The Fly (USA/UK/Canada, 1986) - Color, Director(s): David Cronenberg
MPAA Rating: R
Approx. 96 min.
Z-rating: 4 stars out of 5
Cheese Factor: 2 stars out of 5
David Cronenberg is the King of Body Horror with movies like Shivers, Videodrome, and eXistenZ under his belt, he is a true pioneer of the genre. One of his best, and probably the film he's most known for, is the 1986 remake of The Fly. Jeff Goldblum plays Seth Brundle, a scientist on the verge of perfecting teleportation technology with his "Telepods". At a party, he meets a reporter (Veronica played by Geena Davis) and takes her back to his place to show them off. I bet that makes a great pick-up line too, "Hey baby, you wanna see my telepods?" So he basically shows her the high tech equivalent of a magic trick by teleporting her stocking and now she wants to write an article about his invention. The problem is the telepods will only teleport inanimate objects, so he wants her to document him finishing them instead. I think it's kind of a dick move for him to hold back on the teleporters, even if they can't teleport people they could still use it to deliver packages or something.
After some good old-fashioned animal testing (where a baboon gets mutilated) and some boning, he figures out how to code the computer to teleport organic material. Like any good story, he gets drunk and decides to test the telepods himself but doesn't realize there's a fly in the pod with him. The computer doesn't know how to encode two different organisms and fuses them together. Brundle emerges from the telepod seemingly normal but this is where the body horror element comes in as we watch Brundle's body break down over time. Thick insect-like hairs and lesions appear throughout his body while his hair, teeth, and nails start falling out. To make matters worse, Geena Davis is pregnant with his child.
Jeff Goldblum is absolutely amazing in this movie, he practically carries the entire film. Not to take anything away from Geena Davis but Goldblum just nails it from his awkward mumbling shy guy act through his overaggressive phase and finally the nervous ticks of turning into a fly monster. Davis' editor (John Getz) is also her ex-boyfriend and a total stalker creep. The guy showers at her place, refuses to give the key to her apartment back, and follows her when she's spending the night at Brundle's place. I can't believe he's the one supporting her in the end like we're supposed to cheer for this creep.
Nudity: There are a few sex scenes and a ton of pseudo-nudity. Unless you were looking forward to seeing Jeff Goldblum's ass though, most of the other nudity is cleverly obscured like an Austin Powers intro sequence. We do get the occasional peek at some cleavage or side boob though.
Gore: Brundlefly's final transformation is incredible, I would put the effects up there with John Carpenter's The Thing. Also, Brundlefly vomits on someone's hand and foot which dissolves in his corrosive stomach acid. The make-up actually won the Academy Award for Best Makeup that year for Stephan Dupuis (Visiting Hours, Jason X) and Chris Walas (known for designing the Gremlins) who also went on to helm the sequel in his directorial debut.
Awesome: to the MAX! Watching as Seth Brundle slowly deteriorates over the second-half of the movie is absolutely horrifying. What's more, Geena Davis' character is pregnant with his child and she has no idea what could be growing inside of her. As if having a baby wasn't scary enough, there's a chance a monster could be growing inside of her like the chestburster from Alien. She even has a nightmare about giving birth to a maggot. I would HIGHLY recommend this to anyone who hasn't seen it and even if you've already seen it. I revisited it to write this review and it still stands as one of my favorite movies of all time.