2 and have a Shady day!
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