William Blake (1757-1827)

Little Fly
Thy summer's play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath,
And the want
Of thought is death;

Then am I
A happy fly.
If I live,
Or if I die.

Science fiction/horror movie released in 1958. Directed by Kurt Neumann and written by James Clavell, based on a story by George Langelaan. Starred David Hedison as Andre Delambre, Patricia Owens as Helene Delambre, Vincent Price as Fran├žois Delambre, and Herbert Marshall as Inspector Charas. Hedison's scientist experiments with teleportation and accidentally gets his head and arm switched with a fly.

The film is actually a bit dull--there's little action, fewer scares, and Price plays a fairly milquetoast good guy. The makeup isn't too impressive either. The best moments include: what happens to the cat after Hedison teleports it; Hedison sucking down his meals; and the famous scene with the scientist-headed fly being menaced by a spider and screaming "Help meeeee! Help meeeee!"

It was, of course, remade a bit more successfully by David Cronenberg in 1986.

"What I'm saying is I'm an insect who dreamed he was a man and loved it, but now the dream is over and the insect is awake"
Seth Brundle, The Fly

This writeup is about the movie The Fly, the 1986 version starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. It was followed by a sequel (The Fly II) and holds a special place in my heart since it was the very first movie that kept me up all night.

I never saw the original version (1958) except for a few scenes that were presented in some movie special several years ago.

Fair warning:  if you haven't seen this movie (not likely) there are spoilers ahead.  And I wouldn't recommend this writeup or the movie to those with a weak stomach either.

This movie follows the metamorphosis of Seth Brundle, who is trying to develop a device that will make teleportation possible. In the beginning, he is only successful with inanimate objects, and after he meets a reporter (Veronica Quaife) he discovers how to make his contraption recognize, disassemble and reassemble organic matter. Before this we are presented with the gruesome results of an early tryout with a monkey. He agrees to let Veronica have the exclusive on his discoveries and they become lovers.

When the time comes to experiment on a human (himself), he is not aware of a stowaway fly that is teleported with him. The teleporter is not aware of how to handle two separate entities and merges them into one. No change is apparent at first, but then strange hairs start growing and Seth's strength increases.  Little by little, his body starts deteriorating, parts begin to fall off.  The new entity (Brundlefly) is getting rid of his shell to emerge in a new form.

This, of course, worries Veronica, especially when she finds out that she is pregnant with Seth's child. With the aid of a former boyfriend tries to get an abortion.  Seth stops her, arguing that the child that is inside her is the last vestige of humanity that remains of him.  Of course he has better plans for them, he plans to merge the three of them (Veronica+Seth+the baby) to create a new entity, a truly united family.

This movie isn't particularly scary.  What used to keep me up all night were the infamous "vomit sequences", those are rather gruesome scenes.  Part of the flies digestion take place outside the insect's body, they vomit an enzyme that starts processing the food before it is ingested (think about this next time you shoo a fly from your plate).  Oh yes, be afraid, be very afraid.

Source: The Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com

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