The Fly (1986)
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Year of Release: 1986
Genre: Horror/Science Fiction
Running Time: 96 minutes (1:36)
Director: David Cronenberg
Jeff Goldblum ... Seth Brundle
Geena Davis ... Veronica Quaife
John Getz ... Stathis Borans
Joy Boushel ... Tawny
David Cronenberg ... Gynecologist
Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis star in this frightening update to the horror classic in which a man is transformed into an insect. Seth Brundle is a brilliant scientist who develops a system to teleport objects in a matter of seconds. An intellectual hermit, his entire existence takes on new meaning when he falls in love with an attractive journalist who inspires him to correct the system's last remaining flaw. Yet when he tries it on himself, Seth's genes and molecules are accidentally fused with those of a fly. At first Seth is elated by the astonishing new physical abilities he's suddenly gifted with. But soon his excitement turns into a terrifying nightmare as his insect half begins to take over.
The Fly, remake version. The movie that reminds us that nothing turns a woman on quite like a reclusive nerd that turns baboons inside out. Jilted ex-boyfriends love this one. Ungrateful women. Love ya an leave ya just cause you won't quit tryin' to make 'em dress up like Princess Leia an demand they say things like "use the force". So they ditch you, trade up, leave you a hollow shell of a man with nobody to force choke. But they eventually find out that with their previous track record, good judgment may not be their strong suit, when their new guy turns out to be just as much monster as you were an she has to come crawling back for help to get their unborn maggot baby aborted after the guy won't come down from the ceilin' an stop ignorin' her. From there, smugness takes over an you're back in your palace playin' Jabba the Slut. That'll teach 'em. Now I know what I've said before about remakes, but this one's different. It's directed by David Cronenberg an as you all know, the man's movies are all completely disgusting. So just consider this the exception that proves the rule an pay attention to these important life lessons, bestowed unto us by the big C. First, if your girlfriend dumps you an starts datin' another guy, the best way to convince her you're the man for her is to follow her around an make a scene while she's shoppin' for a bathrobe. Make sure to imply she's a slut too, that really melts a woman's butter. Second, you might think that a huge, segmented white thing with a head on it exiting a woman's hoo-ha wouldn't be so terrible a thing, but just for the record, there are limitations. I don't see what the big deal is, it's ribbed for her pleasure, after all. An third, no matter how great an inventor you may be, nothing you can do will ever impress a baboon. Baboons are the New Yorkers of the animal kingdom. Heavy stuff right there. I expect all of you to absorb that thoroughly, there's no tellin' when that kinda knowledge might save your life.
But what I'd like to discuss in a little more depth is office romances. Now, your friends have all probably warned you about this sort of thing. You didn't listen cause you knew they just wanted the boss for themselves, but they did warn you. But not because they were tryin' to protect you, but because they're greedy. Everyone puts up this big facade about why datin' the boss is so terrible, but it's all a farce to get the boss for themselves. Partially, at least, the benefits are obvious. But even beyond the preferential treatment, even beyond the fact that the boss is almost without exception gonna be in much deeper doo-doo than you are if you get caught, there's more. Now, in the movie, when Geena Davis becomes with maggot, who's the first guy she turns to for help? That's right, old boyfriend, and her boss, John Getz. And at no point after she's appealed for his help does he lead her astray. He calls in favors to get the larva purged from her uterus, an when Superfly shows up an kidnaps her, who comes to her rescue? That's right, the boss. Now, do these seem like the kind of selfless actions your friends warned you about when the boss asked you to come over an put in a little overtime? Course not, they don't tell you about this stuff. Bosses are really pretty heroic people when it comes right down to it. An if it weren't for the nosy vultures in the media, there'd probably be a lot more happy subordinates in the work force. But, such is the perception of society. So the next time your boss tells you they've got a new position they think you'd be perfect for, an your friends start tryin' to talk you out of it, I think you'll know who truly needs to be put on the watch list.
