THE FLY. 1986. DIRECTED BY DAVID CRONENBERG. STARRING JEFF GOLDBLUM, GEENA DAVIS AND JOHN GETZ. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
I’ve only seen this sci-fi/horror film twice in my life. The first time I saw it, I was little more than a kid. I was so horrified by Jeff Goldblum’s metamorphosis into a fly that I ran out of the room in bits and dived under the bedclothes shivering, leaving the TV on and the film to play itself out. Wussy, right? Yeah, well, I was a pretty wussy kid…
The second time I saw it- just recently- I was a lot more grown-up and I absolutely loved it. I was glued to every second of it. Rather than being scared I was simply enthralled, as well as being super-impressed by the fantastic special effects, which are so good they deserve a mention all of their own. Here it comes. THEY’RE AMAZING…!
Here’s the deal, anyway. Geena Davis plays Veronica (Ronnie), a journalist who is sent to cover a science convention in the hopes that she’ll uncover a good story for PARTICLES MAGAZINE. She uncovers one all right. Does that sound ominous? It does? Oh good. It was meant to…
She meets Jeff Goldblum’s nerdy scientist, Seth Brundle, at this convention. There’s an immediate mutual attraction between the pair and he invites her home to see his invention. Etchings must have been going out of style, haha. What’s his invention? Well, he’s rigged up two structures in his huge loft apartment which work as follows…
Put something in one structure (a woman’s stocking, an adorable monkey, a fully-grown human male, whatever), press a few buttons, the thing gets broken down, transported to the other structure and reassembled. Forgive me if that’s just the basics. I’m no scientist, just a humble movie reviewer. (Albeit a brilliant one, right…? Right, guys…?)
Seth and Ronnie are understandably excited about Seth’s invention. He’s mastered the science of teleportation, right? It could revolutionise the world of transport forever. Seth is guaranteed fame and fortune and a load of awards and Ronnie gets a great story for the magazine. What could possibly go wrong? What indeed…?
One night, a drunken and paranoid Seth, worried to death about whether Ronnie is still sleeping with her boss/ex-lover, Stathis Borans, does a silly thing. He dives in the teleporter, failing to notice that a housefly has entered the machine with him. Seth is teleported and is thrilled to emerge unharmed from the apparatus. He has no idea that he and the housefly have accidentally merged…
It’s not so bad at first. Seth develops abnormal physical strength, gymnastic ability and an apparently insatiable sexual appetite. All good so far. We even get to see his butt for a second. Let’s just say it’s sweet. Needless to say, Ronnie’s not complaining. Yet…
Sadly, events are about to take a truly gruesome turn. Seth begins to take on the disgustingly repulsive appearance and physical characteristics of the fly. I’m sorry if that’s offensive to flies, but there it is. Then he begins to grow sick and weak, all the while becoming more and more revolting in appearance. Then Ronnie’s worst nightmare happens. Yeah, even worse than having had loads of sex with a horrible housefly. She discovers… Nope, I can’t say it. It’s a spoiler. But it’s bad, I promise you. Really, really bad.
Jeff Goldblum’s metamorphosis and performance are superb. Faultless. Even Geena Davis, whom I normally find annoying (you know that ‘kooky’ thing that she seems to do in all her films…?), is terrific as Ronnie, playing it straight as the girlfriend who finds herself in an unbelievable and, let’s face it, unprecedented situation. The ending is heartbreaking and the special effects are terrific. Yes, I know I’ve mentioned them already but they really are top-notch. David Cronenberg has a cameo appearance in it as a doctor, by the way.
The funniest thing for me about being able to watch this film now without being afraid of it is the look of utter revulsion and disgust on my best friend’s face as she sat on the couch beside me while we watched it together. I know I shouldn’t find that funny but I do. It’s just so nice not to be the one running away from something in mortal terror for a change, haha. She’s ordered me under pain of torture not to show her this review. And I wouldn’t dream of it. At least, not until I’ve chosen a nice, juicy, oozy, pus-filled, leaky image to go with it…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:
ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA: AN EROTIC HORROR NOVELLA.