Friday, October 23, 2015

Day 5 of Halloween - The Fly (1958)

Jason: First of all, I hope that everyone watched the right iteration of this film. The one with Vincent Price, not Jeff Goldblum.  Now that we’ve gotten that straight…
This movie is considered to be a Halloween cult classic. It doesn’t have a whole lot in the way of scares or terror but it still remains a seasonal favorite. For the time, the make-up effects were decent. The way Andre’s fly head twitches and vibrates makes it look pretty convincing for a 1950’s puppet mask. The story, however, is what is so captivating. I have been reading a lot of Lovecraft stories lately and I couldn’t help but draw a comparison between them and this movie. The plot is very Lovecraftian. Let me explain: The main character is a highly intellectual recluse who spends most of his time in research. He stumbles across some natural secret that ultimately leads to his destruction. As he is trying to rectify his discovery, he slips farther and farther away from his humanity until he is completely mad, leading him to destroy himself on behalf of the rest of mankind. Even the structure of the story with the beginning being the end and all the meat of the story being a recollection told by someone else. This sort of story is a staple of early “weird tales” and science fiction. It is a story that has captured the minds of enthusiasts for decades.
Additionally, this movie has Vincent Price taking a bit of a departure from his usual work. Typically, he is the main character who dissolves into madness and ruin. He is very good at that type of character. In this, however, he is a secondary character who is only related to the crazy monster. It feels a little neutered for him but come on, it’s Vincent Price.
Sure, most of the acting is stiff and the talking scenes are drawn out. Yes, the end is a bit cheesy. But in light of all that this movie is still a Halloween must.

Joel: There are people who will watch this movie and call it dated. They’re not necessarily wrong. Movies from that era have a certain feel to them, the way that it’s shot the way the actors portray their characters. Dated is a very accurate way to describe the film, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad or unwatchable. It has the setup of a very classic noir film where it starts with the murder and then recounts what happened. (Though it does take a while for us to finally get to the flashback portion of the movie.) It’s a very slow, deliberately paced movie, which probably worked better in a world where the whole fly reveal hadn’t been already spoiled by pop culture. If I could recommend this movie, I would do it as a companion piece to the 1986 version of The Fly. It’s interesting to see two different takes, from two different writers, and directors, from two different eras  on the same basic concept.

Chris: Wait, people say the remake was worse? Seriously? How is that possible? Fine, that’s an unfair joke to make, I’m sure in 1958 people were beside themselves when watching this movie and it’s an interesting enough film, slowly putting the pieces together after you’re told the outcome in broad terms in the opening. And perhaps it’s just being so used to modern horror make-up/graphics but the spider web reveal at the end was hysterically bad. I will give the film some props in that not every single scene where something happens takes place at night or in the darkness. Perhaps maybe that would’ve helped the fly reveal at the end? Not putting that in broad daylight. In the end, the film was alright, I suppose but I wouldn’t exactly count that as me liking it. 0-4-1.

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