The Why of The Fly

If you're a fan of The Fly movies, check this out: The cover story of the latest Rue Morgue issue is a retrospective devoted to the five Fly films. The retrospective's features include an interview with David Cronenberg, where he briefly mentions the "oblique" sequel script he has written to his 1986 version of The Fly, as well as a look back at the original Fly trilogy and its respective man-fly monstrosities. A noteworthy highlight in this issue is the interview with Chris Walas and Eric Stolz about The Fly II, which provides some fascinating insight into the production of this troubled sequel. Judging from Walas' comments about the original story that he had in mind, The Fly II could have been a much more worthy continuation of Cronenberg's movie had the studio heads just let him do what he wanted instead of forcing him to restructure his story to target a particularly desirable-yet-misunderstood audience demographic.

Not to be left out of this Fly fan fun, I figured that now would be a good time to post an article I wrote about Hollywood’s most infamous insect hybrid. Before I started blogging about all things monster movie related, I got my first movie monster article published in issue #116 of Filmfax magazine back in the fall of 2007. Having no idea how to get my fan appreciation-oriented writing published, I figured that I’d write about one of my favorite movie monsters in a way that would coincide with Fox Home Entertainment’s release of The Fly Collection, a four-disc DVD box set of the original Fly trilogy: The Fly (1958), The Return of the Fly (1959), and The Curse of the Fly (1965). The article was titled “The Multifaceted Fly”, and it examined one of the more unique horror/sci-fi trilogies in Hollywood history to understand why it continues to bug film fans to this day. Read on…

When I say that The Fly is one of my favorite movie monsters, what I really mean to say is that it was one of the few monsters that really terrified me when I was a kid. When I first began reading about classic movie monsters during the early 80s, The Fly was the only monster that I could truly call hideous, more grotesque and bizarre than any of the other classic monsters. Then there was the plot of The Fly movie, which made my kid-level brain reel. It was a nightmare like none of the other movies: to become an instant abomination as the result of an unexpected switch in body parts with an insect, and then to be stuck in a tiny web screaming “Help me!!!” over and over just moments before you are fed upon by a normal-sized spider that you would otherwise squash beneath your foot.

A resin garage model kit of the human-headed insect from The Fly.

The Fly was not about being stalked and killed by a monster; it was about disfigurement, degradation, insanity and helplessness all rolled up into one single film. Given these themes, The Fly's most logical companion film from the same decade would be The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). There have been other teleportation-related monstrosities lurking in the halls of classic horror, such as the title abominations such as The 4-D Man (1959) and The Projected Man (1966), but even with those pale in comparison to the tragic freak show that is The Fly.

“The Multifaceted Fly” examines the themes in each of the original Fly movies and why I think they hold together well as a complete trilogy. It also looks into the background of George Langelaan, the author of the short story upon which the first Fly film is based, to understand how he could have come up with such a wild concept as an insect-headed man. Click below to see JPG files of the article, or you can order the original issue at the Filmfax site.


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