What better way to spend a night with friends than with some apple pie, vanilla ice cream and David Cronenberg’s seminal body horror flick The Fly?
I can’t think of many. Can you, Jeff Goldblum?
Oh ho. \:3
The Fly is an easy movie to review. I loved it. A simple but eloquent sci-fi gem from the flesh-obsessed Cronenberg, it’s more gross and weird than actually scary, which is fine, it’s well worth seeing for Goldblum’s oddball performance alone. As a mulleted scientist who undergoes a grotesque metamorphosis after a botched teleportation experiment he is great fun to watch as he deals with the ramifications of his decomposing, transforming body. It’s a an excrutiating process, and funny too, as his body parts fall off and he reacts with each awful development with horror and glee. He’s a scientist, after all. He’s gotta see where this all leads!
The further his transformation goes the more make-up and special effects are needed to build a convincing horrible fly-man. The effects are practical so that means lots of old-fashioned rubber molds, tubing, glue and glorious twitchy puppetry. A lot more than mere novelty, the hands-on effects still impress, and the final creature is on par with The Thing and Aliens as wet, creepy craftmanship goes. A lost art indeed.
There’s a love story too, between Goldblum and pre-presidential Geena Davis who looks kinda cute with her hair all frazzled in that ridiculous 80s way. They’re great together, and their romance is surprisingly effective given the far-fetched material. A bit of a loner herself – her only friend, indeed the only other human being in the movie, aside from a few bar floozies, seems to be her smarmy ex-boyfriend – Davis quickly falls for the nerdy Goldblum and sure enough, they get down to business, as they say. However, since Goldblum’s transformation also leads to violent mood swings their relationship struggles to last and Davis begins to fret about the consequences of their coupling.
If there’s anything wrong with the movie the music by Howard Shore is not all that memorable. It provides the appropriate suspense and dread with some lovely strings but there’s nothing to hold onto, no theme, no leitmotif! If I were to listen to the isolated score perhaps I’d enjoy it more but I doubt The Fly soundtrack is readily available anymore. If I were to look, maybe.
If you were to look for shirtless Jeff Goldblum then The Fly contains 100% more shirtless Jeff Goldblum than any other movie until Jurassic Park, where his shirt is unbuttoned for the last half. Pshaw, hardly substantial shirtlessness but then he seems to have lost his impossibly chiseled chest by then. How a hermit scientist looks like that, I have no idea, but it’s quite impressive for someone who looks as weird as he does.
So, check it out if you haven’t already. I don’t why it took so long for me to finally see it, and I got a lot more Cronenberg to catch up on. A solid piece of sci-fi/horror cinema, The Fly is a classic, especially a la mode.