Friday, October 8, 2010

Film #44: The Fly (1958)

“I tell ya, these molecular gastronomy restaurants are the worst!
I went into one the other day and ordered the soup.
What arrived was a bowl of murky dishwater with an insect floating in the middle.
I says, 'Waiter! There’s a fly in my soup!'
He picks out the bug and goes, 'Oh, that’s right, you ordered this vegetarian.
The fly is an extra $13 bucks!'

Seeing a fly doing backstrokes in your broth bowl is pretty bad. But what’s even worse: a fly in your husband! Just ask Helene Delambre, the tragic foil of this week’s buggy ‘50s flick, “The Fly.”

Helene once had it all, a genius mad-scientist husband named Andre, an annoying tween son who loved wearing short pants, and “more money than they knew what to do with.”
But mad-scientists will be mad-scientists, and an experiment gone wrong soon destroys their happy little family. Serves those goofs right, trying to be happy! Like flies to sh*t, seems mad scientists flock to disaster.

Andre has been furiously working for months trying to perfect a matter transporter device for the government, which instantly sends objects from one location to another. (You know, like beam me up Scotty, minus the Shatner).
The device deconstructs an item’s atoms in one machine, and beams them across space at the speed of light where they are reconstructed by a second transporter.

After a few failed experiments produced some distorted transports, Andre works day and night to perfect his machine.
Just think of the possibilities, he says to Helene. Famine would be eliminated by instantly shifting surpluses of food to starving areas. Travel times would be cut to zero, and best of all, that weird uncle you thought you got rid of when he moved to Florida can now visit instantly, any time or day!
Hmmm, on second thought, maybe this machine wasn’t such a good idea.

And it wasn’t, as Andre finds out when the idiot decides to give the transporter a spin himself. The first time works like a charm, all his atoms assembled in all the right places (and we mean all the right places, Meowwwwwwwww!).
But during the second trip, a fly accidently enters the transporter with him! When Andre emerges on the other side, he’s turned into a half-man, half-fly monstrosity! Worse yet, the fly has also taken Andre’s left-over human features. Needless to say, this really bugs his wife (rimshot!)

The only hope for scientific-redemption is to send both the human-fly and fly-human through the transporter and hope their pieces get properly reassembled. But when the fly escapes the lab, it is a race against time for Helene, who is charged with finding the fly and rescuing her husband.

The more time goes on, the more fly-like her husband becomes (and vice-versa with our transported, winged fiend). Seems time does fly when you are also NOT having fun (cricket, cricket, hello, is this thing on?).
In other news, Vincent Price shows up in this picture too as Andre’s love stricken brother… if that does anything for you (it should, Price is priceless!).

Break out the oversized flyswatter for the 1958 color classic, The Fly.

RDHP Ratings and Review

C-Rating: 4.6
Chris Dimick buzzzzzzes:
“Chills. That’s what I want from a movie. Call it what you want, spine-tingles, excited shuttering, spidey-sense twinges: it is that electric, nerve-shattering sparkle that starts at the base of your skull, shoots down your back, and slowly spreads to the appendages.
Chills come from seeing something so exciting, horrifying, amusing, or poignant that it causes a physical reaction in mimic of your hyper mental state.

Every time I watch The Fly, or more specifically, one scene from the movie, I get these horrific/awesome chills.
After watching hundreds of horror movies, it takes something special to give me chills.

Granted, movie chills can come from viewing any genre of film. But eliciting audience chills in a horror movie takes particular skill. You can’t rely on the heart-warming, the painfully ironic, or the hilarious, which commonly spawn chills in dramas and comedies.
In horror, chills are caused by showing something extremely traumatizing and/or primal-level-frightening – however, it can’t stop there.
The audience has to identify with the horror, get sucked into situation and its participant’s mental state. They have to feel the moment.
That is where chills are born, in a visceral state where for just an instant, the movie becomes reality, and the viewer can experience the scene.

I’ve seen The Fly multiple times, and that one scene in the movie gives me this experience every single time. I got them when I first saw this movie as a single digit tike sneaking horror movies behind my parent’s back. I still remember the exact place I got them again as a 16-year-old watching this movie. And during this viewing, like an old friend thought long dead, the glorious chills walked back into my life (for the record, last time I got chills from a horror movie was ‘Let the Right One In’).

Best of all during this viewing, I got to see the look on Nick’s face when this “chill-sequence” took place. Having never seen the movie, Nick was quite moved, and it was awesome to see a fellow horror-brother experience the fun of The Fly for the first time. (He had the same pleasure pre-RDHP when we screened ‘Sleepaway Camp,’ and, being my first time, I nearly had a chill-induced screaming/heart-attack fit during a “special” scene.)

You are probably thinking, ‘Well a-hole, just what IS this scene that has you all moist!?”
Sorry Bucko. I can’t tell you which scene gives me chills, because that would be denying you the opportunity to experience it for yourself.
Describing it would ruin it, and getting the chills from a horror movie is such a special moment in life, I’d not dare deny anyone that.

And you know, what gives this guy chills might make that guy spit-take laugh. To each his own… best to just watch the movie and see if you get the same reaction. You’ll know the scene when you see it, whether it induces chills in you or not.

