Berlinale: Programme

Film file


Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Die Dämonischen

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When Dr Miles Bennell returns to Santa Mira, California from a lecture tour, he finds some of his patients acting strangely. They do not recognise their own families, maintaining that the relatives are actually complete strangers. A little later, Bennell and his boyhood friend Becky Driscoll find lifeless human bodies at several spots in the small town. When they then discover that those bodies are growing individual features in giant pods from outer space, they understand that the population is being replaced by soulless doppelgangers. Too late, they realise that the pod people already outnumber the real humans. Their only chance for survival is to flee ... Was the film a metaphor for the “communist threat” or a warning about a creeping conformist mentality in the USA? Since it was released during the Cold War, much ink was spent debating that point. This suspenseful B movie became a timeless classic not least of all due to the way it influenced the science-fiction and paranoia thriller genres with its emphasis on the seeming normality of the extraterrestrials – “At first glance everything looked the same. It wasn’t.”

Don Siegel

USA 1956


80 min · Black/White · 35 mm

Rating R16


Kevin McCarthy
Dana Wynter
Larry Gates
King Donovan
Carolyn Jones
Jean Willes
Ralph Dumke
Sam Peckinpah


Don Siegel
Daniel Mainwaring, based on the magazine serial “The Body Snatchers” (1954) by Jack Finney
Director of Photography
Ellsworth Fredericks
Robert S. Eisen
Carmen Dragon
Ralph Butler
Production Design
Edward Haworth
Special Effects
Milt Rice
Emile LaVigne
Walter Wanger

Produced by

Walter Wanger Pictures, Inc.
für/for Allied Artists Pictures Corp., USA

Copy: Théâtre du Temple, Paris