The movie begins with Geena Davis an Jeff Goldblum out at some fancy pants soiree where depressed rich people get together an try to convince each other they're not depressed. Jeff's a scientist, an pretty much what you'd call a wussie, an he wants Geena to come back to his lab so she can interview him about his research cause he ain't had a girl in his apartment since 1974. She don't really wanna go on account of how bad he reeks of desperation, but he's got these wild an crazy eyeballs that she just can't say no to. When they arrive at Jeff's place, he starts playin' the piano, only he doesn't seem to realize that that kinda thing hasn't gotten a woman in the mood since 1840 so he figures he'd better show her something sciency before she splits faster than John Goodman's pants. So he boots up his Commodore 64, puts Geena's stocking in one of his suicide booths, an initiates the launch sequence. On the Commodore I mean, the other launch sequence already happened when he got ahold of her stocking. Then he takes her over to the second suicide booth an it looks like maybe Tommy Chong's curled up inside with a quarter pound joint cause there hasn't been this much smoke erupting from anything since that time Taylor Swift tried to cook Raman noodles. But Jeff pulls out Geena's stocking, safe an sound, an she gets this look on her face like her brain needs a jumper cable. Recovering from her stupor, she clicks on her tape recorder an gets Jeff all talky about his teleportation devices til the tape runs out an when Jeff sees the recorder he gets this look on his face like he accidentally ran his winning lottery ticket through the washin' machine. He tries everything he can think of to convince her he had no idea she was a journalist but it don't do any good an pretty quick Geena's outta there. Then Geena shows the tape to her editor/ex-boyfriend (Stathis), but he thinks Jeff pulled a Sigfried an Roy on her an when Jeff shows up to reclaim his tape he has to buy Geena lunch so he can try to wrest creative control back from her. He figures that stuffin' her face with food is the only way he can keep her quiet long enough to explain that anytime he tries to teleport something that's alive he has to spend the next four hours inside the booth with pine-sol wipin' the viscera off the walls an that this just won't do if they're gonna get famous.
So Geena agrees to follow his progress until he's fixed the whole exploding occupant problem an heads for home. Only when she gets there Stathis is in her shower doin' unspeakable things to her loofa an she's so disgusted it's all she can do to flush the toilet an scald the bejezus outta his testicles. Once he gets out she tells 'im it's over, it's been over, an that he owes her $1.19 for that loofa. Meanwhile, Jeff has made a few adjustments on the Commodore an takes another stab at teleporting a living subject. Unfortunately, his baboon comes out the other side lookin' like a pan of baked spaghetti an Jeff's real bummed cause he was gonna eat that monkey later. Eventually Geena's able to get Jeff to talk, an in addition to havin' a serious case of sad face, he's down to just one more test subject an breakin' in new ones is a terrible experience on account of them throwin' their shiznit at you til they get used to you. Once they're adjusted, they just pee on you. But anyway, once Jeff calms down they start discussin' dinner plans an Geena just decides to go for the tube steak instead. Once Jeff's done sockin' it to her, she notices he's been rollin' around on top of an Atari 2600 processor an yanks that sucker off his back so she can get in on some Space Invaders action. Which is just as well, cause about that time Jeff gets the same look Hugh Laurie gets when he realizes what's killin' somebody an runs off to the Commodore to iron out some kinks. You'd think he'd have done enough of that with Geena. After awhile, Jeff teleports some meat from one pod to the other an has Geena taste test it. It's all she can do to keep from horkin' it up since most of it's laced with baboon shrapnel, but Jeff's got no time to hear about her outrage as he's on a roll. The next morning when Geena leaves, it seems Stathis has been waitin' outside all creepy like waitin' for her to come out so he can follow her around an throw a jealous fit in the middle of JC Penny an complain about how teeny tiny his wiener is. While this is happening, Jeff sends his remaining baboon through the teleporter an this time is able to keep its insides on the inside. When Geena gets back she's giddy as a middle aged journalist, at least until she finds the package that Stathis sent over, which indicates he's about to scoop her scoop right out from under her. So she has to go threaten to put her 6" heel through Stathis' eyeballs til he agrees to quit bein' such a fuckstick, but while she's doin' that Jeff's got things pretty well figured out an he figures Geena an Stathis are prolly doin' the backstroke on his waterbed.
