Forgotten Friday Flick – “The Fly” (1986)

Forgotten Friday FlickWith their horror centric podcast this week, my WhySoBlu partners in crime decided to go down the haunted hallway of all things monster mash so I’m frighteningly following suit – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick.  While my creature feature selection this week is in fact a retelling of a classic 1958 creepy campfire tale (“help me!”), it’s a fright fest that is firmly given a fascinating new stamp by all involved and thus worthy of a revisit.  The classic tale of a mad scientist who decides to experiment on himself with horrendous results is given a shot of nitroglycerin in the form of groundbreaking make-up effects and a signature story style from one of the best demented minds in the business.  You hear that buzzing?  It’s…The Fly!

the fly head 1

Veronica Quaife is an ambitious science journalist looking for a new story.  Scouring a press party she meets a quirky scientist named Seth Brudle who claims to be working on something special.  Turns out Seth has created a possible groundbreaking way of moving in time and space – a set of telepods that allow an object to be broken down and instantly teleported from one pod to another.  Veronica agrees to keep all findings confidential in exchange for exclusivity on documenting the progress of Seth’s work.  At first only inanimate objects can go and tests involving live subjects end in disaster.  But eventually Seth figures it out and successfully transports a baboon subject.  Confident that the test was no fluke and a little jealous over Veronica’s relationship with former flame and editor Stathis Borans when they’ve begun to develop their own romantic relationship, a tipsy Seth decides to throw caution to the wind and teleport himself – but he’s not alone.

fly mid

It’s kind of hard to tease that the other entity inside the pod with Seth is indeed a common fly (it’s the damn title folks!), but the fun of this salacious show is in watching the already eccentric Jeff Goldblum become the monster known as Brundlefly.  With the help of the mad genius of Director David “Scanners” Cronenberg and eerie effects via Chris Walas (who won a well deserved Oscar for the work!) Goldblum’s transformation is a sight to see – a rare glimpse into a man becoming a monster from the inside.  It’s a premise filled with a ton of pseudo-sexual overtones – a Cronenberg staple – not to mention a blank canvas in terms of creature creating.  And all parties take full advantage of the freedom.  Goldblum goes from strange scientist to delusional bug with equal relish, Walas starts with falling appendages and graduates to disturbing full size flies and Cronenberg ties it all together in one believable love triangle with his pinch of peculiar.  (And with the help of a haunting mood setting score by Howard Shore, of course!)

fly end

Not that the film doesn’t have a fine human cast and story, as both Geena Davis and the surly John Getz definitely add grounding to the grotesque, but end of the day in terms of acting The Fly belongs to Goldblum.  His manic and moving monster work makes the whole gruesome experience so worthwhile – layers of depth added to layers of prosthetics.

Everyone has their favorite moment from The Fly.  Some dig the cool design of the upside down carburetor inspired pods, some the museum of natural history Brundlefly style and some the instructional video all about the eating habits of a large human fly. For me it’s all of the above and then some as Cronenberg’s perfectly perverse The Fly is an accumulation of all the right five-star elements at just the right time for pure cinematic success – if only Seth Brundle had been so blessed.

the fly poster


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

  1. No Comments