The 1958 version of The Fly falls somewhere between monster movie and giant insect movie, all while making a comment about the advancement of science and the pursuit of truth. I wasn’t there for the theatrical release, Christ, my mom was still in diapers, so I can’t exactly tell you if it terrified audiences when it came out, but society as a whole was a bit skittish back then, so it might have. It was, however, a commercial success with it’s $3 million take at the domestic box office (The Fly had less than a $500,000 budget).
The Kurt Neumann-directed film starred David Hedison, Patricia Owens, and none other thanlegend Vincent Price. James Clavell wrote the screenplay, which was based on the George Langelaan short story of the same name. For many reasons, The Fly hasn’t enjoyed the longevity of some of its contemporaries. It might have something to do with the special effects, or with the major continuity problem of Andre Delambre (David Hedison) intellect remaining in the fly’s enlarged head on his shoulders, but at the end that same intellect pleading “help me” from Andre’s shrunken head on the fly’s body.
The Fly did spurn two sequels, Return of the Fly (1959)and Curse of the Fly (1965), and a franchise rebirth by David Cronenberg with the 1986 remake.
As mentioned, David Cronenberg directed The Fly remake, released in 1986. It starred Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, and held to much of the same sci-fi points as the 1958 film, however, it was far more graphic and horrific. The make-up effects were staggering at the time, winning Chris Walas and Stephan Dupuis the Academy Award for Best Makeup. It was a critical and financial success, and although Cronenberg was going for a commentary on disease in general, along with aging and dying, critics of the time saw a cultural metaphor for AIDS. Makes sense since AIDS was being talked about constantly at the time. By contrast, I see a criticism toward corporate greed in the film as well.
Both films are fantastic and highly enjoyable. And as we’re asking you in the first week of our 31 Days of Scares leading up to 2013, which poster do you prefer, the original 1958 one or the 1986 one?