Monday, October 17, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 17 - Movie 2

Tonight I revisited The Fly (1986) which turned 25 this summer, making me feel old. Starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, The Fly is David Cronenberg's masterpiece which remakes the 1958 film of the same name starring David Hedison, Patricia Owens and Vincent Price.

Seth Brundle is a scientist who invents a teleportation device which will disintegrate an object in one location and reintegrate it at another. Certain that all of the bugs have been worked out and that his device is ready for teleporting a living test subject, he teleports a baboon with no ill effects and then decides to try it on himself unaware that a house fly has entered the telepod with him. It's only after some behavioral and physical changes have occurred in him that he discovers that the teleportation device also works as a gene splicer melding his DNA with that of the fly and creating a new hybrid creature.

Unlike the 1958 version of The Fly, in Cronenberg's remake,  the scientist does not emerge with the head, hand and foot of the fly, while the fly winds up with the scientists head and limbs. In this case the genetic fusion reveals itself gradually, initially decieving Brundle into believing he's been improved, or purified, but then revealing itself as his human body begins to deteriorate and change as do his behaviors and thought processes. Where the original is told as something of a murder mystery with the sanity and guilt of the scientist's wife put to the test, the remake is more of a metaphorical examination of the aging process and disease as it effects the body and makes us alien to ourselves and our loved ones.

Chris Wallas' make-up effects are first rate, and Goldblum and Davis are excellent. This movie still holds up incredibly well and remains riveting to watch from beginning to end.


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