The Fly (1986 film)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Fly is an American science fiction horror film released in 1986. Produced by Brooksfilms and 20th Century Fox, directed by David Cronenberg, and starring Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and John Getz, it is a big budget remake of the 1958 film of the same name, but with a substantially different plot. The soundtrack was composed by Howard Shore. This movie was shot in Toronto in 1985-1986.
As with many of Cronenberg's films, The Fly deals with themes of bodily disfigurement or metamorphosis and the darker aspects of human emotions and behavior. An underlying aspect of the story is the doomed love affair between Goldblum and Davis and the resulting rivalry between Goldblum and Getz.
The Fly was a box office success upon its release and was critically acclaimed in the press. A sequel, The Fly II was released in 1989.
At a meet-the-press party held by Bartok Science Industries, Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), a brilliant but eccentric scientist, meets Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis), a journalist for Particle magazine. Bartok Science Industries provides the funding for Brundle's work, and he tells Veronica that he's working on a project that will change the world. Intrigued, Veronica accompanies Brundle back to his warehouse laboratory (where he also lives) so that he can show her his invention: a set of "Telepods" that allows instantaneous teleportation of an object from one pod to another. Veronica is highly impressed and eventually agrees to document Seth's work. Although the telepods can transport inanimate objects perfectly, they do not work correctly on living things. Seth unintentionally experiences this horrific fact when he attempts to teleport a baboon, which is killed when it is reintegrated inside-out. Shortly thereafter, Brundle and Veronica begin a romantic relationship, and their first sexual encounter provides inspiration for Seth. He realizes that the machine is not perfectly reassembling living objects, but is rather "interpreting" them, and sets about reprogramming the telepod computer to cope with living flesh.
Seth then succeeds in teleporting a second baboon with no apparent harm. Flush with this success, he wants to spend a romantic evening with Veronica, but she suddenly departs before they can celebrate. Brundle's judgment soon becomes impaired by alcohol and his paranoid fear that Veronica is secretly rekindling her relationship with her editor and former lover Stathis Borans (John Getz). In reality, Veronica has left to confront Stathis about his continuing interference in her life, and his threat to reveal the existence of the telepods to the world prematurely. Unaware of all this, a drunk and jealous Brundle decides to teleport himself, partly due to the fact that the second baboon has shown no ill effects since being teleported. His last-ditch decision serves both as a way of getting back at Veronica for her imagined infidelity (she would miss a great moment in science) and also to provide the teleportation system with its first human subject. Just before the telepod door automatically closes, however, a common housefly slips into the pod, unseen by the distracted Brundle. After being teleported, Brundle emerges from the receiving pod, seemingly normal.
Shortly after his teleportation, Seth reconciles with Veronica, and eventually begins to exhibit a sense of intoxicating euphoria, as well as heightened strength, endurance, and sexual potency. However, he also becomes arrogant and violent, and when Veronica sees that something has gone wrong and refuses to allow herself to be teleported, Brundle abandons her, claiming that she cannot "keep up" with him. Brundle then meets a voluptuous and sleazy woman named Tawny at a bar, and arm wrestles with a burly man named Marky, with Tawny as the prize. After using his superhuman strength to give Marky's arm a compound fracture, Brundle takes Tawny home for the night.
The next morning, Veronica arrives at the warehouse in time to prevent Brundle from forcibly teleporting Tawny, telling her to "be afraid, be very afraid". After Tawny runs away, Veronica tries to warn Brundle that something is happening to him, but he throws her out of his warehouse and tells her never to return. After she leaves, however, Brundle is horrified to discover that his fingernails are beginning to fall off. Realizing that something went wrong during his first teleportation, Brundle checks his computer's records, and discovers that the telepod computer, confused by the presence of two separate life-forms in the sending pod, has merged him with the fly at the molecular-genetic level. He then realizes that he is slowly becoming a hybrid creature that is neither human nor insect (which the doomed Seth begins referring to as "Brundlefly").
After a month-long period of self-imposed isolation, a desperate Seth again reconciles with Veronica, but he has already begun to deteriorate, becoming progressively less human in appearance. He also quickly begins to exhibit fly-like characteristics, as when he becomes incapable of eating solids and must vomit digestive enzymes (which he refers to as "vomit-drop") onto his food in order to dissolve it. Soon, he discovers that he can even cling to walls and clambers around his lab upside-down. He also develops fly-like twitches and tics, and begins leaving his sloughed-off human body parts in his medicine cabinet, dubbing it "The Brundle Museum of Natural History". Brundle comes to realize that he is losing his human reason and compassion, and that he is now being driven by primitive impulses he cannot control. To her horror, Veronica learns that she is pregnant by Seth, and she cannot be sure if the child was conceived before or after his fateful teleportation.
Although Veronica visits Brundle to tell him about her pregnancy (and her intent to abort their possibly mutated child), she can't bring herself to do so. Outside Brundle's warehouse, Veronica begs Stathis to take her to a clinic so she can get an abortion, but Brundle overhears their discussion while watching them from the rooftop. Brundle then abducts Veronica from the clinic of Dr. Brent Cheevers (a friend of Stathis' who has agreed to perform the abortion), and begs her to carry the child to term, since it could potentially be the last remnant of his untainted humanity. Veronica sadly refuses, since she's afraid that the child will be a hideous mutant. The saddened Brundle takes her back to his warehouse.
Meanwhile, Stathis breaks into the lab and comes to Veronica's rescue, but is seriously injured and nearly killed by the almost fully-transformed Brundle, who dissolves Stathis' left hand and right foot with his corrosive vomit-drop enzyme. Stathis is spared from death only by the pleading of Veronica.
Brundle then reveals his desperate, last-ditch plan to Veronica: He will use the three telepods (the third pod being the original prototype) to fuse himself, Veronica, and their unborn child together into one entity, so they can be the "ultimate family", which the desperate Brundle believes will be "more human than I am alone". Veronica frantically resists Brundle's efforts to drag her into Telepod 1 and then accidentally tears off his jaw, triggering his final transformation. His body sheds its outer layer of decaying flesh, revealing the monstrous combination of man and insect that has been growing underneath it. The now-mute "Brundlefly" creature traps Veronica inside Telepod 1, then steps into Telepod 2. However, as the computer's timer counts down to the activation of the fusion sequence, the wounded Stathis manages to shoot the power cables connected to Veronica's telepod with his shotgun, severing Telepod 1's connection to the computer and allowing Veronica to escape unharmed. Seeing this, Brundlefly attempts to break out of its own telepod just as the fusion sequence occurs, and is gruesomely fused with chunks of metal and other components from Telepod 2. As the mortally wounded Brundlefly-telepod fusion crawls out of the receiving pod, it silently begs Veronica to end its suffering with the shotgun. A devastated Veronica hesitates for a moment, and then pulls the trigger, ending the life of her hideously-transformed lover.