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The Fly (1986)

Whether viewed as an allegory to the physically corrosive nature of cancerous diseases or the equally destructive progression of the sexually transmitted type, the thematic undercurrents of David Cronenberg's The Fly (a re-imagination of its cheesy 1958 counterpart) are what elevate the film's viscerally horrifying images to more profoundly disturbing notions that infest the viewer on a philosophical and psychological level, remaining there long after it’s devastating conclusion. Jeff Goldblum (in a career-best performance) is Seth Brundle, a reclusive science nerd whose big experiment becomes the long-term project of journalist Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) after a seductive meeting at a science expo brings the two together. Seth's invention: a molecular transporter, using computer technology to move matter instantly across space from one isolated telepod to another. Romantic entanglements soon develop, but a mishap during an experiment alters the future course of events to that of the worst-case scenario. While testing the telepods on himself, Seth unknowingly transports himself with a housefly occupying the same vessel; confused by the two separate entities, the computer fuses both Seth and the insect into one being at a genetic level. While this initially elevates the unaware Seth's strength with little in the way of side effects, the physical ramifications of this unintended gene-splicing quickly shift from beneficial to horrific depravation. Cronenberg has always been intrigued by the nature of humanity under pressure, from the sexual masochism of Crash to the split-soul implications of Dead Ringers, but The Fly compounds these notions by wrenching the viewers stomach into about seventeen separate knots at a pure gut level, all of them made the more harrowing because of the tangibility of the human spirit slowly being eaten away by the terrible transformation Seth undergoes (no small thanks to the masterful makeup work - a deserving Academy Award recipient). Ultimately, he is cancer incarnate, and then some. By the end, the horror isn't so much a result of the physical anguish at hand but the realization of what depths of trauma humanity is capable of inflicting upon itself. The Fly is splatter horror with the gravity of Shakespeare.