31 Days of Horror Movies: The Fly (1986) - Mania.com

Mania's 31 Days of Horror Movies

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  • Rated: R
  • Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
  • Written By: George Langelaan (short story), Charles Edward Pogue (screenplay)
  • Directed By: David Cronenberg
  • Genre: Mutation, Giant Bug, Science Gone Wrong
  • Running Time: 96 Minutes
  • Series:

31 Days of Horror Movies: The Fly (1986)

Day 7

By Robert T. Trate     October 07, 2013
Source: Mania.com

The Fly (1986)
© Fox
Halloween is a special time. It is the one time of year when everyone gives of themselves. What they give can be anything from candy to a scare. We thought this October, we here at Mania would give you 31 Horror Films for the 31 days of October. Now, many of you will know these films. Some of you, may not. Get ready for 31 days of Horror Films that will run gauntlet from scary to campy, from horrific to down right ridiculous. Happy Halloween from Mania!

The Fly (1986) directed by David Cronenberg and starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis is an eighties remake of the 1958 version with the same title (The Fly).  The difference here is, that the remake is a lot scarier… a lot scarier.

Jeff Goldblum plays the brilliant young scientist, Seth Brundle.  Brundle is a working on a matter transport device (very similar to the transporter on Star Trek). Geena Davis plays a reporter, Ronnie, who is doing a story on Brundle and the two quickly fall in love. One night, Brundle decides to transport himself and (unknowingly) a small household fly. The computer fuses the two together.  Now, this is not an instant transformation. The true horror comes in the slow transformation of Brundle into a giant house fly.

Some films have a symbolism to them and that symbolism can change over time.  A good example of this would be The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (LOTR).  When the LOTR first appeared, as a book, many took the ring as a symbol for the power to wield war. Later, the ring would come to symbolize the atomic bomb. Not too much of a change, but it went from a war to an exact weapon. Now, in the The Fly, after Brundle starts to transform, he sees this as a form of cancer, much like at the time when cancer was in the public spotlight. However, after watching the film, I saw something different in Brundle’s transformation. Instead of cancer, I would associate his disease with AIDS.  Why, you ask?  Because Ronnie has the fear that she has been infected by having slept with Brundle. It is a small change, but one worth mentioning.

This is a scary film, really scary.  Goldblum’s actual transformation is like a train wreck, you can’t stop watching. It is my favorite part of the film. Davis and Goldblum give brilliant performances and you believe that they are truly in love, probably because they were and were married shortly after. It really doesn’t get any better for Halloween than The Fly

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samurai1138 10/7/2013 5:15:18 AM

I asked Cronenberg that exact question when I met him at a horror convention. He said it was a metaphor for growing old and feeble, not for AIDS. But that seems to be the most popular misconception. 

RobertTrate 10/7/2013 6:32:29 AM

 Nice Samuari. I love how actors and directors are more avaialble these days and we can get answers to these questions. 

Nexus6BT 10/7/2013 12:11:00 PM

 Speaking of LOTR, Tolkien himself once wrote that he wasn't all that interested in allegory, but "applicability." He was just trying to tell the best story he could, and then the reader could infuse the story with a personal meaning that meant something to them. I'm paraphrasing, but I think it was something like that.

blankczech 10/7/2013 5:13:05 PM


Strange that Cronenberg said that the transformation was a metaphor for growing old and feeble because as Brundle changes he certainly doesn't get weak or feeble and he is not dieing of old age, cancer or aids (only morphing into a different life form) ...in fact, in many ways, the more the fly takes over, the stronger Brundle seems to get... Witness the arm wrestling scene or his insatiable hunger for sex after the transformation has set in.

If I were to infuse my personal meaning into the change as Nexus6BT says Tolkien suggested readers do...I saw the transformation as a metaphor for a plunge into madness.  As Brundle's external physical humanity strips away...Brundle loses his identity and control of his mind.  He becomes paranoid, insanely jealous and loses his ability to reason.  

In the final scenes when Brundle almost kills Borans and tries to force Veronica into the telepod for yet another transformation...I see no signs of someone who is aged, feeble, or physically sick...instead I see someone who is mentally ill.  The only escape from this situation for what little is left of Seth Brundle's sane mind is to seek solace in death (as a psychotic person might make suicidal choices).




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