A 'Host' of bodies


Saoirse Ronan stars in the new film "The Host." (Courtesy photo)

Published: Friday, March 29, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 8:12 a.m.

‘Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer has written about more than glittery vampires. There's also a story about glittering, silvery space aliens who quietly conquer Earth.

Lost in the hubbub during the “Twilight” saga is “The Host.” Released in 2008, this is an adult-oriented tale set in a not-too-distant future after an alien invasion that no one knew even happened until it was mostly over. A film based on the book opens in movie theaters today.

The invaders are called “souls,” and they're a mere handful of silvery goo implanted into the necks of humans. From there, the soul sends out fibers to take control of every function and thought. The result is the soul becomes the body; some even take their host's name and life.

They have come to bring peace, civility and harmonious life to our wreckless civilization, as they have to a handful of other worlds.

“This is my body,” declared Wanderer, whose story this is, after she is inserted into a human host — a host not so willing to abandon her own consciousness or surrender her memories. For most snatched humans, their consciousness dies as the soul takes over.

But not all humans succumb so easily; Melanie Stryder, Wanderer's host. She blocks Wanderer's attempts to search her memories for other humans. They manage an uneasy peace, and together seek a hidden band of humans who've evaded the invaders — and may be the last pure humans on Earth.

Eventually Wanderer, later renamed Wanda, learns something about the nature of her own race as well as that of the humans.

At the Los Angeles premiere last week, Meyer indicated there's a world after “The Host.” To USA Today, she said she now plans to “lock myself in my office to finish the sequel.”

Described as “science fiction for people who don't like science fiction,” this film now joins a limited group of alien invasion movies (and one TV show) that, for lack of better term, might best be described as “body snatched.” They could be ANYBODY around you.

Most of the other films are:

"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1956): This is probably the most recognizable film of this genre. A California doctor discovers aliens are replicating people and taking over their identities. A 1978 remake features Donald Sutherland in a memorably chilling take on the doctor.

"The Brain Eaters" (1958): Parasites from Earth's center infiltrate Riverdale, Ill., taking over control of the people and communications with the outside world.

"Alien" (1979): Actually only one human — John Hurt — is taken over, and then only as an early incubator for a horrific creature. When the creature finally appears, it's enough to ruin breakfast and the day for everybody on the deep-space mining ship Nostromo.

"The Thing" (1982): Members of a scientific research outpost in Antarctica find themselves battling a parasitic alien organism capable of perfectly imitating its victims. The John Carpenter film starring Kurt Russell terrified audiences.

"Cocoon" (1985): There's nothing sinister about these light beings wearing human-like skins. They've come to St. Petersburg to retrieve members of an exploring party left behind long ago.

"Night of the Creeps" (1986): An alien experiment crashed to Earth in 1959, infecting a fraternity member. They froze the body. Years later, two geeks pledging the fraternity accidentally thaw the corpse, which infects the campus with parasites that transform their hosts into zombies.

"They Live" (1988): A construction worker discovers special sunglasses that allow him to see the “real” world. To the general public, things are normal, but the sunglasses reveal some people in their true form — disgusting aliens.

"Dark Breed" (1996): A top secret agency must kill or capture the crew of a secret space mission who returned to Earth against orders. It seems they were all infected with an alien parasite, and were trying to bring its eggs.

"Men in Black" (1997): Aliens from many worlds live on Earth disguised as humans; the men in black keep tabs on them. But not all of the aliens are peaceful.

"Invasion" (1997): Television movie. Rocks fall from the sky, which, when touched, trigger a latent virus that has always existed in humans, and begins mutating them into an alien species. The aliens are dedicated to transforming every human on Earth and do so with alarming swiftness.

"Lost in Space" (1998): Thrown off course by a malfunctioning robot, the Robinson family encounters deadly space spiders on an abandoned ship. One scratches Dr. Smith, turning him into a spider-human hybrid.

"The Faculty" (1998): Students at a Herrington High in Ohio suspect their teachers are not of this world. And they might be right in this “Breakfast Club” meets “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” sci-fi mystery.

"Invasion" (2005): Television series. A Florida town deals with residents who become different following a devastating hurricane.

"Slither" (2006): A meteor falls on a wooded area bearing the egg of alien worm. A local man, of course, touches the egg, releasing an alien parasite that dominates his brain. While his hostage body is transforms, he builds a nest of slugs in his cellar; the slugs begin infecting the townspeople and turning them in a new breed of starving zombies.

"Darkening Sky" (2010): A skeptical grad student studying the “modern mythology” of alien abduction finds himself confronting a reality involving shape-shifting extraterrestrials, implanted objects, organ harvesting and humans possessed by a malevolent alien presence.

Source and descriptions: imdb.com.

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