Film Studies

Cinema Classics Seminar:
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Scary Monsters
Wednesday, October 30, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm  
Instructor: David Greenberg, University of the Arts

With no less than four remakes and, reportedly, another one on the way, the enduring appeal of director Don Siegel’s 1956 masterpiece, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, is easy to identify at first glance. Sure, it’s a really scary movie, but it is also one that lends itself to surprisingly complex readings. Though widely interpreted as a Cold War allegory, the film can also be seen as having roots in something much deeper and more universal than the Red Scare.

Mystery novelist Jim Thompson once said, “There are thirty-two ways to write a story, and I’ve used every one, but there is only one plot—things are not as they seem”—an especially apt principle when considering Invasion of the Body Snatchers. After all, its seemingly bland premise has all of the characters reporting that their loved ones suddenly do not seem to be themselves. Yet, by employing elements of horror, science-fiction, and even film noir, the movie expertly and insidiously taps into some of our darkest, most primal fears.

Something happens to a film once it leaves the filmmakers’ hands and then is “consumed” by the public and interpreted by critics, and this film is a particularly interesting case. Invasion, which set the stage for future paranoid thrillers from The Manchurian Candidate to The Conversation, is a rich source for an insightful discussion, but you might leave this seminar looking over your shoulder.

Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? That’s easy! Just come to the box office or buy a ticket online here.

Course Information

Location: Multimedia Room

$25 for members, $35 for non-members

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  • Wednesday, October 30 · 6:30 pm