The following is a collection of TV series and films based (directly, indirectly, and/or loosely) on the 1955 book, The Body Snatchers, by Jack Finney.
Pod People (also known as Body Snatchers) is the colloquial term for a species of plantlike aliens featured in the 1955 novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney, the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the 1978 remake of the same name, the 1993 film Body Snatchers, and The Invasion (2007).
Outline (of the Novel)
The Body Snatchers is a 1955 science fiction novel by American writer Jack Finney, originally serialised in Colliers Magazine in 1954, which describes real-life Mill Valley, California (called in the original film by the fictional name of “Santa Mira”) being invaded by seeds that have drifted to Earth from space.
The seeds, grown from plantlike pods, replace sleeping people with perfect physical duplicates with all the same knowledge, memories, scars, etc. but are incapable of human emotion or feeling. The human victims disappear forever.
The duplicates live only five years and cannot sexually reproduce; consequently, if unstopped, they will quickly turn Earth into a dead planet and move on to the next world. One of the duplicate invaders claims this is what humans do – use up resources, wipe out indigenous populations, and destroy ecosystems in the name of survival.
The novel has been adapted for the screen four times; the first film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers in 1956, the second in 1978, the third in 1993, and the fourth in 2007. It was also the basis of the 1998 movie The Faculty.
Unlike the first three film adaptations, which elected for darker, far more dystopian narratives, the novel contains an optimistic ending, with the aliens voluntarily vacating after deciding that they cannot tolerate the type of resistance they see in the main characters.
Other Media with Similar Themes
- The Day of the Triffids (1951), a science fiction novel by English author John Wyndham, involving tall venomous carnivorous plants capable of locomotion and communication.
- The Puppet Masters (1951), a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein in which a trio of American government agents attempts to thwart a covert invasion of Earth by mind-controlling alien parasites.
- A film of the same name was release in 1984.
- It Came from Outer Space (1953), based on a Ray Bradbury’s original story treatment “The Meteor”, which involves an alien invasion wherein humans are duplicated by the aliens.
- “The Father-thing” (December 1954), a short story by Philip K. Dick, appearing in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, uses the ideas of pods duplicating humans and fire being the means of destroying the pods.
- “The Dark Brotherhood”, a short story in the collection The Dark Brotherhood and Other Pieces, written as a collaboration between by H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth sometime before Lovecraft’s death in 1937 but not released until 1966.
- The story deals with extraterrestrial creatures who possess human beings.
- Invasion (1997), a two-part miniseries, has a similar premise.
- Contamination (1980) a science fiction horror film that revisits parts of the novel.
- Invasion of the Pod People (2007), a mockbuster film from The Asylum intended to coincide with the premiere of the 2007 film The Invasion
- The Host (2008), a novel by Stephenie Meyer that depicts a world wherein the human population has already been taken over by parasitic aliens.
- Capgras delusion, a real psychiatric disorder which causes people to believe people are being replaced by identical duplicates.
The Body Snatcher Collection
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978).
- Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers (1992).
- TV Series:
- Invasion (2005-2006).
Production & Filming Details
See individual TV series and films for details.