I was a little pissed that our last Original Vs. Remake
ended in a tie, but as luck would have it, the readers weren't put off at all. We got many cool responses in regards to both versions of The Town That Dreaded Sundown. The meta remake actually did get a good amount of well-deserved love. It really is a solid slasher entry and the original was a very creative starting point.
Today, we will be tackling some teleportation with our latest O vs. R. Hopefully no insects get mixed in with the process. By now, you should know that The Fly shall be our test subject. There is a good number of decades between these two versions, which should make for an interesting comparison. So, throw some sugar in a bowl and make sure your molecules are properly aligned because it's time to get our buzz on!
A brilliant scientist has been strangely murdered and his wife is the main suspect. Looking to make sense of it all, the scientist's brother speaks with the wife to find out what exactly happened. She recounts to him the entire story involving the invention of a teleportation device and the pesky fly that got in the middle of things.
The basic structure from the original is used here and then David Cronenberg puts his sick, signature mark all over it. What's cool about the remake is we get way more time devoted to scientist Seth Brundle as he is transforming more and more into an actual human fly. It is friggin grotesque, but also super fascinating.
For a movie made in 1958, what little special effects there are on hand are still pretty good. There is actually some surprising gore in the beginning as the aftermath of an unfortunate pressing machine incident is shown. The look of the scientist with his fly head and hand is cheesy, but effective enough. The final image of that tiny man fly offers a fun jolt as well.
The make-up effects done on Jeff Goldblum are top notch (and Oscar winning). The closer he gets to becoming full-on "Brundle fly", the ickier it gets! The teleportation effect is also pretty damn cool with all that smoke and electricity. But nothing can top the gloriously gory display of what it would look like if a man was truly developing properties of a house fly.
The original has master thespian Vincent Price which is a huge plus. He can elevate anything, even though he isn't in the film that much. Thankfully, the rest of the cast is equally superb. David Hedison is fantastic as the ill-fated scientist with a zest for life. Patricia Owens is equally strong as his distraught wife. She really is the film's star and carries the proceedings wonderfully.
This remake is vintage Goldblum greatness. He is the entire show and it is a joy to watch. Nobody does super intelligent like this guy. He's beyond believable as a scientist, but what truly impresses are his actions once inflicted with the fly DNA. His work makes your skin crawl (as his is falling off). Geena Davis also does an excellent job as his hurt love interest.
Since this came out way back in 1958, most of the scariness has turned over to cheesiness, but for the sake of fair play, I'm betting that audiences shrieked many a time when first watching the film. For instance, when the scientist's wife rips that cover off his head to reveal the gigantic fly's head. I'm sure a nice jolt also came at the end when Vincent Price discovered what the spider was about to devour in its web.
I know some people that had to watch the last half hour of this movie with their eyes closed both because of all the intense shit going on as well as the grotesqueness of Goldblum's appearance. Things get edge of your seat freaky here, one of the worst parts being Geena Davis's baby larva dream. Any time Brundle fly attacks on screen is a wonderful example of true fright.
Patricia Owens is definitely old school beautiful with her blonde hair and lovely face. The role isn't overly glamorous or anything, though. No sex or skimpy outfits here. She is a mother. Plus, she is pretty distraught throughout most of the film.
Ah, Geena Davis, the young years. Her reporter character is one hot little cutie. She is definitely a treat for the test-tube holding scientist. Beautiful face, sexy body, and sultry voice. We are even gifted with a sweet love-making scene.
The one thing that Kurt Neumann does best is crafting an element of surprise and mystery. By starting the film after the majority of events have already happened, he creates a lot of questions in the viewer and then does a great job of revealing a little at a time to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. He has a gift for laying out a well-told story on screen.
This was master David Cronenberg in the middle of his 1980's genius renaissance. His work on The Fly is brilliant as he literally crafts a whole new form of terror. He almost makes you feel the horrific changes Seth Brundle is going through by his unabashed fearlessness to leave not a single icky ounce left to the imagination.
The Fly (1986)
I had a feeling that the remake would basically squash the original in this one. It really does an incredible job of building and improving upon 1958's source material. Goldblum is so amazing in the lead role, you just can't keep your eyes off him (even though at times, you're tempted to look away). How do you feel about the Fly films? Does the original hold a special place in your teleporter? Did the remake deserve this W? Kindly fire them bullets below! And if you have any flicks you'd like to see in this column, give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org