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The poster for The Abominable Dr Phibes (1971) used the memorable line "Love Means Never Having To Say You're Ugly". That sentiment is taken to the limit in David Cronenberg's stunning remake of the 1958 sci-fi favourite. His version of The Fly is in a genre of its own - a romantic gorefest and a genuinely touching one at that. Cronenberg's interest in body mutations and transformations - Rabid (1976) The Brood (1979) and Scanners (1981) among them - reached a technical and story telling peak in his second film (following The Dead Zone in 1983) for a Hollywood studio.

Jeff Goldblum steps into the shoes worn by David Hedison in 1958 as Seth Brundle, a socially awkward scientist who tells journalist Veronica Quaiffe (Geena Davis) he's working on something that "will change life as we know it". He's not bragging either, having perfected a means of teleporting matter between two chambers connected by cables. Literally drunk on success he decides to transport himself, failing to notice a fly that has snuck into his booth. Rather than arrive on the other side as a hideously mutated monster the process is done slowly, with Brundle taking on physical and emotional characteristics of the insect by degrees.

What underpins the mounting horror is the moving love story between Brundle and Veronica and the way each attempts to cope with the disease. The couple are so appealing and convincing it's almost a shame when Brundle's body parts start falling off as the fly within takes control. Goldblum and Davis have rarely been better than in the unlikely romantic setting of this superior remake.

Chris Walas' Brundlefly effects stand up pretty well considering the advances in sfx technology since this was made and Howard Shore's thundering score adds an appropriate note of Grand Guignol to proceedings. The making of featurette and interviews with Cronenberg, Davis, Goldblum, Walas and producer Stuart Cornfeld are a nice addition to the disc and shed interesting light on the most stomach churning love story ever filmed.
Richard Kuipers

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FLY, THE [1986] (R18)

CAST: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Joy Boushel, Les Carlson, George
Chuvalo, David Cronenberg.

DIRECTOR: David Cronenberg


DVD DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: July 11, 2001

SPECIAL FEATURES: Widescreen 1.85:1. Trailer, Behind the Scenes Featurette, Cast and Crew Interviews. Language: English. Subtitles: English, English (H.O.H), Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish

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