Remake Recon: The Fly

In 1957 within the pages of Playboy magazine a short story appeared that sent shivers down the backs of readers.

George Langelaan’s ‘The Fly’ would tell the tale of a scientist in the midst of experiments with disintegrating and re-integrating matter. Feeling confident with his breakthrough discovery he steps into the machine to test it on himself.

Unfortunately, a fly enters the disintegrator with him and when they both reappear on the other end a tale of horror commences. Now the scientist and fly have the others atoms all jumbled up within each other and it has become quite a terrible predicament. The scientist and his wife are in a race against time to find that fly in the hopes that if he goes through the disinegrator with it again everything will be sorted out.

A year later 20th Century Fox adapted the story for the big-screen. Starring David Hedison, Patricia Owens and Vincent Price, The Fly would become a popular hit with audiences. Inevitably two sequels would be made in an attempt to capitalize on the title, but they were nowhere near the success of the original.

Fast forward to 1986 and director David Cronenberg updates the story. This time out Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and John Getz are the principals co-starring alongside another pesky fly that creates a whole mess of problems for Goldblum’s hapless scientist.

I take a look at the original 1958 film The Fly and its 1986 remake.


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1 Response

  1. spaceodds says:

    A well made (as always) and well written critique. For me, it will always be Cronenberg's version. I first saw that film when I was eleven and it shocked the living hell out of me. That scene with Geena Davies in labor stays with you for a long long time. The Fly was the film that Cronenberg, Goldblum, and even Davies were born to make (yes even more so than Thelma & Louise) The effects really do hold up, and its strange that even though general special effects have advanced, and at times destroyed cohesive story telling, make up is the one area that needs to be left alone and be done to old fashioned physical way. Sure mo cap certainly does have its advantages, but transformation scenes are better done in the old school way. One transformation scene that really sealed the argument for me was the one at the ending of the fourth Harry Potter film, it was awful.

    Every genre has its remakes, and when it comes to horror, The Fly, and John Carpenter's The Thing, are the remakes that are always mentioned. Generally, for me, if a great filmmaker is behind the remake, then there is a chance that it might turn out good or even better the original. But due to the redundancy that remakes have received, sometime you can't help but cry out that the originals should be left alone, and the horror genre is the one genre that keeps getting recycled. Just look at the recent remake of Rosemary's Baby, awful, just awful.

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