The Fly (1986)
Directed by David Cronenberg
Produced by Stuart Cornfield and Mel Brooks
Screenplay by Charles Edward Pogue
Story by George Langelaan
Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Music by Howard Shore
Music by Howard Shore
Scientist Seth Brundle discovers a way to teleport objects and uses this to try to impress a female journalist. His thoughts turn to transporting humans and tries it out on himself. He doesn't notice the tiny fly in the telepod. The computer isn't programmed to transfer lifeforms separrately and merges the two sets of genes.
Seth eventually discovers that the fly has been absorbed into his body, and that its cells are now taking over his own.
At first This remake of the original classic seems very different, having in common only the telepods and the fly. The narrative is reversed in that we start at the beginning of the story and suspense is held until the end when see what has to be done. Advances in special effects and improvements in the character design have allowed Brundle to slowly morph into Fly, physically and mentally, over a period of time. As the viewer sees this gradual process Brundlefly still retains a very human aspect.
“What makes The Fly such a stunning piece of obsessive film making is the way Cronenberg deftly allows us to identify with his monstrous creation.” Los Angeles Times [14 Aug 1986]
Changes in society over time are reflected in the very different styles. In the 50s the audience were primarily white Americans, and they wanted to see rich families behaving with decorum, whilst dealing with the horrors of potential advance s in science.
The 1986 version reflects the wants of the 80s society: consumerism, increased wealth, and feminism. The script has single women working in traditionally male roles, story-hungry journalism and sex outside of marriage. Issues of the times were euthanasia, abortion, AIDS, drug and steroid use and a rise against communism, which can all be seen metaphorically in the film.
Cronenberg was surprised that The Fly became “embraced as a cultural metaphor for AIDS” since he “originally intended the film to be a more general analogy for disease itself, terminal conditions like cancer and, more specifically, the ageing process” (Rodley 1997) The viewer certainly doesn't have to have experienced AIDS to respond emotionally to the film as it is dealing with a much wider range of topical issues such as genetic modification, and terminal or degenerative illness.
Emotionally the plot hinges on the same questions as the 1958 film, looking at the difference between humans and animals, and the boundaries we set. Anne Bilson said in her Guardian Review that “For something to truly give you the creeps, it needs to have some hint of human physiognomy”. Right to the end, Brundle tries to hold on to his humanity, even keeping his teeth safe.
Again, the female character loves her partner so much that she will kill him herself to end his misery. Interstingly the third character Stathis is portrayed as lecherous and pathetic, but he is the real hero as he tries to help Brundle and save Veronica at the expense of his own life.
Unlike the original, The audience never finds out what the eventual repercussions for Stathis and Veronica are and although there were several different codexes to the film none of them were shown.
Anne Bilson, Guardian, Thursday 15 July 2010 http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/jul/15/splice-dren