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Things that make you think ''Why?''

Director David Cronenberg is in discussions with 20th Century Fox to remake his own remake of The Fly. The Hollywood Reporter's Steven Zeitchik reports Cronenberg is intrigued by the prospect of the creatures he could create with contemporary special effects, which have gotten a lot better since 1986.


This is so wrong on so many different levels. How could Cronenberg, who got career-high work out of Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis the first time around, be interested in recreating those characters with other actors? With the possible exception of Jeremy Irons' twisted twin brothers in Dead Ringers, The Fly's mad doctor and his suffering girlfriend are the most memorable protagonists in Cronenberg's canon.

All these years later, The Fly remains one of the grossest and most visceral horror films I've ever seen. I still have trouble watching the sequence in which the monkey teleportation goes seriously haywire, or the scene in which Goldblum's teeth and nails start falling out. The makeup and creature effects in that movie are already awesome. Why redo them with annoying CGI fakery?


The Fly is also a standalone master class in the various tones and tactics horror filmmakers use to scare us. Depending on the scene, the film is a beautiful example of dread and tension (Davis' discovery of those odd hairs on Goldblum's back), sudden shocks (the armwrestling scene, or the baby-delivery bit) and, of course, the old-fashioned gross-out (here, let me vomit some acid on your ankle for a second and see what happens!)

The prospect of Cronenberg returning to material he has already executed so well is disheartening, especially coming from one of the most brazen and iconoclastic genre filmmakers to work within the studio system (anyone who could con Hollywood into releasing films as bizarre and discombobulating as Videodrome and Crash has to rank amongst the all-time greats).

I hope the negotiations between Cronenberg and Fox break down and the project goes kaput, or that someone else directs it. Leave The Fly alone, Mr. Cronenberg. If you want to remake one of your old movies, try Shivers or Rabid. I wouldn't mind seeing new versions of either of those, especially Shivers. That movie is nutty.


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Stop the remake madness


1980 gets the brand of the decade of excessiveness for justifiable reasons, but a different kind of excessiveness exists for our time as it relates to CGI and movies. The first time I saw The Fly, it was unsettling in a good way because you just didn't know what the movie will throw at you at any given moment. Today, I get almost no scares in the horror films that come out.

Part of it is hackery, sure, but an important element is that CGI has become so familiar to everyone that its become safe. Another great horror movie (no doubt, being considered for another remake) is The Thing. As far as I know aliens don't exist on Earth, but the creators of that movie did such a good job with the blood and the monsters and chest that hungry for someone's arms that I still had nightmares. The fact that it's still not easy to pinpoint just how-did-they-do-that? made it easier to believe that it was happening. Better that than to see something today and go, "Ah, they just used a computer."

With movies becoming more expensive, and studios taking less risks, this is an era where not just horror movies, but all movies that get their power through unusual imagery are losing their edge and becoming oversaturated with cheap, easy, and boring CGI.

The bottom line is that all movies now have to look at the bottom line.


I'm waiting for the announcement of the Jaws remake. Should be any day now. Nothing is sacred in Hollywood. It's easier to remake everything then just come up with new stuff. Maybe Cronenberg figures, since its going to be remade anyway, he'll do it and take another shot at the film. Whatever. We still have the original.

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