So once Jeff gets good an sloshed an gets some sound psychological advice from his baboon (Dr. Babs Boon), he decides he's gonna teleport himself. So he cuts Babs off right as she's about to ask him how he feels about his mother an hops in the teleporter nekkid as the day Mom made him an away he goes. Unfortunately... well you know what was in there with him, but he doesn't. Thank goodness for the Tommy Chong smoke too, or else we'd all be lookin' at his Goldschlong right about now. Later that night Geena comes back an Jeff tells her he went through without her an that he's downright hurt that she'd go back to Stathis when she's got all this prime white an nerdy scientist action right here. Geena's able to convince him that she's a one tube steak kinda girl an Jeff goes for the groceries. By the time Geena wakes up the next morning, Jeff's not there cause he's out in the livin' room usin' his armchair like a pommel horse an gettin' sweatier than Rocky Balboa after 12 rounds with Apollo Creed while workin' on his parallel bar routine. Then they go out for coffee an Jeff starts talkin' faster than a used car salesman an wolfs down about 13 pounds of sugar cubes. This is exactly why you don't give kids sugar before bed. Then they go home an Jeff rocks her bottom til she's about to pass out from heat stroke cause his sex drive's morphed into the Energizer Bunny all the sudden an she notices he's got 500lb test line growin' outta his back where the Atari processor got lodged earlier. Geena can't keep up anymore, so Jeff figures if she goes through the teleporter she'll turn into Wonder Woman an they'll be able to have more sexy time. But Geena don't wanna go an Jeff starts screamin' about how she's ruinin' his party with her wet blanketries an storms outta there to find the everlasting cocksocket. So he heads into a bar an starts chattin' up this woman that looks like biker property til her boyfriend tells 'im to get lost. Jeff challenges 'im to an armwrestling contest, wherein, if he wins, he gets to be the woman's new owner. The guy agrees, but pretty quickly he realizes he's in over his head an even though Jeff's hand's startin' to foam like Old Yeller, its not long before he snaps the guy's arm in half til it's floppin' around like an 70 year old tit that's lost it's bra. Fortunately, the girl's into guys that can snap her like a twig, so they bolt on outta there an once they get to Jeff's place he socks it to her. Then he shows her his fancy machine an once he beams himself from transporter pod one over to two, he's ready again an for all three of you women that ever wanted to see Jeff Goldblum's buttcrack, you're in luck. The rest of us are just in therapy.
So having spent an entire day together, Jeff figures they're ready to take the next step in their relationship an starts tryin' to shove her into the teleporter so he won't have to take intermission every few hours, only Geena shows up an becomes the everlasting cockblocker an the biker property runs outta there as quick as one can after 12 hours of sex. Geena tells Jeff she took his 500lb test line to a lab an they determined it's fly hair an that he's gonna need more than Dr. Babs if he's gonna maintain his sanity. Then Jeff throws her out an she has terminal sad face. Back inside, Jeff gets a little grumpy when he realizes he's startin' to get meth face an his razor keeps spittin' out sparks tryin' to shave off his beard hair an that he's losin' more teeth than a 49ers fan at a Raiders game. So he gets back on the Commodore an starts askin' it questions like, why the fuck am I turnin' into a bath salt zombie? an pretty quick it brings up a picture of the fly that shared the pod with him an for the first time he starts to think maybe this isn't the way he wanted to go through life. Four weeks later, he finally calls Geena to tell her he was wrong, an when she comes by to see 'im he looks like a rotten pomegranate that got left out in the sun for about three weeks. He explains to Geena what happened an then proceeds to puke up about a quart of skim milk onto his packet of Hostess donuts. He's got the digestive tract of a fly now so he kinda has to, but he still gets the impression he should have given a little warning when Geena starts turnin' the color of Mountain Dew. So after Jeff's ear comes off an they hug a little bit she goes to talk to Stathis about it an freaks out on him when he doesn't give her the advice she wanted. So he tells her to go see Jeff again an videotape him so he can see what he's dealin' with, mostly just to buy time til he can figure out what she wants him to say. But when Geena gets over to Jeff's place he's walkin' around on the ceiling crackin' jokes, which is good news, cause he's reached the "acceptance" phase in his traumatic experience. Later on, Stathis watches the video Geena took for 'im, complete with an encore of the vomit sequence, when Geena comes home in a real tizzy. It seems she's pregnant with Jeff's larva an doesn't know what to do. Back at the lab, Jeff's fingers have merged together so that he's permanently makin' the Vulcan hand salute, which makes it real tough to use the Commodore. Geena stops by one last time to tell him she's preggers with his maggot, only she can't do it cause she's just too distracted thinkin' about her baby shower an Jeff tells her to get out before he loses what's left of his brain power an starts tryin' to suck nectar outta her face. But as she leaves, Jeff watches from the roof an realizes what she was unable to tell him, as she rants at Stathis to get her to the nearest abortion clinic. Will cut it here so I don't spoil just how Jeff decides to deal with the situation.
