3 September 2016

THE FLY/POLTERGEIST: TWO ORIGINAL HORROR MOVIES REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS.




THE FLY. 1986. BASED ON THE SHORT STORY BY GEORGE LANGELAAN. DIRECTED BY DAVID CRONENBERG. MUSIC BY HOWARD SHORE. CINEMATOGRAPHY BY MARK IRWIN.
STARRING JEFF GOLDBLUM, GEENA DAVIS, JOY BOUSHEL, DAVID CRONENBERG AND JOHN GETZ.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I've only seen this superb American sci-fi/horror film a few times in my life. The first time I saw it, I was little more than a kid, watching a TV showing of the film on my own in my first ever flat. I was so horrified by Jeff Goldblum's metamorphosis into a fly that I ran out of the sitting-room in bits and dived under the bedclothes shivering, leaving the TV on and the film to play itself out. Wussy, right? Yeah, well, I was a pretty wussy kid...

The second time I saw it- only a couple of years ago, in fact- I was a lot more grown-up and I absolutely loved it. I was glued to every magnificent second of it. Rather than being scared I was simply enthralled, as well as super-impressed by the fantastic special effects, which are so good they deserve a mention all of their own. Here it comes. THEY'RE AMAZING...!

Here's the deal, anyway. Geena Davis plays Veronica (Ronnie), a science journalist who is sent to cover a science convention in the hopes that she'll discover a good story for PARTICLES MAGAZINE. She discovers one all right. Does that sound ominous? It does? Oh good. It was meant to, heh-heh-heh.

She meets Jeff Goldblum's nerdy but super-sexy, handsome scientist, Seth Brundle, at this convention. Remember when Jeff Goldblum played sexy leather-clad scientist Dr. Malcolm in two of the JURASSIC PARK movies? He's sooooo good at playing sexy science-type persons, glavin...! 

Anyway, there's an immediate mutual attraction between the attractive pair and Seth invites a hesitant but curious Ronnie home to see his invention. Etchings must have been going out of style, haha. What's his invention, anyway? Is it any good, like? Well, he's rigged up two identical structures in his huge loft apartment which work like so...

Put something in one structure (a woman's stocking, an adorable monkey, a fully-grown human male, whatever), press a few buttons, the thing gets broken down, transported to the other structure and reassembled. Forgive me if that's just the basics. I'm no scientist, just a humble movie reviewer.

Seth and Ronnie are understandably excited about Seth's invention. He's mastered the science of teleportation, right? It could revolutionise the world of transport forever. Seth is guaranteed fame and fortune and a load of awards and Ronnie gets a great story for the magazine. What could possibly go wrong? What indeed...?

One night, a drunken and paranoid Seth, worried to death about whether Ronnie is still sleeping with her boss/ex-lover, Stathis Borans, does a silly thing. He dives in the teleporter, all nekkid and deliciously, broodingly muscular, but failing to notice that a pesky housefly has entered the machine with him. Seth is teleported and is thrilled to emerge unharmed from the apparatus. He has no idea that he and the housefly have accidentally merged...

It's not so bad at first. Seth develops abnormal physical strength, gymnastic ability and an apparently insatiable sexual appetite which only I could possibly satisfy. Whoops, I didn't mean to say that. I meant to say that it now takes a lot to satisfy him. All good so far. We even get to see his butt for a second. Let's just say it's sweet. Needless to say, Ronnie's not complaining. Yet...

Sadly, events are about to take a truly gruesome turn. Seth begins to take on the disgustingly repulsive appearance and physical characteristics of the fly. I'm sorry if that's offensive to flies, but there it is. Then he begins to grow sick and weak, all the while becoming more and more revolting in appearance. Then Ronnie's worst nightmare happens. Yeah, even worse than having had loads of sex with a horrible housefly. She discovers she's having the housefly's baby. Jesus wept, right...?

Jeff Goldblum's metamorphosis and performance are superb. Faultless. Even Geena Davis, whom I normally find annoying (you know that 'kooky' thing that she does...?), is terrific as Ronnie, playing it straight as the girlfriend who finds herself in an unbelievable and, let's face it, unprecedented situation. Her scenes with Jeff Goldblum crackle with sexual attraction and vitality. They're one million percent perfect together.

