The body eaters are coming (film)

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German title The body eaters are coming
Original title Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1978
length 111 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Philip Kaufman
script WD judge
production Robert H. Solo
music Denny Zeitlin
camera Michael Chapman
cut Douglas Stewart

The Body Eaters are Coming is an American science fiction film directed by Philip Kaufman in 1978 . The film is a remake of Don Siegel's The Demonic from 1956 . Both are based on the novel The Body Eaters by Jack Finney .

As in the previous film, alien invaders replace people with outwardly identical but callous doppelgangers. A San Francisco health department employee tracks down the invasion and tries to stop it.


Dr. Bennell works as the San Francisco Health Department inspector. His colleague Elizabeth tells him that her friend Geoffrey has changed. At a reading by Dr. Kibner, a psychiatrist and author of popular science books, meets a woman who has also noticed a change in her husband. Then Bennell's friends Nancy and Jack Bellicec discover a human body, a seemingly perfect copy of Jack. An alien microorganism usurps humans while they sleep with the help of duplicates growing in large pods. The duplicate is outwardly indistinguishable from the original body, which then disintegrates into dust, but it lacks any human impulse and emotion. Bennell, Elizabeth, Nancy and Jack find that the "exchange" of people around them is progressing rapidly. At first they manage to escape, but in the end only Nancy remained human. She is betrayed by Bennell, who has now also been replaced.


Apart from the changed setting (San Francisco instead of a small Californian town) and the pessimistic ending (Bennell himself has been "replaced" and is now helping to expose the remaining "real" people), Kaufman's remake contains many parallels to Siegel's Die Demonischen :

  • A close friend of Bennell's Elizabeth (in The Demonic : Becky) Driscoll is one of the first to report a case of a changed human being in her immediate vicinity.
  • A psychiatrist from Bennell's circle of acquaintances (Dr. Kaufman in Die Demonischen, Dr. Kibner in Die Körperfresser Come ) dismisses the reports of exchanged relatives and partners as hysteria.
  • The first human duplicate that Bennell sees is a copy of his friend Jack Bellicec (Belicec in The Demonic ).
  • Telephone companies and state authorities have already been infiltrated, preventing both escape and large-scale warnings about the doppelgangers.
  • Bennell and Becky / Elizabeth hide at his workplace, where they are met by Dr. Kaufman / Dr. Kibner and Jack Bellicec, who extol the virtues of their new, emotionless identity.
  • Bennell temporarily leaves his mate alone to see the mass breeding or loading of the pods up close; when he returns, his partner has been changed.

While the previous film omitted what happens to the original human bodies after the duplication, the remake clarifies this point: the bodies crumble into dust and are disposed of by the garbage disposal. Also new is the inhuman signal call with which the "exchanged" draw attention to a "real" person they have discovered. The film version from 1993 took up both ideas again.

Kevin McCarthy , who starred in The Demonic , appears briefly in a scene in which he warns Bennell of the looming danger. Don Siegel, the director of the original, can be seen in one scene as a taxi driver. Robert Duvall makes a brief appearance without dialogue, as do director Philip Kaufman and cameraman Michael Chapman himself.

Further film adaptations of the book followed in 1993 with Body Snatchers by Abel Ferrara and in 2007 with Invasion by Oliver Hirschbiegel .


  • USA: December 20, 1978
  • Germany: January 26, 1979


The majority of the critics' judgment on The Body Eaters are positive. The critics who praised the film in the USA included a. Pauline Kael , while Richard Schickel and Roger Ebert made negative comments. Leonard Maltin described the film as exciting, but complained about too many twists and turns.

Phil Hardy's Aurum Film Encyclopedia - Science Fiction considered Kaufman's direction, which relied too much on shocks, to be unsafe.

The lexicon of the international film summed up: "Because the staging is geared towards external effects, the deeper dimension of the horror story is not grasped."


  • Director Philip Kaufman received the Saturn Award for Best Director in 1979 . The film received a second Saturn Award in the Best Sound category . He also received nominations in six other categories, including Best Actor (Donald Sutherland).
  • Kaufman received another award at the Festival of Fantastic Films in Avoriaz .
  • The Body Eater Come was nominated for the Hugo Award , but was defeated by Richard Donner's Superman .


  • Jack Finney: Die Körperfresserommen (Original title Invasion of the Body Snatchers ), Goldmann, Munich 1979, ISBN 3-442-23324-0 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Louis Menand: Finding It at the Movies. in: The New York Review of Books. March 23, 1995.
  2. ^ Time Magazine , Time Inc., December 25, 1978.
  3. ^ Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2010. Andrews McMeel Publishing, New Jersey 2009.
  4. ^ Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide , Signet / New American Library, New York 2007.
  5. ^ Phil Hardy (Ed.), The Aurum Film Encyclopedia - Science Fiction. Aurum Press, London 1991.
  6. The body eaters are coming. in the Lexicon of International Films .