Invasion of the Body Snatchers is no more

Within the space of a week, classic sci-fi and B movie fans lost Yvette Vickers, who starred in Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman, and Dana Wynter, who starred in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is still considered one of the best sci-fi films of all time, and a chilling analogy to McCarthyism.

Director Don Siegel always said he wanted to just make an entertaining movie, but like the Twilight Zone, the sci-fi genre proved a great Trojan horse to bring important messages through.

In the LA Times, Dana Wynter was quoted as saying, “It was just supposed to be a plain, thrilling kind of picture. We realized that we were making an anti-ism picture. Anti-ism – fascism, communism, all that kind of thing. We took it for granted that’s what we were making but it wasn’t spoken about openly on the set or anything like that.”

I can’t recall much deeper subtext the last time I watched Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman, which like Plan 9 From Outer Space, is a title that’s become synonymous of movies so bad they’re great fun to watch.

It was obviously inspired by The Incredible Shrinking Man, which famed B movie producer Larry Woolner (who also put out the Dolemite movies in ’70’s) wished he had made, and his wife Betty told him why not do the opposite and make it a giant woman instead.

The poster for Fifty Foot Woman, with its classic art of her straddling the freeway and reaching for cars like King Kong, is now also in modern art museums, and like many B movies, the posters really sold the movie, certainly far more than the movie itself could.

If you can watch both movies in their memories, they make a great combination of the serious and the silly of 1950’s sci fi.