“Be afraid. Be very afraid.” This quote originates with David Cronenberg’s The Fly. Of course, after watching the original, how could I not watch its successful remake? I initially saw this one upon its 1986 release in a Boston theater. I hadn’t seen it in some 35 years but some of the scenes were as fresh in my memory as if I’d seen it last year. It’s safe to say that it made an impression on me. Even usual critics of horror gave the film high marks. Both it and its predecessor with the same title were quite successful in the financial department and became part of popular culture. The remake ends without the philosophical statement of Vincent Price in the original, choosing despair instead. I’ve never seen the sequel.
I picked this up as a used DVD many years ago. Mainly I wanted to have it on hand in case the mood struck to see it again. I did recall that, as a Cronenberg film, it was a gross-out of body horror. So much so that it’s difficult to classify it as science fiction. It, along with its near contemporary Alien, demonstrated that the fusion of the genres was possible. Perhaps inevitable. At the same time, movies, like most other media, have proliferated to the point that such standouts are rare. Yes, there are still Academy Awards and Golden Globes, but who but a professional can see all the offerings out there? It feels like we’ve moved beyond the time when a movie could define a generation. But on a deeper level, that’s why The Fly is about.
We, on the far end from the white male oligarchs, are blending. We’re no longer simply accepting what we’re told. We’re becoming more global and more people are starting to break into the power structures. Even if they sometimes transform if they do. I saw a recent newspaper article about what to do with your second home, as in decorating it. Second home? The majority of us are having trouble up keeping our one home, and that’s if we’re even owners. Society needs a telepod. The end results may be messy, for sure, but we need to stop thinking in exclusive terms. Cronenberg indicated back in the eighties that the movie was about disease and aging and letting those we love go. That gives the film its poignancy, in a kafkaesque way. At the same time it may be a teaching tool. Yes, we can be afraid, very afraid, and still learn.