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Friday — May 27th, 2022: Well well well, another fantastic week in the books! [READ MORE]

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The Fly


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๐ŸŽ™️ EPISODE 461: 05.06.22

We are dropped straight into the insular world of The Fly without warning. Jeff Goldblum, as the wacky scientist Seth Brundle, meets a journalist named Veronica (Geena Davis) at a gala/convention and they immediately go to Seth's creepy warehouse lab. This is a major departure from the Cronenberg's typical M.O. featuring layered action and plot, many characters and various settings. It makes what we're about to witness, perhaps the most insane body horror he's ever captured (and that's saying something!) feel all the more personal. There are really only three characters in this film: Seth, Veronica and Veronica's boss/ex-boyfriend, Stathis Borans, who is not named after a character in Game of Thrones . This is, of course, only if we aren't counting Goldblum and Davis's very 80s hairstyles as their own characters...

Goldblum is perfect in this role and it makes you wonder why he hasn't been cast to play every wacky scientist in every movie ever made. I mean, it's just my 2¢, but I think every movie should have Jeff Goldblum playing a wacky scientist regardless of the genre, OK? He's also a pretty smooth piano player...


Goldblum's Seth is working on a top-secret project to invent teleportation. And, gob dang it, is he ever close to cracking it wide open! As of right now, however, he can only teleport inanimate objects (the machine doesn't like flesh). So he teleports Veronica's sexy stocking to show her that it works.

Following right in step with Cronenberg's other recent work, this one does not jump through hoops so that science "makes sense." This is such an improvement. The film never gets bogged down with extraneous dialogue and WTF exposition. He's finally letting the B-Movie just be a B-Movie, only he's elevating it with both and his and his collaborators' expert skill. It's so much more fun this way.

Seth confronts Veronica at her boss's office because he doesn't want her to write about his work until its finished and working. And also, CHEESEBURGER...


Goldblum is not exactly charming in any traditional sense as the lead, but he has a certain something you can't put your finger on. He's one of those rare actors (like Cage or Walken) who can act most any part whilst still retaining their own weird persona/energy without letting it get in the way. And Geena Davis is fantastic in this too. It's so nice to see top tier actors in their prime buying in completely to a story as over-the-top as this one is.

Seth convinces Veronica to hold up on writing the story in favor of documenting his work until its complete for a book. He then cooks a live baboon in the teleportation pod as she films it. Whoops....


You could just get a baboon for your strange warehouse experiments in the 80s. It's no big deal. Veronica questions Seth on tape about what went wrong...


Later that night, Seth and Veronica hook up, then he sends a piece of raw meat through the pods, cooks it and makes Veronica eat it...


This sets off a lightbulb about teaching the computer the "poetry of the flesh" (sure, that'll do) and Seth is on his way to inventing teleportation. Meanwhile, Stathis is suspicious of his ex/subordinate and he follows her and confronts her in a clothing shop and basically acts like a jealous pyscho...


Seth quickly fixes the machine and is ready to sacrifice try again with Baboon #2 (where are they getting all of these apes!)...


And hooray! They did it! Teleportation is real!!! They pop champagne and get ready to party. Seth wonders aloud if "this is a romance they're having," but the bliss is cut short when a mysterious package arrives sent by Stathis containing a mockup for a cover story on the experiments. This is a nice looking cartoon Goldblum imo....


Veronica takes off abruptly without letting Seth see it in order to squash the publication with Psycho Stathis. A distraught and lonely Seth continues to guzzle champagne and has a heart-to-heart with Baboon #2 as a pesky fly makes its presence known...


A fully drunk Seth says fuck it and decides to teleport himself. So he drops trou and jumps in the pod and launches the device without realizing a little tiny stowaway snuck inside...


Veronica returns and she's upset that Seth went through the machine without her there, but he says "don't worry about it, it's cool, I was drunk, and I filmed it so you can watch it later if you want" and we get the first indication something ain't right...


Then Cronenberg comes through with the most tasteful no-nip sideboob ever captured on celluloid (SORRY)...


Seth wakes up in the middle of the night and a body double does an insane gymnastics routine around the lab. Yeah, I'm thinking something's not quite right. The next morning he pours a pound of sugar into his cappuccino and rambles like a madman as a confused Veronica listens wearing an adorable beret...


The transition to part-fly, part-man briefly turns Seth into a vociferous sex machine so he and Veronica go back to the lab to bone for hours on end. She stops the bone sesh when she notices coarse hair and acne on his body. Seth tries to get her to go through portal but she's being a "fucking drag" ...


They get into a bit of tiff about whether or not he's OK and he stomps off mad as hell looking for some more lady action. Veronica is able to snap one of the strange hairs before he leaves, though. He ends up at a bar wearing a leather jacket with no shirt underneath and promptly half-rips a man's hand off his wrist in an arm wrestling contest...


He steals the girlfriend of that dude and brings her back to the lab. He teleports again for no real reason before having sex with this chick. Seth tries to get her to go into the teleportation pod but Veronica shows up and Seth makes a really bad (awesome) joke...


Seth begins to realize that something might be wrong after all when he hears about the lab results on his stolen hair. That and also his face is starting to get real fucked up looking too...


