Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Fly (1958) Review

I had no knowledge of this film was before watching it, but I was amazed at how much I enjoyed the film despite how dated it is. It was good to see a film that had the very basics when it came to special effects yet still able create disturbingly chilling moments that still haunt people to this day... they even got me! 
  “The "help me, help meeeee" scene revolted and scared me so much as a young child that it was years before I could see this movie again. Even now I cringe when I witness that nightmarish scene. As good as Cronenberg's movie is (and it is very good), there is nothing that surpasses the delirious horror of the man-fly in the spider's grasp.” The nicknamed “Help me! Help meeee!” scene is one of the most disturbing scenes in the film, especially if you have a phobia of spiders. The camera angles and editing make you feel like your right in the web with Andre, the spider coming straight towards the camera cutting to shots of a helpless Andre screaming in a high pitched shrill “help me! Help meee.” The special effects for the human-fly consisted of Andre on a shape of some sort of shape that resembles a fly’s body, but from this basic picture of the situation you mind can still piece together the terror of being a spider’s prey.

There wasn’t much effort put into the design for the fly human genetic mutation because all the mutation consisted of was the fly and the scientist swapping heads and the special effects being a rubber mask and a glove. Although this sounds laughable, the reveal was still a chilling moment when the cloth is pulled from Andres head. Helene’s scream is what make this scene so iconic and it is quite disturbing when the scream is repeated and her face is multiplied through the ‘fly’s’ eyes. The famous scream has been spoofed in many films, like Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) being the most recent reference I can recall.
“If you watch this one expecting a sci-fi or horror spectacular, then you’ll be disappointed. If you’re more interested in psychological drama, then you might enjoy this fun, slightly campy film.” I feel this sums up the film nicely because it is defiantly not a film where special effects should be applauded but more of a film that relies on getting the audience getting drawn into the story and empathising with the scientist and his wife. Amongst all the seriousness of the film there were some moments in the script that were probably intended to be serious but came across as silly humour, in particular the scene where he explains to his wife the whereabouts of the cat...

Andre Delambre: [about the cat killed by the transporter] She disintegrated perfectly, but never reappeared. Helene Delambre: Where's she gone? Andre Delambre: Into space... a stream of cat atoms... “

I thought the story line was genius for its time with the concept of the teleportation machine, then something as small and trivial as a fly creating turmoil and chaos. The thought of being spliced with something as disgusting as a fly is just enough to bring the horror movie edge to the film. However towards the end of the film there was a point where I began to pity the scientist especially when I saw him lay himself under the press machine pointing his wife to the machine controls. The mood of this scene completely changed my perspective from the opening murder scene. On the other hand some critics see this as its down fall: “With such a dramatic opening "The Fly" has a lot to live up to and what emerges is a sad story of considerable pathos despite the ridiculous plot.” They see the change of mood as a disappointment when compared to the opening scene of the gruesome murder. Rather than building to a climax it turns into a decent as the story goes full circle.

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