Body Snatchers (Abel Ferrara, 1993)
A new twist on castration anxiety! Theoretically, the roots of castration anxiety lie in the male child’s perception of his mother’s (or any girl’s) lack of a penis as indicative of castration. Here, it is not just the woman’s lack of a penis that is shocking to the child but the fact that she is not really his mother: her body has been taken over by one of the body snatching pods. Whereas everyone else seems to get fooled by these impostors (who copy a human being’s form with absolute precision but whose behavior is notably muted and “hollow”), the boy recognizes instantly that although this appears to be his mother, this is actually not his mother at all. Even worse than castration anxiety, then: the recognition that the body snatchers could get you too, that your form is absolutely replaceable.