James Rolfe: It's Cinemassacre's "Monster Madness"! "The Fly" is a movie that's way ahead of its time. Most people only know about the 1986 remake or dismiss the original, thinking that it's just a cheesy B-movie. But no, that would be the sequel "Return of the Fly". The original is a classy, sophisticated film that warns the dangers of science.
Andre Delambre is the inventor of a teleportation unit. He lives a humble life with his wife and son, but he's obsessed with his work and is always in his basement trying to perfect his machine. When he eventually explains it to his wife and how it works, it draws the viewer in because it's such an ingenious idea. Instead of relying on cars and planes you'd just step into a teleportation machine. Your molecules would be broken into millions of pieces, sent through space and reform in the other machine.
But when Andre tests it on himself, his molecules merge with a fly that got into the machine with him. The movie is devoid of cliché; he doesn't run amok as an uncontrollable monster. He's still himself, but with the head and arm of a fly. He never shows his face and has to communicate visually which makes for a really good movie. His only hope to return to normal is to find the fly that got into the chamber so he can reclaim his own molecules. There's lots of close calls where his wife and son almost catch it. It's all around a very suspenseful and emotional film.
The sequel "Return of the Fly" is in black & white, which is strange considering that the first one was in color. Vincent Price plays the same role as Andre's brother, though the plot focusses on Andre's son, now grown up, who continues his father's work.
Francois Delambre: Philippe… It destroyed him. It could destroy you.
Philippe Delambre: He was careless. I won't be.
James (as Philippe turns into a fly): Whadda' you know? Another fly…
James (mimicking the fly as he runs through the woods bumping into trees): God, this damn fly mask… Ah, that's better. Now, where is that tree, where is it? Fuck! This fucking thing…
James: It's basically the poor-mans version of the first movie, but it's good old cheesy fun. "Curse of the Fly" is a very different movie. It's produced in England, there's no Vincent Price and there's no fly. But how many times could that happen anyway? It's an interesting movie worth checking out for curiosity's sake.
The 1986 remake, starring Jeff Goldblum, is more of a gross-out special effect movie that goes straight for shock value. But it still has some of the heart of the original and I consider it to be one of the best science fiction remakes along with John Carpenter's "The Thing". This time his change from man to fly happens gradually. We never actually see him in final fly-form until the very end, but when it happens… God damn, is it fantastic. It's very much in tune with the original how his face is never revealed until the last scene.
And also like the original it had a sequel, "The Fly 2". Like "Return of the Fly" it focuses on the son. This was a forgetful movie – not recommended. But in its final scenes it has some pretty good fly-action.
None of them surpass the ingenuity of the original. It was a huge step above most of the other monster movies at the time and it has been spoofed a lot. In the "Ninja Turtles" cartoon series the character Baxter Stockman is modeled right after him; a scientist that turns into a fly. In fact one of the episodes was called "Return of the Fly"; a direct inspiration from the original film sequel. Teleportation units seem like something that might actually happen in the future, but if it does happen… God forbid, keep those damn flies out.