the_fly_2Welcome to Reel Rewind, a semi-monthly column in which I’ll revisit some of our favorite/overlooked films, bringing along artists that I can’t get enough of. We’ll team up for some fun collaborations and bridge the gap between film appreciation and art. For the entire month of October, creatures, spooks and things that shouldn’t be are taking over the column to celebrate Halloween! Be afraid, be very afraid!

Year: 1986
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer(s): George Langelaan (short story), Charles Edward Pogue, David Cronenberg
Region of Origin: US
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Rating: R
35mm, Color, 96 mins

Director David Cronenberg has never done anything lightly, becoming known early on as the “King of Venereal Horror” and delivering a brand of stomach-churning features which would shock us to examine societal status, cultural fears, taboos and human nature. But despite everything he may have accomplished in his early era, The Fly remains my favorite and easily the most emotionally resonant. It’s in this film that Cronenberg honed all of his auteur sensibilities to deliver a tragic love story with a man literally lost in his own flesh. It doesn’t get any more poignant than that, and thanks to some amazing creature work, brilliant performances and stunning execution, the film is an unforgettable and virtually perfect experience.

The story begins when scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) meets a journalist named Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) at a scientific community mixer. Seth, eccentric but brilliant invites Veronica back to his place to reveal a top secret teleportation device which will revolutionize travel as we know it. As there are still a few kinks to be ironed out (he can’t get the machine to work on living things), Seth eventually offers to give Veronica exclusive press rights to cover the experiment, allowing her to document every stage of his discovery. Soon enough the pair fall in love, there’s some ex-boyfriend drama and a tragic misunderstanding leads Seth to prematurely try the device on himself. Jumping into the teleportation pod in a fit of hubris, Seth doesn’t notice the housefly beside him. After a successful run, Seth and the fly’s biological traits are integrated on a molecular level, leading to an unexpected transformation that will change everything.

Like all of Cronenberg’s earlier films, the story works on multiple layers, this time using gruesome, disgusting body horror to deliver the transformation of an introverted, but charismatic genius into a monster struggling to find his identity. Like the stages of Seth’s transformation, each new iteration of himself illustrates different hopes, fears and states of mind until he no longer knows who he is. Making it all the more tragic is the way it’s rooted in one, fleeting and drunken moment of jealousy, over presumably the first girl to really care about him and his fear of losing her. In this way, the film becomes a universal and tactile story that could and honestly, has happened to everyone at one point in their life, amounting in a sad creature that’s ultimately more recognizable than we’d admit. On top of it all, there are some vividly horrific creature and makeup effects by Chris Walas which predate CGI and will make you want to throw up anything you’ve perviously ate — and I mean that in the best way possible. What better way to experience heartache than with inside-out baboons, acidic, flesh-eating enzymes and rotting body parts?

the_fly_1But really, aside from perfect balance of award-wining makeup and script, the last vital component of the film is Jeff Goldblum’s performance, which easily warrants a viewing on it’s own. Goldblum is one of those actors that has such a unique delivery and set of mannerisms which are easy to parody, yet he’s an intelligent performer and in top form here. From his series of monologues which get progressively crazier as he flirts with power, his more primal and insect-like mannerisms, to the heartbreaking acceptance of his fate, there’s a lot of stages for him to cover and he portrays them all in such a convincing and organic way.

As his opposite, Geena Davis’ Veronica is the second half of his puzzle, his muse, his downfall and she gets to play someone with more depth than a stock damsel in distress. Some of my favorite moments come from her and she goes through her own journey alongside Seth which is just as miserable and full of hard choices. Davis’ chemistry (they were an item at the time) with Goldblum helps to ground the entire thing and in the end make it all feel real.

Simply put, The Fly is a work of true terror. Although that may sound like a generic statement, it’s one that rings true in the purest of ways. All of our human shortcomings are put on display in such vivid form, showing us how alien we are to ourselves. A remake that deservedly overshadows and outclasses it’s predecessor, The Fly is the rare type of film in which there’s nothing you’d want to change and there’s no other way you’d want to see it. Drink deep, or taste not, the plasma spring!

Crome Rating: 5/5

Here we are with Adam Juresko’s poster for the film! I love the deep, muted colors, the hypnotizing circles and the ambiguous mashup of human and fly traits. In the best ways, Adam’s recreated the confusion and spiraling nature of losing your identity to something you don’t understand. There’s also a nice mysterious and impressionistic execution here which mimics the characters’ journey in the film. Thanks to Adam for the great work, please visit No Supervision on the web, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook & Etsy for more!


I hope you guy’s have enjoyed this month’s selection of retrospective horror films in celebration of Halloween! Make sure to check out our previous installments for The RelicSplicePumpkinheadMartyrs and come back tomorrow, Halloween for one last go!