Director: Philip Kaufman
Screenwriter: W.D. Richter
Do you root for the bad guy? If so, Philip Kaufman's excellent adaptation of author Jack Finney's novel The Body Snatchershas the perfect ending.
Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) spends the film doing his best to not become one of the pod people. All around him, friends and neighbors are falling asleep human and waking up alien, having been cloned by intergalactic, gelatinous villains that let the evil clones live and leave the original persons to die in the pods. In the end, Matthew's lover, Elizabeth (Brooke Adams) can't stay awake any longer, submitting to fatigue and, sadly, switching over to Team Pod. Rather than join her in that inhuman state, Matthew destroys the facility where the pods are grown.
Victory isn't his, though. Elizabeth's clone spots Matthew out in public and sends her fellow E.T. goons after him. Fast forward to the next morning, when Matthew's casually strolling around the city, seeming normal. His friend, Nancy (Veronica Cartwright), on the run from the pod people, sees him and, ecstatically, calls his name. Unfortunately, Matthew's now a pod product, evidenced by the shrieking, ear-slicing scream he lets out as he points toward Nancy. She wails in defeat, the terror on her face unmistakable. Victory is the pods'. —MB