Maybe the biggest gap in logic (not that it really matters, mind you) happens next, as Seth only now decides to check the computer to see what the hell went down during his initial teleportation. And the results are definitively BRUNDLE-FLY...


There's a four-week time jump after that fade-out and Seth calls Veronica telling her that things are much worse and, well, she should just come over and see for herself...


Then Seth, I mean BRUNDLE-FLY, vomits on a donut...


The next time Veronica sees BRUNDLE-FLY he's crawling all over the walls with some nice, simple practical FX. Sure, he was using a cane in the previous scene, but we all react to turning into a fly differently. This is a safe space and I'm not here to judge how any one transitions into half-human, half-fly...


If you were confused about why he puked on that donut earlier, don't worry: he shoots an explanation video about how he eats food now and Veronica shares it with Stathis...


Just when you think things couldn't get any worse, Veronica reveals that she's pregnant and she has a horrifying dream about Stathis forcing her to get an abortion and guess who the gynecologist is in this dream sequence? That's right, Mr. David Cronenberg himself, THE ACT•OR! And he helps Veronica abort her weird worm larva child thing ...


This is DC's first role outside of playing an infected zombie extra in Shivers and apparently wearing the giant VR helmet in Videodrome. He would of course go onto act in a several other things over the years, but this is notable as the only prominent performance in one of his own films.

Veronica then returns to the lab and Seth's mutation has advanced yet again. He's essentially unrecognizable now...


She leaves wanting an abortion ASAP after seeing that freak show and tells Stathis, but BRUNDLE-FLY overhears their conversation. Whoops. They find a "middle of the night abortion doctor" played by Leslie Carlson in his third straight Cronenberg movie (best known as Barry Convex in Videodrome), and they are about to get to abortioning when BRUNDLE-FLY jumps through the window and kidnaps Veronica...


Seth pleads with her to keep the baby because it's all that's left of him. Meanwhile. Stathis gets a massive shotgun and heads to the lab to save Veronica. But BRUNDLE-FLY gets the jump on him and vomit-disintegrates his hand and one of his feet. (Disclaimer: These last few clips are epically nasty, but if you've gotten this far, you probably know that)...


Seth gets the idea to fuse himself with pregnant Veronica by having them each enter a pod and teleport into a third pod (OK sure, that checks out). But as he does this, he transforms yet again and it is a magnificent and legendary work of art as far as practical FX movie-making goes...


Stathis is able to shoot at the machine partially disabling it and free Veronica. BRUNDLE-FLY is instead fused together with part of the teleportation pod? Anyway, Veronica is fine (albeit still pregnant with this mutated freak's baby) and Seth is now a slithering monster that just wants to die. Veronica begrudgingly obliges and that is how the movie ends: with a spectacular shotgun blast exploding this creature's head, a fade to black and a special shout-out to Chris Walas, Inc. for creating THE FLY...


This is a true classic and could easily end up at #1 on any ranking of Cronenberg's films. I personally found Videodrome to be slightly better, both more fun and more original, but The Fly is right up there. It also seems to bookend this body horror phase of his career, as — though I haven't seen any of the next several films yet — he goes more into the psychological rather than the physical. I can't wait to check them out.

๐šƒ๐š‘๐š’๐šœ ๐š’๐šœ ๐š๐š‘๐šŽ 10th ๐š’๐š—๐šœ๐š๐šŠ๐š•๐š•๐š–๐šŽ๐š—๐š ๐š˜๐š ๐™ฒ๐š‘๐š›๐š˜๐š—๐šŽ๐š—๐š‹๐šž๐š›๐š – ๐š–๐šข ๐šŒ๐š‘๐š›๐š˜๐š—๐š˜๐š•๐š˜๐š๐š’๐šŒ๐šŠ๐š• ๐š ๐šŠ๐š๐šŒ๐š‘/๐š›๐šŽ๐š ๐šŠ๐š๐šŒ๐š‘ ๐š˜๐š ๐™ณ๐šŠ๐šŸ๐š’๐š ๐™ฒ๐š›๐š˜๐š—๐šŽ๐š—๐š‹๐šŽ๐š›๐š'๐šœ ๐š๐š’๐š•๐š–๐š˜๐š๐š›๐šŠ๐š™๐š‘๐šข. ๐™ฒ๐š•๐š’๐šŒ๐š” ๐š‘๐šŽ๐š›๐šŽ ๐š๐š˜๐š› ๐š๐šž๐š•๐š• ๐š›๐šŠ๐š—๐š”๐š’๐š—๐š ๐šŠ๐š—๐š ๐š–๐š˜๐š›๐šŽ...

CHRONOLOGICALLY
EPISODE 460 - (YOU ARE HERE) - EPISODE 462 ⫸

The Fly is a 1986 American science fiction-horror film directed and co-written by David Cronenberg. Produced by Brooksfilms and distributed by 20th Century Fox, the film stars Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and John Getz. Loosely based on George Langelaan's 1957 short story of the same name and the 1958 film of the same name, The Fly tells of an eccentric scientist who, after one of his experiments goes wrong, slowly turns into a fly-hybrid creature. The score was composed by Howard Shore and the make-up effects were created by Chris Walas, along with makeup artist Stephan Dupuis. It was released on August 15, 1986.

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