People can be squeamish when it comes to insect/bugs movies. Out of all the ones I’ve seen, The Fly has stuck with me the most.
It isn’t gross or gag-inducing but if definitely has a strong effect on viewers.
The beginning of The Fly doesn’t waste any time building the start of the story. Helene, the wife of a scientist, calmly calls her brother-in-law, Francois, to tell him that she just killed his brother/her husband. She claims that she crushed his head and arm under a hydraulic press but she won’t give any reason to why she did it.
The police are puzzled to why she killed him and think that she maybe crazy but Francois thinks there is more to the story beyond her randomly going mad. Francois coax Helene into telling him why she killed Andre. She asks him to call the police so they can hear her tale so she only has to tell it once.
Helene tells them about how Andre has been locked away in his lab working on a special experiment. When he was ready, he showed her a machine that transport objects. He first transported an ashtray but the experiment was flawed when he found that the words on the ashtray came out backwards.
Andre continued working on his machine and trying to transport other things, such as the family cat, which disappeared into the unknown. After much trial and error, Andre finally successfully transported a live animal.
After a few days have passed, Helene grows concerned that Andre has not left the lab. He leaves notes outside the door for her explaining that he transported himself and a fly accidentally got in there with him. He needs her to find the white-headed fly that escaped his lab so he can use it to try to fix himself.
She searches the house to find the fly but it slips out from a crack in the window. When she tells Andre about it, he flips out and notes to her that he needs to destroy himself. When she pleas to him, it’s revealed that under the black cloth he wears on his head is a giant fly head!
Andre cannot change back without the fly and knows that he cannot live this way so he wants Helene to help him kill himself. And so she did.
The police thinks she crazy and guilt of murder but Francois believes the story may be possible. He has seen the white-head fly once and believes that Andre is capable of pulling off a crazy experiment.
While the police come to take Helene away, her son tells Francois that he’s seen the fly again in their garden. Francois stops the inspector from taking Helene away and takes him to the garden to see the fly. When they get to the fly, it’s caught in a web screaming “Help me! Help me! as a spider gets closer to him. The fly has Andre’s head and he’s screaming for his life.
The ending of this film will haunt me for the rest of my life. Andre’s blood-curdling scream and panicked face still chills me to the bone every time I watch this film.
Cronenberg does an incredible job at re-creating this story and adding stunning special effects and gross out moments but the original has a more compelling ending.