The ending is heartbreaking and the special effects are terrific. Yes, I know that I've mentioned them already but they really are top-notch and worthy of another mention. David Cronenberg himself has a cameo appearance in the film as a gynaecologist, by the way. It's a dirty job but some guy's gotta do it, right...?

The funniest thing for me about being able to watch this film now without being afraid of it is the look of revulsion and disgust on my best friend's face as she sat on the couch beside me while we watched it together. I know I shouldn't find that funny but I do.

I was freaked out by the teeth and fingernails but this time around I could look Jeff Goldblum's hideous metamorphosis square in the face, unlike my friend who couldn't quite manage it...!

It's just so nice not to be the one running away from something in mortal terror for a change, haha. Her stomach was turned completely by the brilliantly disgusting special effects. She's ordered me under pain of torture not to show her this review. I might, though. But not until I've chosen a nice, juicy, oozy, pus-filled, leaky image to go with it...

POLTERGEIST. 1982. WRITTEN AND PRODUCED BY STEVEN SPIELBERG. DIRECTED BY TOBE HOOPER. MUSIC BY JERRY GOLDSMITH. CINEMATOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW F. LEONETTI.
STARRING CRAIG T. NELSON, JOBETH WILLIAMS, HEATHER O'ROURKE, DOMINIQUE DUNNE, OLIVER ROBINS, ZELDA RUBINSTEIN AND BEATRICE STRAIGHT.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is a terrific American supernatural horror film from one of the best time-periods for horror films, the early 'Eighties. It was the eighth-highest grossing film of 1982 and it was a huge commercial success overall, spawning two sequels and a remake. It put me in mind straight-away of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, another cracking film from almost the same time-frame. Let's take a quick peep at the plot, shall we?

Steve and Diane Freeling are an ordinary all-American couple bringing up their three kids on an ordinary all-American housing estate. Well, they smoke pot too and still have sex and let their kids run wild, but hey, judge not lest ye be judged, isn't that what they say?

Some strange stuff is going down at the old Freeling homestead. Five-year-old Carol Anne, a little blonde-haired angel who's as pretty as a picture, appears to be communicating with a bunch of ghosts who've taken up residence in the family's television. At first, her dope-smoking Momma thinks the whole thing is hilarious. Tsk, tsk...

When Carol Anne disappears into her bedroom closet on the night of a giant twister, Momma Freeling ends up laughing on the other side of her face. Sigh. It's hard not to judge people...

The family enlist the aid of a team of ghostbusters to get their daughter back. The ghostbusters are shocked at the sheer scale of the psychic phenomena they observe in the house. So much so, in fact, that they in turn call in a super-ghostbuster, a woman called Tangina Barrons whose ballsy demeanour belies her squeaky voice and petite frame. I call her the pocket-rocket psychic. She's one of the best things about an already brilliant movie.

Does Tangina gets the kid back in one piece? And, assuming she does, do the Freelings then get their asses out of the goddamned haunted house immediately, or do they stupidly linger while they're waiting to get themselves sorted out? And, having lingered, are they then forced into a ghostly showdown the scale of which even gutsy Tangina could not have envisaged? Man, these people are so dumb, haha,

The ending is fantastic. The ending is in fact pure Tobe Hooper, I was reliably informed by the friend with whom I watched the film. She's a big Tobe Hooper fan. I think the ending, when we find out exactly why the house is so messed-up psychically, might even be the best and scariest part of the movie.

I enjoyed seeing Craig T. Nelson, aka COACH, in such a good meaty role. Little Heather O'Rourke as Carol Anne is amazing too. The film has a great musical score by Jerry Goldsmith and the special effects are pretty nifty. Speaking of the score, I have the fantastic theme tune on a CD of 'scary movie' theme tunes and I listen to it frequently.

It has some really great stuff on it like John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN theme tune and the music from THE EXORCIST by Mike Oldfield and so on. I listen to this CD all year round, not just for Halloween. Horror movies are for all year round too, as we die-hard horror film fans know. They're not just something to be dug up once a year in October. The very idea...!

Overall, I'd give this film top marks. It's just such a shame that this era is gone for good. Films today, though I'm not denying that some of them work really well, couldn't capture that early 'Eighties American horror movie-feel if they tried for a month of Sundays. Still, at least we've got films like this and THE AMITYVILLE HORROR and HALLOWEEN and Freddy and Jason. They can't take that away from us.

 AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







No comments:

Post a comment