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THE FLY - 1986

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Kelly Parks
The Fly 1986
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THE FLY - 1986
Brooksfilms / 20th Century Fox
Ratings: Finland: K-18 / France: -12 / Germany, Norway, UK: 18 / Sweden: 15 / USA: R
A party. A man seems to be hitting on a woman, but in a strange way. He promises to show her something that will change the world (if I only had a nickel for every time I've used that line). At first she's annoyed, but then intrigued. They leave the party.

The point is: no exposition. The story just starts. We don't even know who these people are and already we're hooked.

THE FLY, a remake of the of the 1958 classic, was directed by David Cronenberg (RABID, SCANNERS, VIDEODROME, eXistenZ) and written by Cronenberg and Charles Edward Pogue (PSYCHO III), based on the story by George Langelaan (THE FLY [1958], RETURN OF THE FLY). It opens with the above mentioned party. Science reporter Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis: BEETLEJUICE) is here looking for a story. The party is being given by a research and development company for some of their scientists. She is approached by the very eccentric scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum: INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS [1978], JURASSIC PARK, JURASSIC PARK: The Lost World) who promises to show her something that will change the world. She goes back to his lab, set up in an isolated warehouse, and watches him demonstrate genuine teleportation.

Veronica quickly realizes she's stumbled on to the story of the century, but Seth, aware that she was a journalist but apparently just trying to get laid, is horrified at the idea of her doing a story about his invention before it's ready. She ignores his protests and quickly leaves.

The next day she presents her story to her editor, Stathis Borans (John Getz: KILLER BEES, THE FLY II), but he is disbelieving and uninterested. He tells her she fell victim to a magician's trick and makes a few other comments that show these two have a history. In short order we learn he's not just her editor. He's also her stalker / ex-boyfriend.

*
TRIVIA
Director and co-writer David Cronenberg has a bit part in the role of Geena Davis'
Gynecologist / Obstetrician.

Pay attention to the scene where Brundlefly opens his medicine cabinet.

RESOURCES
Interesting interviews with David Cronenberg and ...

Why he doesn't like being called a Horror Director.
Go to Spliced Online.

David Cronenberg interviews Salman Rushdie.
CRONENBERG meets RUSHDIE.

DAVID CRONENBERG re-examines DAVID CRONENBERG

IMDb

IMPAwards

Stathis begins to wonder about Seth's claim (and Seth's interest in his ex) when Seth shows up at the magazine office. Seth tells Veronica that if she'll hold off publishing for now, he'll give her exclusive rights to the whole story. It's her chance to write a book and she jumps at it. Veronica begins spending all her time at Seth's lab / apartment, video taping his experiments.

Just as in the original movie, the teleporter works fine on inanimate objects but not so good on living things. An unfortunate baboon is turned inside out by the device. Seth is depressed but then a flash of inspiration (combined with an inspirational romp in the sack with Veronica) leads Seth to reprogram the teleporter's computer to look at living flesh in a new way. A second baboon makes the trip without ill effects and the celebration is on.

Or it would be, but Veronica is called away by her ex-boyfriend. Jealous and drunk on champagne, Seth becomes reckless and decides to test the teleporter on himself.

!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:
Making teleportation a workable concept is not easy but I must say this movie does a great job. Less is more as Seth plays down his genius by saying he has outside experts build the various parts and he just puts them together. This is mixed in with glorious philoso-babble like only Jeff Golblum can do. And when the fateful moment comes and Seth teleports himself and his unseen little passenger, the result is not instant switched body parts like in the original movie. Instead the confused computer (exhibiting intelligence and computer power far beyond anything achievable today) decides to genetically merge the two subjects into one.

So Seth Brundle steps out of the other telepod, but in fact he is now Brundle-Fly. And, quite correctly, his altered genome takes time to become apparent. At first it's all internal (increased strength, speed, and a craving for sweets) but quickly a hideous transformation takes place. I have to give kudos to the writers for having the first external evidence of fly genes happen at the site of an injury (where new skin is growing) and for having Seth mention that at first he thought his altered genes would express themselves as a bizarre form of cancer, which they almost certainly would.

The story moves like a well told tale should. The characters are likable and hate-able but never dull. I give it four shriek girls.

Shriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2000 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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E.C. McMullen Jr.'s
short story
CEDO LOOKED LIKE PEOPLE
appears in the anthology
FEAR THE REAPER


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E.C. McMullen Jr.
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PERPETUAL BULLET
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