Back on the writing horse! For movie #1 of the 2015 Marathon of 31 Movies in 31 Days is The Fly from 1958. This film, starring movie legend Vincent Price was actually based on a short story from Playboy Magazine written by George Langelaand. First of, you really don’t see anything being adapted from Playboy stories anymore. I feel like in the ’60s there were all sorts of original works adapted for television and film by Shel Silverstein and Kurt Vonnegut and Ian Fleming. Maybe there’s some quality content in Playboy magazine. Who knows?
The Fly features a great slowly progressing, non-linear storyline. It’s not a storytelling style that is in vogue today, and honestly, I have to be on my toes if I am watching a film like this. For all of the suspense that builds while you are waiting for the reveal, a part of me, in the back of my mind, was just ready for some action to happen already. Really, there wasn’t much action at all to my surprise, but some quality storytelling and suspense. In my opinion the reveal was worth the wait.
The effects were presented splendidly and even today don’t look hamfisted or cheesy, which is an impressive trait considering there are several movies from even the early 2000s that look dated. The Fly wasn’t terrifying to me, but it was a bit unsettling. The lighting was also great and the laboratory setup was quite impressive, especially given they only spend about $28,000 on it using mostly army surplus goods.
For the many superlatives I can think up for The Fly, I was disappointed that we didn’t see more from Vincent Price. He played a very regular businessman, and we didn’t see the range of his talent. It’s a real shame.
One thing The Fly helps me appreciate more is the story of Baxter Stockman from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The cartoon series was loaded with 50s sci-fi, horror, and B-Movie references, and Stockman’s backstory was an homage to this film. Unfortunately, now Tyler Perry is playing Stockman. I didn’t think I could hate the new iteration of the franchise more, but I do now.
Overall, I would denote The Fly a classic. I wasn’t enamored by it, but I enjoyed it and recommend watching it. You can see how this film was inspiration to others. I look forward to watching the ’80s remake, since I only can remember vague gruesome images from my childhood. I’ll try to watch the sequels as well if I can find them somewhere.
I give it 4 severed LEGO arms out of 5.