I spend way too much time reading science fiction. “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers” is my favorite of the brain-stealing monster stories.

I first saw the movie when I was 14. I had a tumor on my right tibia. Not malignant, but big and it had to be removed. Even a non-malignant tumor can do considerable damage if it keeps growing and this one was growing like mad.

The movie was surprisingly quiet, a movie that sneaks into your brain

So there I was in Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York. I had a private room. I think most of the rooms were private and it was in that hospital that I very briefly met Eleanor Roosevelt who was not long for the world at that time. It was an elevator meeting, two wheelchairs and a brief “You are the woman I most admire in this world” and a “Thank you, dear.”

I was probably the only kid on the floor and the nurses tended to congregate in my room in the evening. I was watching TV at night. During the day, I read. One night, there was a movie on the tube — “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

I was terrified. I was convinced there was one of those pods under my bed and I made the nurses check there and in all the closets. Those Body Snatchers were sneaky and I wasn’t going to let them turn me into one of those emotionless neo-robots!

And if the movie isn’t enough, I just got the audiobook. Woo hoo!

Although I’ve seen many other science fiction movies — and read thousands of books in the genre — I think that was the single story that scared me the most. Not because of its strange appearance. No tentacles and nothing bug-like, but because it looked like me. Or you. It was the alien clone that removed our humanity.

I think I’m still afraid of that. Maybe that’s the one thing left to fear!

12 thoughts on “SECRET BRAIN STEALERS – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. Hi Marilyn, I’m back from Wales now and trying to catch up amid the issues we’ve got home to. Funny I should read this post today, as last night the TV was on and the old ‘Day of the Triffids’ came on. Like the body snatchers, it’s a scary idea, but the special effects technology was so primitive back then it made us laugh instead. Sometimes I think these things are more scary on the radio and of course reading the books, as your own imagination can do all the work.
    Fascinating to learn you met Eleanor Roosevelt – what an amazing encounter, even if it was fleeting. 🙂


  2. Boy, you live a rich life, interior-wise…. I consider myself lucky that I can’t even watch a scary movie on TV or cinema because I would never sleep again. Already the little I do, I want to rest in peace not terror. After having read about Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by the Scottish author Stevenson (I think), I was terrified for the longst time.
    But I know there is much literature about as is on SciFi which also doesn’t speak to me. I was however, strangely, fascinated by some films such as Benjamin Button or any with Robin Williams (Night at the museum, which I read first as a book and then wanted to buy the film, or Toy). Speaking of Williams, another one I’d put under Fantasy was …. Neverland…. – I would never have watched it if it wasn’t for him in a role. Now I need something lighter to bust my moral 🙂 But tea first….


  3. I didn’t know there was a book, probably written after the film. I remember the remake with Donald Sutherland quite well, although the original film had something special.


    • No. THe book came first.

      It was written by Jack Finney so it was an early sci-fi book, serialized in 1954 and made into a movie in 1956. Published as a book in 1955. Republished in 2014 (Finney was dead by then).

      “Celebrate one of the earliest science fiction novels by rediscovering Jack Finney’s internationally acclaimed Invasion of the Body Snatchers—which Stephen King calls a story “to be read and savored for its own satisfactions,” now repackaged with a foreword by #1 New York Times bestselling author, Dean Koontz.”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember that from a family holiday we had An uncle told us the story of the film he saw about people turning into cucumbers. We all had a good laugh and found no way. It was quite the joke of the holiday, but a couple of years later they showed the film on TV, an old BW film. Since then they did a remake in colour, but I will never forget my uncle and his film story.


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