Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Fly (1958)

Pretty Helene (Patricia Owens) kills her loving husband, but why? Francois (Vincent Price), the deceased's brother, wants to know. What follows is less sci-fi horror and more Victorian mystery. Finally, Helene is tricked into telling the story that we all know, whether or not we saw this or the many, many sequels and remakes.

But if not, I'm going to ruin it for you right here: Scientist Andre (David Hedison) is working on a machine to teleport matter. Refusing to experiment on animals, even insects, he jumps in himself. Unbenounced to him, a humble fly accompanies him in the chamber and their molecules are mixed up. Andre sports an inconveniently large head and creepy arm and somewhere out there is a little fly with a little human head. How cute.

Wifey goes crazy trying to find the fly in hopes of sending them both back through and straightening this matter out. But, sadly, time runs out and Dashing doctor bug-head is slowly being taken over by his insectoidal instincts. His last wish is to be killed and his body destroyed so nobody ever learns what happened. Good wifey crushes the good doctor in an industrial press. What a way to go.

The movie contains a total of two scenes that profess true horror lineage. The moment Helene sees her husbands true condition, and the subsequent shot of her in multi-part compound image format, and the climax scene in the spider web (Help meeeeeeee! Help meeeeeeeee!). Just about everything else is, as I said earlier, Victorian mystery. That said, if you didn't know the story (and, now you apparently do), the impact would have been significant. As for a modern viewer's reaction, it is well worth watching. Well made, well acted, and a true cultural icon. AMRU 3.5.

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