Pretty Fly for a Fright Night

September 25, 2011 — I’ve introduced my wife to a lot of horror movies. If that sounds ceremonious, it definitely should. I mean, I’m still putting off introducing here to three out of four of my parents, but right away she had to meet Leatherface and Jack Torrance and Damien and that whole branch of my family.

Now, I wouldn’t say she digs horror movies, really, but she does get the ones that she should get and she’s hardly ever not up for watching one with me. If you ever get a chance to talk to her about them, though, don’t be surprised if her take on horror is a bit erratic. In the past, I have shown her horrible movies while pretending that they were classics. That statement will be a surprise to her.

Naturally, there are quite a few horror movies we’ve never really gotten around to, and for some reason, many of them are from the 1980s. I’m assuming it’s because that decade was a vulnerable one for me and I’m not ready to let her into that part of my life yet. The wounds are still fresh.

Nevertheless, I figured it was about time to show her one of the reasons that make 80s horror so unique and, since right now we have a Halloween audience, figured I’d get you guys to help out. A few days ago, I posted a Facebook poll to the OTIS Facebook Page, giving everybody that cared a chance to vote on one of four great horror movies from the 1980s to show her. They were An American Werewolf in London, The Fly, The Return of the Living Dead, and Prince of Darkness. I chose these four because she hadn’t seen any of them and because Netflix had them streaming. Eventually, after a bit of cajoling on my part, enough of a percentage of you voted to put a positive value on the left side of the decimal point and declared a clear winner…and then I had to almost totally ignore it.

You see, An American Werewolf in London won the poll, but as we sat down to watch a man pulled painfully into the shape of a wolf to the mellow strains of Blue Moon, my wife innocently commented, “Oh, I’ve seen this one.”

Crap. Fortunately, that wasn’t too much of a bit-ruiner. After all, American Werewolf had edged out the second place movie by only two votes. So instead of American Werewolf, we ended up filling our evening with the wet, gloppy noises of David Cronenberg’s 1986 gross-out, The Fly, in which an eccentric scientist played by Jeff Goldblum accidentally fuses with a housefly while experimenting with teleportation.

If you’re laughing at that summary, it means you’ve never watched the movie.
It's still okay to laugh at this picture, though.

I’ll skip narrating the two hours of her watching it with her hand over her mouth and go right to the post-movie discussion.

ME: So you’ve never seen this movie before?

WIFE: No, never.

ME: Have you seen the original 1958 version with Vincent Price?

WIFE: No, not all the way through.

ME: Have you ever seen a David Cronenberg Film?

WIFE: [After scrolling through Cronenberg’s IMDb filmography] No, although I’ve heard of Eastern Promises.

ME: Yeah, we all get soft in our old age. How old were you in 1986 when this movie came out?

WIFE: Four

ME: We’ve talked about his before, so my biggest personal curiosity about your reaction to the movie is concerns Jeff Goldblum. For the people reading, I’ve always liked Goldblum, but you never have. Besides your garden-variety anti-Semitism, what’s your problem with the actor?

WIFE: I don’t know. I just never liked him. I haven’t seen him in much. Jurassic Park, Independence Day, Will and Grace. He always seems like a Kramer-type of character to me [NOTE: We try not to make Seinfeld references in this house, but sometimes they just slip out]. Somebody with a definite schtick that he always played even when he had no good reason to play a character that way. He’s always pushing his character too hard. Smooth, quirky, schmoozy. I’m using too many “sch” words. I don’t quite know how to describe it.
ME: What about Gina Davis?

WIFE: Don’t really have an opinion of her either way.

ME: Few do, I think. What did you think about Goldblum in this movie specifically?

WIFE: You know, I actually like him a lot. Thought he was great, really. I don’t know if it was his youth or what, but he came across as more innocent and less arrogant than he usually acts. More natural. Less quirky, too.

ME: Less quirky? He was a hermetic genius who loved fast food cheeseburgers and invented teleportation because he got motion-sickness.

WIFE: Still, he acted way more natural, and the way he played his character fit the movie without getting in the way of the movie.

ME: So what was your overall impression of The Fly?

WIFE: Way better than I thought it would be. I actually thought it was going to be less horrific, less dramatic than it was. I thought the plotline was that he turned into an actual small housefly early in the movie and then had to fly around and fix that. So maybe even more comedic or spoofy.

ME: Why?

WIFE: I don’t know. I’ve only ever seen that one DVD cover before [referring to the black background with a single ordinary housefly on it]. I’ve never seen any other visuals from it. Maybe I confused visuals from the original movie.

ME: So at what point did the movie take a hard left from your expectations?

WIFE: The baboon scene. That kind of shocked me.

ME: Which scene was worse, the baboon scene, the fingernail scene, the donut scene, or when the beard guy got his extremities dissolved? You audibly reacted to all four of those scenes.

WIFE: Honestly, the donut scene was the worst.

ME:You also kind of chuckled a couple of times. What was the most humorous part to you?

WIFE:: The “F**** is what I’m thinking” line, although the “puked on my tricycle” line was pretty funny, too.

ME: Favorite scene?

WIFE: The parts directly after he first when into the telepod. They did a good job making you question how much of it was him being excited by his success or whether he was going crazy.

ME: But isn’t that the Goldblum you hate?

WIFE: No, because this was more dramatic and in a context that made his reactions make sense.

ME: Cheesiest scene?

WIFE: The first love-making scene between him and Geena Davis. Gina Davis seemed really awkward, and they way they turned it into a big transition moment for the plot was kind of forced.

ME: Would you like to see the infamous cat-monkey deleted scene that I told you about?


ME: Would you be up for the sequel?

WIFE: Yes.

ME: That’s too bad. Do you think this movie remains effective after 25 years and with your more modern sensibility?

WIFE: Yes, certainly effective. I didn’t find it dated at all…except for Gina Davis’s wardrobe. She looked like an elementary school teacher.

ME: Did you feel any sympathy at the very end for Brundle-fly?

WIFE: Totally. I mean, I thought her not being able to shoot it at first was kind of over-the-top, but I felt sympathy for him even before he got the full insect head. They did a good job with that.

ME: What sticks with you more from the movie, Jeff Goldblum in briefs or Jeff Goldblum with his face falling apart all over the floor?

WIFE: Definitely the gory part.

ME: So, it sounds like with this movie, I’ve somewhat won the Jeff Goldblum argument enough for you to give his movies more of a chance. Now will you trust me enough to watch Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure despite how much you hate that character?

WIFE: No. I’ll never watch that movie.

ME: You just lost a ton of cool points with this audience, I believe. Anyway, on a personal note, the medium that we went to in Lily Dale last weekend said we were having a second child. What do you think of the name “Seth Brundle Ocker”?

WIFE: No comment.

ME: Would you at least allow David Cronenberg to deliver the baby?

WIFE: Are you just out of questions?

ME: Yeah, I guess. Any final comments?

WIFE: Don’t make me look stupid with this.

ME: You dug your own grave with the Pee-Wee answer.


Love this question answer session! Knowing wifey helps make me smile about this.

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