The Fly (1986) is one of the greatest remakes of all time. Director David Cronenberg took a simple monster movie and gave it a body horror twist. Similar to the 1958 original, I only ever watched the latter half of the remake. My mother actually recommended it since she remembers seeing in in theaters. Audiences were horrified, but The Fly (1986) became a surprisingly huge hit despite being a gory Cronenberg flick. The Fly (1986) follows American scientist Seth Brundle. The always eccentric Jeff Goldblum delivers a performance so good that it’s a wonder he wasn’t nominated for Best Actor.
The tragic romance of the original is increased with Brundle meeting journalist Veronica Quaife. It helps that Geena Davis was dating Goldblum at the time. Brundle introduces her to his Telepods. Teleportation is greatly improved with more modular pods that successfully transport matter. Flesh is a bit more tricky with disgusting tests performed on a baboon. The R rating is more than earned with Academy Award winning makeup. There’s also an emphasis on sex since the remake can be seen as a metaphor for aging. Veronica chronicles Seth’s work, but can’t shake her ex-boyfriend/co-worker Stathis Borans played by John Getz.
The primary difference between the original is a slower transformation. Brundle is fused with a fly and experiences a truly disgusting mutation. Goldblum is captivating as he first feels energetic, craves sugar, and has a high sexdrive. That’s where the iconic (and often out of context) line “Be afraid, be very afraid” comes in. It gets worse when he graphically breaks a man’s arm, develops thick hairs, walks on the walls, and his fingernails & teeth start falling out. More disgusting is the fly-like vomit he uses to eat. The most disturbing scene by far is a pregnant Veronica having a nightmare where she gives birth to a maggot. Brundlefly never produces wings, but he does become more hostile when attacking Stathis and finally becomes a monstrous fly. The Fly (1986) takes an icky concept and turns it into something poignant.