Countdown, Day 24: The Fly

Speaking of 1980s body horror, I can’t make a list of great horror without including The Fly (1986, dir. David Cronenberg). I teach this film every chance I get because it is amazing. It takes what could be a hokey premise, a premise that everyone at this point knows and has probably seen satirized (as in The Simpsons), and develops it into something genuinely horrific and thought-provoking.

the fly poster

Seth Brundle’s transformation into Brundlefly, his loss of humanity, is disgusting on a visceral level. The scene where he peels off his fingernails is almost too much to take, for instance. But, on the other hand, Jeff Goldblum in this film is weirdly seductive. And alongside this mix of embodied repulsion and attraction there’s also the intellectual: What makes us human? What is the relationship between human and nonhuman? What are (or should be) the limits of scientific experimentation?

I’m an insect who dreamt he was a man and loved it. But now the dream is over… and the insect is awake.

Earlier countdown entries:

  1. Night of the Living Dead, dir. George Romero (1968)
  2. Dawn of the Dead, dir. George Romero (1978)
  3. Invasion of the Body Snatchers, dir. Philip Kaufman (1978)
  4. Get Out, dir. Jordan Peele (2017)
  5. Hellraiser, dir. Clive Barker (1987)
  6. Psycho, dir. Alfred Hitchcock (1960)
  7. The Birds, dir. Alfred Hitchcock (1963)
  8. Jaws, dir. Steven Spielberg (1975)
  9. Teeth, dir. Mitchell Lichtenstein (2007)
  10. Candyman, dir. Bernard Rose (1992)
  11. Creep, dir. Patrick Brice (2014)
  12. The Wicker Man, dir. Robin Hardy (1973)
  13. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, dir. Tobe Hooper (1974)
  14. Cabin in the Woods, dir. Drew Goddard (2012)
  15. Suspiria, dir. Dario Argento (1977)
  16. The Witch, dir. Robert Eggers (2015)
  17. Rosemary’s Baby, dir. Roman Polanski (1968)
  18. The Babadook, dir. Jennifer Kent (2014)
  19. It Follows, dir. David Robert Mitchell (2014)
  20. Carrie, dir. Brian de Palma (1976)
  21. Ginger Snaps, dir. John Fawcett (2000)
  22. American Werewolf in London, dir. John Landis (1981)
  23. The Thing, dir. John Carpenter (1982)

5 thoughts on “Countdown, Day 24: The Fly

  1. Pingback: Countdown, Day 25: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night | Dr. Christy Tidwell

  2. Pingback: Countdown, Day 26: It Comes at Night | Dr. Christy Tidwell

  3. Pingback: Countdown, Days 27 & 28: Zombies (Again) | Dr. Christy Tidwell

  4. Pingback: Countdown, Days 29 & 30: South Korean horror | Dr. Christy Tidwell

  5. Pingback: Countdown to Halloween, Day 31 | Dr. Christy Tidwell

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