Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

1h 20m / Not Rated / Sci-Fi, Horror

Small-town California doctor Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy… not that one) has discovered that extraterrestrial seed pods are replacing the townspeople with emotionless clones while they sleep. As the invasion spreads, Dr. Bennell and his friends must fight to survive and warn others before they too are replaced.

The film’s eerie atmosphere, suspenseful pacing, and underlying themes of paranoia and conformity struck a chord with audiences during the Cold War era. Against the backdrop of McCarthyism and the Red Scare, Body Snatchers provided a chilling allegory for the fear of communist infiltration and loss of individuality.

Now, revered as a quintessential example of 1950s horror cinema, the film’s innovative premise and psychological tension have cemented its status as a cult classic. It has spawned (pun intended) several remakes, and its influence can be seen in countless subsequent works of horror and science fiction as the themes of infiltration and societal distrust have remained unfortunately relevant across the generations.

Guests are invited to stick around after the screening for a post-show Film Talk and audience Q&A with Ryan Terry, a Film Studies & Screenwriting lecturer at the University of Tampa and horror/suspense cinema scholar.

The Summer Classics Movie Series has been presented by Bank of America since 2015. Promotional support for the series is provided by WEDU PBS.