Friday, October 2, 2015

Top 20 Horror Movies - #20) The Fly (1986)

One of the things that I'm doing this month as I celebrate Halloween here in the Land of Way is taking the time to rank my Top 20 Horror Movies and my Top 20 Horror Novels.  Today, I'm cranking things up with the first entry in my Top 20 Horror Movies. 

I want to be clear that I'm basing these choices on my own humble opinion.  I'm not trying to rank these movies in accordance with their place in pop culture, but I'm offering up my take on the best horror films that I have ever watched and enjoyed.  There are some familiar candidates that I consider to be great pictures that didn't make the cut because there wasn't room, and there are some films that are widely regarded as great pictures that didn't make the cut because I feel that they are overrated.  There are also a few instances where it was difficult to determine whether or not a movie belonged to the horror genre (I said "no" to Aliens but "yes" to Jaws), and it may also be worth noting that this is largely a modern list (as long as you're okay with my classification of modern as anything after 1960) that only features one lonely creature from the so-called "Classic Monsters" films produced by Universal Studios.

Top 20 Horror Movies - #20) The Fly (1986)

The first entry on my list is one of three remakes to be included.  This one is surely the wildest departure from the original, as this somber tale bears little or no resemblance to the cheeky Vincent Price vehicle from 1958.  This 1986 version of the The Fly is directed by David Cronenberg, one of the most visionary directors of them all.  Cronenberg's intense and often perverse work has largely originated within either the horror genre or the science fiction genre, and I think this deliberate terror yarn stands as his grandest achievement.  It's also the best work that Jeff Goldblum has ever done, and his total immersion into the part of Seth Brundle, a daring and strangely charismatic scientist, is amazing to behold.  Throw in some fabulous effects work and an eerie score by Howard Shore and you have the makings of a classic.   This version of The Fly is a slow burn that works magnificently.  The first two acts are largely about meeting the characters and witnessing a failed experiment and the subsequent transformation as Goldblum's wacky but lovable scientist becomes one of the most grotesque monsters ever put on film.  These portions of the film are ripe with suspense and dread, while the third and final act is where most of the gruesome action takes place.  The film is potent; the combination of disturbing visuals and difficult content make it every bit as emotional and dramatic as it is frightening.  Yes, this version of The Fly is everything that I'm looking for in a great horror film, and viewing it remains a riveting experience that I highly recommend.

Jeff Goldblum's work in Cronenberg's remake of The Fly is absolutely amazing.

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