For those who have seen this movie before… you know what I’m talking about. Close your eyes, picture the words “The Fly,” and what scene comes to mind (no cheating thinking about the gross-out Cronenberg remake). Oh yeah, yep, you can see that scene so clearly you can probably even describe its colors.

Thank you, The Fly, for continuing to horrify me many times over. Until we meet again, I’ll have to go back to getting my chills from pictures of Hillary Clinton. You know, because she is so frigid and… oh never mind!”

N-Rating: 4.3

Nick Rich buzzzzzzes:
“I know it must start to sound like a pat on the back party reading our reviews sometimes, but once again I must agree with Chris's assessment - this time of the "chill-factor". It is a big reason why I love horror movies! I won't regurgitate (although with this week's movie being The Fly that might be strangely appropriate) what Chris said about chills, but I would like to touch quickly upon how The Fly employed its chilly-ness.

You see, gentler reader, some movies seep you in mood and baste you in suspense - and this can be quite an effective recipe for horror - but other films take a different page from the cookbook of horror: the out of left field approach. This approach can be quite risky, but when done right can also pay off quite nicely.

The Fly employs this technique almost to perfection. As you watch this film, you'll think to yourself "oh this is a fun little 50's movie, how quaint!" You'll enjoy the sheer 50s-ness of it: the speak of technology almost as if it's magic, the fashion (the wife in this movie is quite the fabulous dresser), and how the gadgets look like something you see at your local 7-11 - then BAM!

Just like a fly buzzing along suddenly meets their doom in a passing windshield you're splattered with the chill-factor; and it's so horrifically sweet. You may end up watching this flick and think, "Man! Chris and Nick don't know what they're talking about! This movie was lame! There was no Rob Zombie music or demons that ate people's souls..." and for you I would weep. For you do not know or appreciate true horror - horror like you will find in The Fly.

Nick's Five Reasons Why It Would Be Weird To Live In The 50's:
-It was still acceptable to have servants who called you "master."
-The #1 hobby of little boys was using insect nets to catch, you guessed it, insects.
-Neon signs were only used in mad scientist's labs (how could people tell when things were open?!?)
-Stereo sound. OooooooOOOOooooooo!
-Vince Price wasn't that old dude from Thriller yet.

Bonus 'props' of the week:
Just when you thought I was through giving a shout-out to The Fly I have to give it one last kudos: stereo sound. From my recollection The Fly is the first film film in the project (chronologically by year) to effectively employ this modern, commonplace, staple. Not only did it employ it, but it employed it well! Throughout the film, its subtle usage caused me to unconsciously feel more immersed in the film. You GO The Fly! Show these youngin' films they ain't got game!

The Skinny: Check this flick out! It's a great example of creature feature horror - I wish I had seen it years ago! See what all the buzz is about! (Yes, I ended on that note.)”

Quote of the Viewing:
[While trying to determine just went down in the Delambre home, the police inspector questions Francois Delambre about his brother’s scientific experiments.]
Inspector: "Did your brother ever experiment with animals?"
Nick: "Well, maybe in college."

Things We Learned from “The Fly”:
-In French Canada, even kids drink wine with dinner.
-Destroying animals would be funny, “if life weren’t so scared.”
-The 1950s were a scary place, due to rockets and satellites.
-People wanted flat-screen TVs more than matter transporters in 1958.
-If turned into a fly, best to just get drunk on milk-laced rum.
-“The search for the truth is the most important work in the world, and the most dangerous.”
-Police inspectors are not science fiction enthusiasts.
-Women lounged around in heels in the ‘50s.-Really good computers have lots of neon features.
-True love in a relationship is determined by a lack of mistresses and lovers.
-Guinea pigs are actually used as guinea pigs.
-The high socks and high shorts look never worked:

RDHP Presents:
Benefits of Being a Fly
Everyone’s butt gets sore in this movie after Andre Delambre become combined with fly-DNA. But what is with all this negativity! Being a fly would be awesome, and here is why…

Pixelated Vision
This would probably help in many situations. Like when you are trying to see the “hidden sailboat” in those lame-ass 1990s computer generated posters, or when seeing just one of something is not enough – you know, like when looking a nice rack or gentleman bulge (depending on your fancy).

Ability to Fly
I mean, it is right there in the insect’s name… it is their whole friggin' name: fly! So, they must enjoy it, and so would you.

Can Be a Fly on the Wall
It’d no longer be a horribly lame expression, but a way of life. Think of all the gossip you’d hear. That gossip girl is gonna be soooo jealous when she finds out I have the scoop on Britney, oh yes sir!

Increased Love of Feces
I mean, sure, we like excrement now. But as a fly it would be our FAVORITE! That’s just neat.

Shorter Life Span
The common house fly lives for about a month. That is about the right amount of time to live in this fly-infested hell hole of a world. Sorry, we forgot to take our Xanax today. (Plop-plop, fizz-fizz, there we are!) WE MEAN, A SHORTER LIFE SPAN WILL MEAN YOU’D HAVE TO LIVE EACH DAY LIKE IT WAS YOUR LAST. OH SO HAPPY! MY SMILES HURT!

Starring Role in Cool "Cars" Video
You might think we’re crazy, but we think being in this Cars video would be the shit! Only way to do it would to become a half-man, half-fly.

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