The Fly [1986]

“I will say now, however objectively, that human teleportation, molecular decimation, breakdown, reformation, is inherently purging.”

I feel like I saw this film when I was very young but it was probably one of those films that would have seemed very inocuous at first to my parents and then it became sexy and scary and my parents decided it was TIME FOR BED. Due to this policing I have some memory of it, but obviously none of the good sexxxy scarrry bits.

So this film is your typical film. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Boy gets jealous and jumps into his transporter with a fly. Boy becomes fly. You know, standard.

I feel like this is a sci-fi/gore film of two parts. On the one hand, it is obviously pretty gorey and really gross but I feel like it isn’t gore for the sake of gore and has good humour about itself. For instance, in one part, Seth as The Fly (played by Jeff Goldblum) pukes on his food in Roni/Veronica’s (played by Geena Davis) presence and says “that’s gross”. I feel like he is referring to all gore films in that moment, and it’s so well comically timed. The second part to it is it’s surprisingly moving. I was way more moved by the story than I thought I would be, considering how ridiculous a film it is. There’s one moment where The Fly is watching Roni talking to an ex and then she gets in a car; he’s on top of the roof looking down, and it was like a Hunchback of Notre Dame moment. He has become an outcast, which unlike HOND is largely his own doing, but you can see this same sadness in him and it made the film – for me – deeply touching and tragic particularly as the movie develops and comes to its climax. A lot of gore films paint creatures as monsters and things to be scared of (which I personally think is pretty basic), but in this film Cronenberg painted it as something to be pitied and empathied with which in contrast is very loving and complicated and wonderful. I also enjoyed the fact that the creepy ex boyfriend – who throughout the film is lechorous to Roni – doesn’t come away unscathed from his altercation with The Fly.

Lastly, no one else could have done The Fly justice than Jeff Goldblum. His intensity and his little physical ticks make it what it is. Absolute must see.

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