The Fly (1986)

The Fly was a short story written by George Langelaan in 1957, adapted for film in 1958, and directed by Kurt Neumann. In 1986, Canada’s horror king David Cronenberg created his own version that took the classic story to gory new levels.

Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) is a scientist confident he’s about to change the world. Convincing a dubious journalist, Veronica (Geena Davis), to come to his studio to learn more about his work, he reveals his teleportation pods to her. It’s ground-breaking work and something that will take the scientific world by storm. Realizing she has the story of the year, Veronica takes her findings to her editor and ex-lover, Stathis Borans (John Getz), despite Seth’s protests. Stathis doesn’t believe his research, but Seth, who has been working alone too long, asks Veronica to hold off on the story and document his process for a book.

Taken with Brundle’s enthusiasm, she joins him, and they quickly become lovers. While Veronica deals with Stathis and his jealousy, Seth is anxious to test on humans and successfully teleports himself, but he doesn’t realize a fly joined him in the pod. After the test, Seth becomes strong and energetic, more than ever before. When he wants Veronica to enjoy the same benefits from the pod, she notices changes in his personality and feels something went wrong in the machine. His ego and hubris won’t let him see the truth, and the joy of scientific discovery becomes a horrific and gruesome transformation with no solution in sight.

With a screenplay by Cronenberg and Charles Edward Pogue, The Fly is updated with a unique take on transformation, pulling on Cronenberg’s signature body horror to chronicle Seth Brundle’s decline from human to “Brundlefly.” The brilliant performances from Goldblum and Davis are matched by the incredible practical makeup effects that won the team of Chris Walas and Stephan Dupuis an Oscar in 1987, making this a tragic love story wrapped in a gooey, gory horror movie.

Review by Carolyn Mauricette




Cronenberg, Horror, Oscars

Canadian connection

Directed by David Cronenberg
Toronto, Ontario