In the film, ‘The Invasion of the Body Snatchers’, instead of communists, it is ‘pod people from outer space’ who have been replacing ordinary people. These ‘pod people’ are indistinguishable from normal Americans, except from their behaviour. They display the cold, unemotional demeanour that Americans imagined citizens of Soviet Russia to have (Marvin and Ingle 1999, p. 107).
The film also represents their fears that the modern society and the rising technology were causing the citizens of the United States itself to lose their individuality and become automatons and cogs in the corporate machinery. People were driving and travelling on the same sort of vehicles, working the same sort of jobs (‘paper pushing’) and eating the same sort of food (‘fast food’). They were exposed to the same sorts of news, views and ideas through the television and the movies. In other words both capitalism and communism lead people to abandon all individuality and confirm to one standard and live drab and boring lives devoid of all passion and suppressing their emotions (Booker 2006, p. 65).
In this familiar story of conspiratorial and gradual takeover of the country by a foreign power, the mechanism through which the takeover happens is thrown into sharp relief. The pods drift through space, looking for worlds suitable for colonisation, once they find a likely one, a blank individual on whom the features of a member of the target species is stamped, comes out of the pod. That individual is then disposed of and the pod person proceeds to take their place. This is the greatest source of horror in this film, a person seeing the film wonders whether their co-workers are all ‘pod people’ Are they themselves in danger of becoming or being replaced by ‘pod people’?
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