Release date: August 15, 1986
Director: David Cronenberg
Leslie Carlson and
Jeff Goldblum does a good job in making the 1986 remake of the 1958 chiller The Fly a definite horror film classic. In terms of ‘80s horror, on the list with The Thing, The Fly may rank as one of the top sci-fi/horror films of the decade.
David Cronenberg’s doesn’t make the same mistakes as the 1958 film. His update creates characters, people the audience can instantly care about and even relate to. The rapid set-up details a budding romance between Geena Davis and Goldblum that carries the narrative through to the surprisingly emotional ending.
The original 1958 film, and the short story it was based on, are still a part of this remake. The central theme of the movie still revolves around a scientist dealing with transportation, and when an experiment on himself that goes horribly wrong, he slowly becomes the title creature (The Fly).
This transformative horror is at the center of David Cronenberg's The Fly. Jeff Goldblum plays Seth Brundle, a socially inept but very brilliant scientist who has created a teleporter in his private lab. The only problem he has with it is that the teleporter only works with inanimate objects; try to put a monkey through the machine and you get inside-out baboon slurry(nasty). But when journalist Veronica (Geena Davis) helps to open Brundle's eyes to the mysteries of the flesh, he realizes that he has to define flesh his invention. This is one of Cronenberg favorite topics; throughout his filmography he regularly refers back to the flesh and machine themes and how they interact with each other (and even threaten to become one).
The horror begins after Brundle goes through the teleportation invention without realizing there is a stowaway fly with him in the machine. At first, he feels great and attributes this to simply going through the machine. He has gained incredible strength and stamina and even does an extreme gymnastics routine in his living room. But the transformation does not stop; it starts with stray hairs, and then crazy looking skin, and then things end up getting even worse. Seth Brundle turns into Brundlefly, who is kind of like spiderman, only if you can imagine Peter Parker actually turning into a spider-man and completely lossing touch with his humanity.
Brundlefly is pretty nasty looking, as are all his stages of transformation. Watching him fall apart (and seem to like it, for the most part) is quite disturbing. The end gets crazy when Brundlefly manages to transform his invention into a gene splicer, and he thinks he can retain some humanity by going through with his love interest Veronica (who just happens to be pregnant with his possible fly-baby), hence adding more human DNA to his human-fly DNA. But this too goes horribly wrong and poor fully formed Brundlefly ends up getting his genes spliced with inanimate pieces of machinery. The ending creature is probably one of the craziest, weirdest, grossest, most disturbing looking creations in movie history.
The tone of the film is of course very dark, especially as the story works toward its twisted ending. The movie score by Howard Shore goes a long way in pointing out the horror and tragedy of what happens on screen, and gives the film a very operatic feeling. So it makes perfect sense that this movie has actually been turned into an opera. The themes are even very relevant today, as Brundle loses his humanity through careless use of crazy technology. These days technological advances are becoming so much more advanced and invasive that they are changing us from the inside out, whether we know it or not, because they change the way we interact with each other and change the way we think about each other. Cronenberg had already explored these types of ideas before The Fly with Videodrome (also in the list of top 50 horror movies and definetely recommeded for those who have not already seen it), and would continue to question this part of society with eXistenZ. But this movie is the most profound out of them all, shoving the problems right into your face and offering zero solutions to them. Now that's a horror film.
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