Thursday, 30 September 2010
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
|image copyright Brooksfilms|
It must be said at this point that this film is considerably more gory than the original picture, a contrast that is well illustrated by the fate of the first animal test subject. In the original film, the scientist tries out the teleporter with his pet cat, which unfortunately fails to rematerialise, disappearing into the aether with a haunting wail. In this film however, the scientist chooses to experiment with a baboon. Whilst the baboon does successfully rematerialise in the second teleportation pod, as the smoke clears, it is revealed that the unfortunate creature has arrived inside out, living just long enough for it's horrific death spasms to be captured in all their bloody glory by director David Chronenberg.
|Image copyright Brooksfilms|
However, while the special effects are stunning (and disturbing), they cannot rescue a plot that was described by the New York Times film reviewer, Caryn James, as "a film that tries to be too many things at once - funny but not campy, sad and scary, a horror story and a human tragedy". The story is most successful when depicting the relationship between scientist Seth Brundle (Geoff Goldblum), and the reporter Veronica Quaife (Geena Davies), particularly the tension that Veronica feels as the man that she is in love with starts to transform into a hideous, subhuman monster.
|image copyright Brooksfilms|
Friday, 24 September 2010
Thursday, 23 September 2010
|Image copyright Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation|
The basic plot is one of a brilliant scientist, who accidentally discovers the secret of teleportation, and in the process of attempting to perfect it, has his head and left arm swapped with those of a house fly which has accidentally been teleported along with him. Whilst this is often dismissed as logically flawed - why is the fly head human sized, instead of housefly sized; why is the exterior transformation instant, but the mental metamorphosis slow, the fly's instincts slowly asserting themselves - but this can be explained by thinking of the transformation not as a strait swapping of body parts, but rather a patterning error, of the type seen earlier on when a teleported ashtray emerges "back to front", with the writing on the back reversed.
Although the dialogue can feel dated in places, especially when dealing with attitudes to women, another important part of this film is the high quality of acting, with all the characters beautifully portrayed with a delicacy that makes them believable, with none of the overacting that mars many "monster horror" films. As Brandt Sponseller says in his Classic-Horror.com review, "(Vincent Price)’s portrayal of the brother-in-law has just the right combination of emotions to capture a man who just lost his brother to a possibly insane sister-in-law who he loves as much as his brother and his nephew"
Overall, this film does not conform to "monster movie" stereotypes, with very few gratuitous "surprise shocks", relying instead on the beautifully realised portrayal of the psychological impact of the transformation on both the main character, Helena Delambre, and the victim, her husband Andre. Although it starts out with an unusually gruesome (especially for the time) scene, where Andre is found crushed under a hydraulic press, and Helen confesses to killing him, as the film progresses we come to see that this was not an act of violence, rather an act of love; Andre having chosen to die this way rather than place his family in danger from the bestial instincts of the fly.
|image copyright Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation|