The Fly

Jeff Goldblum - Seth Brundle
Geena Davis - Veronica Quaife
John Getz - Stathis Borans

"I'm an insect who dreamed he was a man, and loved it."

Compared to the facelessness of Cronenberg's previous 'mainstream' project, THE DEAD ZONE, The Fly is a very personal film, returning to the obsessional examinations of bodily metamorphosis and scientific experimentation that runs throughout the director's oeuvre

Seth Brundle (Goldblum), the gawky scientist who invents teleportation as a way of getting round his chronic motion sickness, emerges from the telepod in which he has been fused with the molecules of an interfering fly, not as an insect-headed montrosity, like David Hedison in the original film (1958), but as a super-improved version of himself. However, after he has demonstrated his prowess as a sexual athlete and a bar-room arm-wrestler, he finds himself gradually transforming, decomposing and otherwise losing his humanity as he develops into Brundlefly, a literal fusion of Brundle and the fly. Typical of Cronenberg is the combination of graphic sickness and good humour that accompanies Brundle's metamorphosis, which he is at pains always to treat in a philosophical, questioning manner. Goldblum, in an Oscar-nominated performance, tosses off nervous remarks about his collection of dropped-off body parts, gives an amusingly disgusting, TV chef-like demonstration of the fly-like manner in which he consumes a doughnut, hums "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" and treats his mutation as a voyage of discovery.

Although it is a showcase for the make-up effects of Walas and his crew, and was Cronenberg's biggest production, the film is a surprisingly compressed, intimate work. It has only three main characters and one main set, and makes do with metamorphosis and a restrained eternal triangle relationship, without feeling the need to invent melodramatic contrivances to extend the action.
- Overlook Film Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edt Phil Hardy.

all photos from Fangoria, issues 55,56,57,58, and are copyright 1986, 20th Century Fox.

"Brundle's - that is, Brundlefly''s - condition is initially perceived as "a disease with a purpose", echoing Cronenberg's unique ability to see situations from the viral point of view, as in SHIVERS. The film is most remarkable for its unwavering attention to the human element that glistens behind the eyes of its monster, which makes THE FLY Cronenbergs supreme portrayal of "the immortal soul tied to the body of a dying animal."
- Video Watchdog, No. 36, by Tim Lucas

" ... this is a perfectly structured, tightly inner-directed film, at once funny, poignant and horrific. Like many of Cronenberg's rigoroursly intelligent horrors, it can be read as a metaphor for the processes of disease and ageing, and finally comes to an acceptance of the perishability of human tissue as the transformed-beyond- possibility Brundle accepts death at the hands of one who loves him, the neurotic heroine Veronica Quaife (Davis)"
- Overlook Film Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edt Phil Hardy.

"...Whereas the original deterioated into a fly-hunt, the remake opts for a slow metamorposis from man to fly that develops as a disease would. This gives Cronenberg time to examine the implications of such an event, as the film lays bare our fear of disease, death and change. An unrelentingly gory film that explores the "poetry of the flesh" ...
- The Horror Film, edt. James Mulay, 1989

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