Sunday, October 26, 2008

HORROR EPICS: The Fly

THE FLY (1958)
One of the all-time classics, although I have to wonder if audiences in the ‘50s found The Fly as campy as we do fifty years later. They couldn’t possibly have taken this movie seriously. But surprisingly, it was better than I was expecting. Vincent Price co-stars in this sci-fi/horror saga of a scientist experimenting with a teleportation machine when he should be paying attention to his family instead. He doesn’t fit the mad scientist type, but I’d say killing the family cat while attempting feline teleportation is an early indicator. Using himself as a test subject is another, and this is when things go horribly wrong. When our doomed scientist gets into the teleportation chamber, a housefly joins him without his noticing. Their atomic patterns intermingle during the teleporting process, leaving the guy’s poor wife with the burden of dealing with this obvious dilemma. And you thought YOU had problems. Since these are dignified folks running around trying to catch the right fly to reverse the experiment, you really have no choice but to sit back and laugh at their predicament. It’s cheesy and melodramatic, even more so because the actors play it straight. The actual unveiling of the half-human/half-fly is priceless. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse...well, just listen for the words “...help me...help meeeeeeeeee!” Biological horror specialist David Cronenberg did a remake of The Fly nearly twenty years later, but it’s safe to say that he doesn’t exactly take the same approach with his version. Completely silly and not scary in the slightest, the 1958 original serves as an appropriate reminder of what horror movies used to be, and still are in some ways.

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