So you're probably thinking, lets see him talk his way out of this one. Remakes always being lousy, an all that. Well, first, this is a remake from the 80s. The 80s as a decade had an extremely difficult job of making bad horror films, and even the ones that aren't that good are still entertaining. So it's already way ahead of the game, because it's got that going for it. Conversely, the decade in which the remakes really started being spewed forth out of Satan's black Hell-besmirched farting hole, were the 2000s. Remakes in the horror genre weren't terribly common before that. So you've really got a subset of titles that at least have the opportunity to be decent, as a result of the time period in which they were made. At least as important, if not more important, the remakes made in the 80s were of movies that were old enough that there was genuinely something to improve upon. Because as you get back into the 50s and beyond, if nothing else, most of those movies weren't even in color. The original version of The Fly from 1958 was, but the point stands. And movies were simply put, a lot slower paced, clunkier, and downright different in those days, so you could remake a movie in the 80s and have a very good chance of improving on it. Where these days, the movies they remake are generally just the biggest names the horror genre had to offer from the 70s and 80s. They don't NEED improved upon, they were already great. Studios simply choose to remake those titles because it'll put more asses in the seats. Greed is something to be expected in any business, so to some extent, I get it. But my suggestion, which should appease everyone, is to just churn out sequels. You get the marquee value of the title, without shitting on the legacy of the original movie, which is almost universally the best of the series. But no, can't do that. So they remake The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Possibly the greatest horror movie of all time. They remake Dawn of the Dead. The Amityville Horror, Black Christmas, Children of the Corn, Child's Play, The Evil Dead, The Fog, Friday the 13th, Halloween, The Hills Have Eyes, The Howling, even I Spit on Your Grave wasn't safe. Last House on the Left, My Bloody Valentine, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Omen, Prom Night, and Willard. Suffice it to say, I am of the opinion that these titles weren't likely to be improved upon, and not once did today's film makers disappoint me. I will be completely fair, however, and say that Alexandre Aja's remake of The Hills Have Eyes, while not as good as the original, is damn close. It's probably no coincidence he's not American and was able to produce the best modern remake to date. But I'm not bitter.
Alright, lets sift through the baboon fragments to determine cause of success. The plot is above average. There's more here than the original had, and although it's not what you'd call complicated or convoluted, it's well executed and interesting. Generally speaking, it's pretty faithful to the original plot, which is something else that makes it stand above many of the lousy remakes. If you're going to make a remake, make a remake, fuck this retelling bullshit. That's the kinda crapola that butchered Planet of the Apes. The acting is superb. One might suggest Goldblum an Davis' chemistry cheating when you consider they were dating at the time. But then Goldblum is pretty much awesome in everything he's ever in, so that doesn't fly with me. And while you can imagine that Cronenberg was probably tellin' Goldblum what to do an how to do it, he's very convincing in depicting what you may expect someone whose mind is slowly turning to mush might be going through. Both Goldblum and Davis don't need me to champion their names, they're already mainstream champions, so here are the supporting cast members that matter, and why: John Getz (The Fly II, Killer Bees), Joy Boushel (Cursed, Humongous, Terror Train), Leslie Carlson (Anonymous Rex, The Dead Zone, Videodrome, Deadly Harvest, Black Christmas, Deranged, The Neptune Factor), George Chuvalo (Prom Night III), Michael Copeman (The Barrens, Scanners III, Abraxas: Guardian of the Universe, Food of the Gods Part 2, Deadline), Carol Lazare (The Brain). And of course, Cronenberg as the guy near Geena Davis' hoo-ha with a catcher's mit during the nightmare birthing sequence. Very good acting, for people that care a great deal about that sort of thing.
The shooting locations aren't bad. Goldblum's pad is pretty realistic in depicting a place inhabited by an anal retentive nerd. The telepods are certainly interesting in appearance, although you're never gonna be able to teleport very far when you require that tree-branch thick fiber optic cable stretching between the two of them. Apparently, the pods were meant to resemble the cylinder from a motorcycle, which I didn't notice at the time but can see after it's been pointed out to me. Otherwise, you've got a bar, a hospital room, Geena's house, and a high rise office, none of which have much bearing or are particularly interesting. But they don't need to be, because Jeff's pad is the main course, and it looks good. The special effects... well they're award winning. Like, mainstream public award winning. When even the droogs that attend and care about little phony statues that're generally given out as part of a circle jerk deviate from the norm and give one of their little awards to a horror film, that's some seriously out of the ordinary shit right there. At least when special effects weren't done on computers and looked real, I mean. Suffice it to say, that The Fly has one of the coolest looking horror movie monsters in the history of the genre. Besides the monster, and the make up effects on Goldblum that show his descent into flydom, you've also got the baboon viscera, and some melted limbs which are pretty decent as well. So the special effects are something special, to be sure. As good as the rest of the movie is, you may have to say the soundtrack is its low point. Though that doesn't mean the soundtrack is an actual low point, only that it's less impressive than the other points. It's still a good soundtrack, which picks up significantly near the climax and makes up for what up to that point was only average. Bottom line, it's still a strong net positive, albeit carried heavily by the last 10 minutes. Overall, a 7.5 on the IMDB. 91% on Rottentomatoes. Mine is going to fall somewhere in between, but suffice it to say, when even those two sites, which are filled with numbskullery can agree about the greatness of a horror movie, it's something special. Highly recommended, even to people who love indoor bullstuff.