Thursday, December 29, 2011
FLY, THE (1986)
(August 1986, U.S.)
In the history of cinema that has too often meant remakes, remakes, remakes, I don't think I can name more than TEN remakes I would consider superior to the original. Some of these titles would include BEN-HUR (1959), INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978), THE THING (1982), CAPE FEAR (1991) and, of course, David Cronenberg's horrifying version of THE FLY. I should also point out that I've seen my fair share of terrifying shockers in my time and I'm proud to say I was able to keep my eyes open with dark delight the entire time. THE FLY is one of the few (if not the only) film that is so freakishly and horrifyingly gross that I when I watch it, I find myself uttering things like, "Holy shit!" and "Oh, my God!" Yeah, people, it's just that...uugghh!
But let's all try to remember that while we're being grossed out beyond our imagination, we're being sucking into the process of watching a man change. Change is key here, because unlike the 1958 version that simply put a fly's head on a man's body, we witness the transformation of Seth Brundle (played by Jeff Goldblum, a man who plays a scientist better than anyone I know!) after having unknowingly gone through his own teleport pod with a common housefly inside with him. At first, the change seems glorious as he's developed almost super human strength, a real zest for life, an ongoing need for sex, and an insatiable lust for a lot of extra sugar in his diet. When the change turns bad, it starts out rather subtly with only some blemishes on his face. Throughout the film, though, it gets progressively worse until the man who was once Seth Brundle is now a man who, quite frankly, looks like a giant raisin on two legs! Here, take a look at what I'm talking about...
Besides the horror of change that we witness in THE FLY, there is also something very psychologically thrilling about watching a film where you as the viewer are aware of something that the hero or protaganist is not. We watch that fly get into the the telepod without Seth's knowledge and we're thinking, "Oh no!" to ourselves. We know what has happened to Seth and what will continue to happen. It's almost a sense of sheer exhiliration when we watch Seth finally learn what the Hell happened to him.
The sweet and tender (and rather rapidly moving!) relationship between Seth and Veronica Quaife (played by Geena Davis) greatly contributes to not only Seth's scientific drive and determination, but also his slow decay and what will ultimately be his fate in the end. In fact, "Ronnie" seems so in love with Seth that even at the end when he's no longer human and in fact, has transformed into nothing short of a horrid monster, she's still hesitant about pulling the trigger and putting him out of his misery. Oh, come on! Loyalty is understandable, but as Helene Delambre said in the original film, "It wasn't wrong to kill the thing." I'll tell you what WAS wrong, though, and that was making THE FLY II (1988)!
Favorite line or dialogue:
Veronica Quaife: "Those...weird hairs that were growing out of your back. I took them to a lab. I had them analyzed."
Seth Brundle: "The hairs? The hairs? Oh...yeah, that's a strange thing to do."
Veronica: "Not as strange as the results. The guy at the lab had trouble identifying them. He finally came to the conclusion, that they were definitely not human."
Seth: "Oh...very good."
Veronica: "Not human, Seth. In fact...very INSECT-like hairs."
Seth: "That's silly! That's ridiculous!"