This excellent remake of the 1956 classic – in fact, arguably one of the greatest remakes of all time – was directed by Phillip Kaufman who updated the original story and relocated the action to 1970s’ San Francisco.
The film begins with a title sequence deep in outer space with seaweed-like, almost ephemeral, flowers and spores riding the solar winds to escape from their dying planet. Unfortunately for us, this extraterrestrial matter arrives on Earth in the rain and strange little pink flowers soon begin to appear.
Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams) idly plucks one from outside and brings it inside her house and the next day her husband Geoffrey (Art Hindle) suddenly seems oddly distant, aloof and strange.
Elizabeth expresses her concerns about Geoffrey to her work colleague at the San Francisco Department of Health, public health inspector Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland), and Bennell slowly starts to think she might be onto something as he has noticed strange behaviour around the city himself.
After witnessing a shocking incident at the health spa run by friends Jack Bellicec (Jeff Goldblum) and his wife Nancy (Veronica Cartwright), Bennell discovers that people are being replaced by obedient and unemotional replicas/duplicates grown from plantlike pods. An alien takeover of Earth has begun.
Lots of chills, Mr Spock and the original movie’s Kevin McCarthy and Don Siegel (director) in cameo roles. The fact that these aliens are spores taking over humans rather than Martians in Tripods somehow makes them even scarier.
Dr David Kibner
Priest on swing