STAY CLASSY: The Fly (1958)

Year Released: 1958

How It Fared Back Then: Very well. The sci-fi horror film grossed $3.0 million at the box office on just a $500,000 budget. Kurt Neumann’s The Fly was based on a short story of the same title written by author George Langelaan and published in the June 1957 issue of Playboy. Although Neumann’s adaptation added some cheer to the end, the film made the story an instant cult classic.

Why It’s Lasted: Sure, the human-sized fly head and right-hand pincer aren’t all that threatening to today’s audiences, but the topic of the plot is still a point of contention today. I doubt I’m the only one who’s heard 70-year-olds reminiscing about back in the day when the latest technology was the invention of the wheel–OK, fine, that may be an exaggeration, but the science-experiment-gone-awry storyline isn’t. The film’s warnings of the dangers of science and technological advancement are just as prevalent now as they were then.

Classic Moments:

  • “Help me! Help meeeeee!” (I admit the ghostly-pale, sunken-eyed and bald fly-sized human head haunts me)
  • Date night in the lab, finished off with a nice bottle of reintegrated champagne: “You’re in an unscientific mood” (wink, wink)
  • Andre’s multi-eyed view of Helene screaming in terror
  • The heart-breaking disintegration of Dandelo into a stream of “cat atoms”

Does It Hold Up? Considering 20th Century Fox is releasing a special 25th anniversary Blu-ray addition of The Fly on September 10, I’d say, yes. There’s also the whole slew of TV shows, movies and video games that have spoofed (Treehouse of Horror, anyone?), referenced or featured the film. Oh, and there’s a full-on opera, too, which may just call for a Cali road trip. My verdict: this is one classic that’s not going anywhere. Now, let’s finish it all off with a bottle of reintegrated champagne.

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