To start off, I will be doing both of The Fly movies, as in the 1958 original, and the remake from 1986. I will not be mentioning The Fly II (1989) because it wasn’t very good.
The Fly (1958)
This is one of the first horror movies I ever remember seeing. My dad had a thing about scaring me emotionally from an early age and the end of The Fly really did scare me to death! It stars Vincent Price, David Hedison and Patricia Owens and Kathleen Freeman.
The story is very simple:
A scientist has a horrific accident when he tries to use his newly invented teleportation device.
In the original, it starts off with Helene Delambre as she is being arrested for crushing her husband in a printing press, well, just his head and arm. The story then goes back to why this has happened as she explains everything.
Her husband, Andre, was secretly working on a teleportation device in the basement. He thought he had perfected it and wanted to use a live specimen. This was their cat, Dandelo, and it doesn’t go well. They play it out oddly, since the cat disintegrates, but fails to reappear, but you hear the cat calling out, somewhere. That never made sense to me, but the cat meowing still freaks me out.
When Andre decides it is ready for human trials, he gets in the machine, with a fly. The machine mixes up the two specimens and gives Andre the head and arm of a fly, and the fly ends up with a human head and arm.
He locks himself in the basement and puts notes under the door for his wife, saying she must find the fly with a white head. As time goes on, the fly’s brain starts to take him over and he knows, if he cannot find the fly, his wife will have to kill him, hence the press at the start of the movie.
The story doesn’t really make sense, the head of a fly on his body, but it is still well done in that 50s horror type way. If you ignore the obvious plot details, the story is pretty good and the actors all give a good performance.
It’s the end of the movie that is where the horror really lies.
Everyone thinks the wife is mad and killed her husband, who would believe a story like that unless they found the fly with a white head?
Andre’s brother and police detective are in the garden and we see the fly, which is caught in a spiders web. The fly has a human head and is screaming ‘Help me! Help me!’ as the spider closes in. It is still really scary.
*End Of Spoilers*
The Fly (1958) is a classic horror that is worth seeing. It is dated and, as I said, you can’t examine the story too much, but it is a great movie. There were a few sequels, but they weren’t good and not worth bothering with. However, there was a remake in 1986.
The Fly (1986)
This is an excellent remake since they fixed the story and they got in an amazing director David Cronenberg to direct and write the screenplay. It starred Jeff Goldblum and Gina Davis.
Cronenberg is one of those directors that has a ‘style’ of filmmaking and that style is, actually, I don’t know how to describe it, I guess Body Horror.
This is where it was genius to get a director like Cronenberg in. The original movie had a silly plot, swapping the arm and the head of a man and a fly. In the remake, when the same experiment goes the same way, the teleporter cannot tell the difference between the man and the fly, so splice the two DNAs together.
This means that there is a slow and gradual change, as Seth Brundle, played brilliantly by Goldblum, starts to transform into a human fly. The SFX are amazing and very gross. I still freak out about how Brundlefly eats!
Documenting the events of Seth is Veronica Quaife, played by Davis. As she is following Brundle’s story, she falls in love with him, but then has to watch him slowly change, which then builds to a brilliant ending of the movie. The scene where she has her baby is still pretty haunting!
Both The Fly movies are great, the original is a well-made movie, although the plot is silly. The remake is a brilliant movie that fixes the plot details and you are left with a movie that is a great horror.