31 Monsters in 31 Days: The Fly (1986)

My issue with the current wave of remakes isn’t so much their ubiquity as their approach. Instead of taking a flawed but promising movie, infusing it with updated effects and invigorated direction to make something special, modern remakes take an established classic and reduce it to pre-packaged pap with no greater ambition than a decent opening weekend. It’d be nice if today’s filmmakers took a page from the 1980’s, when movies like THE THING, THE BLOB, and today’s entry made their remakes genuinely great movies.

I’m not sure I’m willing to call David Cronenberg’s 1986 version of THE FLY his best film (only because his resume contains so many contenders), but I can confidently put it at the top of the decade’s releases. That THE FLY turned out as well as it did is no real surprise; Cronenberg, working with a studio budget, Academy Award-bound effects work headed by Chris Walas and a star turn from Jeff Goldblum (himself giving an Oscar-caliber performance) was almost destined to be great. What’s shocking is that Cronenberg used his body-horror sensibilities to create a poignant, oozing tale about relationships in the face of death and made it–transformed it, if you will–into a crowd-pleasing summer movie. Good luck attempting that feat today.

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