The Fly (1986)

Rating 18

Length 1Hr 36

Release 13.2.1987

About When scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) completes his teleportation device, he decides to test its abilities on himself. Unbeknownst to him, a housefly slips in during the process, leading to a merger of man and insect. Initially, Brundle appears to have undergone a successful teleportation, but the fly’s cells begin to take over his body. As he becomes increasingly fly-like, Brundle’s girlfriend (Geena Davis) is horrified as the person she once loved deteriorates into a monster.


The Good

  • The makeup and visual effects are incredible. Repulsive in some respects, but they certainly stand up to a modern viewing. From Seth’s mottled and sickly looking skin to his complete metamorphosis, it’s compelling and scary to see.
  • Jeff Goldblum and his ticks and twitches in particular. I do wonder if it’s his role here that put him up for consideration in Jurassic Park. There are similarities within the characters and the only difference being; Ian Malcolm would have predicted all this chaos. Goldblum has been long established as a loveable kook for me, that seeing him in this very different role helps bring the horror alive.
  • I love that Seth has a better outline plan of action than a Tory government. Something I thought right before he tells Veronica he wants to be the first insect politician. I giggled way too much at myself for that.
  • John Getz wins me over by the end of the film. I can’t remember what else I’ve seen him in, but the word ‘sleaze’ comes to mind and that’s before you consider the ‘Han’s buddy’ beard he has going on. Sleaze is actually right. He’s a knob to Veronica and I hate him for about two thirds of the movie. However, he really turns it around.

The Bad

  • There’s less Science and more about the relationship between Seth and Veronica. While it certainly makes for a better horror, I personally didn’t care for it.
  • The timeframe seems off, making the relationship seem overly toxic, without the whole spontaneously mutating into a psychotic insect. I know there’s a comment close to the end of the film about how a month has passed, but early on it seems like a day goes past and they’ve gone from bed buddies to an old married couple holidaying to Florida.
  • Not sure how I feel about the narrative commentary of Veronica having to tell Seth about her intended abortion. I know it’s necessary for the cause and effect to lead to the final act, but I’m very uncomfortable with it when he’s shown violent predator behaviour. Without getting bogged down in gender politics, I think it’s fair to say that if you’re beau has become a mutation that vomits over his own food and scared the bejesus out of you, you can wave the ‘conversation’.

  • I can see how the film is interpreted as a commentary of the AIDS crisis, however it is self evident that the commentary is much too broad for this to be the case. It’s a shame, as if they went in with intention, it could have made an excellent theme. That said, we have werewolves for that.

The Ugly

  • The gore was too much for me. Made me physically sick and it’s the first time during this advent I’ve had to look away from the screen.
  • The maggot baby birth! Holy fuck, that was horrific. Perhaps it has more impact on a woman but that was a visual I could have done without.

Final Thoughts

It’s a well made film that had proven my theory that I am indeed a pussy when it comes to gory horrors. It’s like Captain America gone wrong, way way wrong.

2 thoughts on “The Fly (1986)”

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