Short thoughts on Doctor Who, disc by disc (originally published June 2012)
The Android Invasion
Tonight’s soundtrack: Vangelis, “I Am The Business”
I don’t know about you, but the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers scares the womping fandoodles out of me. I first saw it at a very young age and its power has not diminished. I know it’s a mutant chicken vs. rotten egg question, but after Body Snatchers, what you call “insomnia”, I call “survival instinct”.
To the threat of “all your friends are not who they seem; no one is on your side” and “your own body is going to crawl out of that pod to murder you”, please add the scene where Sarah Jane’s face FALLS OFF. Basically, this story is just one giant spider singing in a woman’s voice short of the ultimate nightmare fuel for my terror rocket to planet Fear.
Trouble is, of course, that it’s not actually scary. At all. It has the right elements, but it’s like we’ve caught them behind stage, still pulling on their skeleton tights, looking up with panic and guilt. Even Sarah Jane’s FACE/OFF moment isn’t as shocking and disturbing as when they did the same thing with Jean Marsh in The Twilight Zone. Granted, Twilight Zone was made in America, where you can shoot the robot in the face, not just push it gently toward a hillock.
I suppose that’s why I like it, though. It has the shapes I’m afraid of, but with no power behind them. I can shake hands with the monsters, get in close, and have a real good late night/early morning chat about my trust issues.