Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Favorite Era: The Fly (1986)

David Cronenberg's The Fly is the best in several ways.  It's the best horror remake aside from John Carpenter's The Thing; the best horror movie of 1986 and it's also David Cronenberg's best and most accessible movie.  A stunning revision of the 1958 original, it stars Jeff Goldblum as an eccentric scientist named Seth Brundle who falls fore Veronica (Geena Davis) and involves her in his teleportation experiments.  Naturally, something goes wrong during one test and Seth begins to turn into a horrific fly/human mutation.  That's about all you need to know so let's get to the cool stuff.
  • The film gives an idea of how it's going to be paced by throwing us right into the Seth/Veronica meeting as soon as the opening credits are done.  Goldblum and Davis have great chemistry together.
  • Within the first the minutes we already have the telepods shown off and the relationship between the two leads is built.  Lean, effective storytelling at its finest.
  • As good as the two leads are, John Getz is equally good as Veronica's jealous ex and boss.  He comes off as an obsessive ass but no so much so that we hate him by the time the end of the film comes around.
  • The great thing about this film is how deftly Cronenberg plays with the audience.  For roughly the first thirty five minutes or so, the film is basically a romantic drama with a sweet reporter falling for a brilliant, eccentric scientist.  You know something is going to happen just from knowing about the original but the way it's drawn out almost to the point of silliness is quite cool.  Cronenberg has always been a smart filmmaker who makes smart movies and this is no exception.
  • Of course, this being a David Cronenberg movie, his idea of a romantic drama does have a baboon being turned inside out.
  • I love that Seth makes the fateful trip with the fly out of impulse while pissed off.  It works for the character.
  • Jeff Goldblum has quite the tricky part here as we have to both feel for Seth as his body begins to break down and change but also fear him as his grip on sanity follows suit.  It's very deft piece of acting that he is more than up to the challenge of.
  • One of the things I've always dug about Cronenberg is how he makes smart films in a genre generally thought of as dumb trash.   The ideas in his work are pretty deep and complex, to the point where I honestly wouldn't know where to begin with a discussion.
  • As good as the acting is in the film, the f/x by Chris Walas are even better.  Using a mix of extensive prosthetics and animatronic puppets, he makes you truly believe you are seeing a man gradually, horribly turn into a giant fly.  It's quite the tour de force.
  • The arm wrestling scene is a nicely chilling bit and one that definitely sticks in the mind...especially if, like me, you first saw it when you were nine.  Yeah, I know.
  • Same goes for Seth removing his fingernails.  Ick pretty much covers it, I think.
  • I get a kick out of how even though he's falling apart and clearly losing it, Seth still has Goldblum's usual quirky delivery and mannerisms.,  Hell, even after he's turned completely into a fly there's still a little Jeff in the beast.
 David Cronenberg made one hell of a great movie in The Fly.  It's smart, creepy and at times gross.  Good acting, stellar f/x and great production design and music help to make one of the best horror films of the 80's.  In 1989, Walas directed a sequel that turned out okay if you like gory special effects.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.