Thursday, 29 September 2011

Shapeshifters Film Review 2: David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986)

Fig. 1. The Fly Poster       
          Cronenberg’s remake of the 1958 film The Fly is a stark contrast to the ideals and vision of Nuemann’s classic. The 80s were a different time with different influences and events, and it was because of these distinctions that led the 1986 remake to be so much more gritty and repulsive. Film technology and makeup were also a key factor to Cronenberg’s realisation of his remake; in the 50s some things were just not possible however in the 80s brutal visuals could be expressed on screen like never before. But in The Fly remake it’s not just mindless gore being thrown at the audience, there is also a link to the AIDS pandemic that started to spread into public view in the 80s,
“Though The Fly rewards a generalized reading as a metaphor for terminal illness without too much unused, leftover thematic material (hell, it's a pretty fantastic little horror flick/chamber tragedy on the surface, hence the easy tag line "Be afraid. Be very afraid."), almost every one of The Fly's viscous substances reflect the of-the-moment AIDS panic, - “ (Henderson, 2005).
Fig. 2. Seth Vomits
It might be because of the AIDS virus that caused Cronenberg to approach the remake in a different manner, instead of a man in a rubber mask his idea was going deep down to the genetic level and exposing the human bodies’ reaction to the mixture of fly DNA. This idea can very well relate to the AIDS virus in a manner of contaminating the human body and sending it down a path of deterioration, “- his augmented strength, not mention deteriorating complexion, could just as easily be a result of steroid use, and there are any number of debilitating diseases that correlate with Seth's loss of limbs, etc. –“ (Gilchrist, 2005).
More importantly however than the AIDS theme is how Cronenberg portrays the animalistic behaviour in the scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum); in the 1958 The Fly Andre is shown to be a respectable scientist with a loving wife and son and even in the midst of his transformation into the fly he is desperately retaining his human side to the point where he’d rather destroy himself than harm his family. On the other hand however, in the 1986 The Fly Seth Brundle is almost portrayed as a mad scientist; he has no wife or kids, instead he is seeing a female reporter who is a release to his sexual desires. Once his transformation takes place he embraces it rather than despises his work, he gives into the insects’ mentality and becomes a real monster.
“Along with his looks goes his personality and while this provides some tension, it really is the gruesome nature of his downfall that is the main feature of this otherwise unremarkable film.” (Haflidason, 2000).
Fig. 3. Frightened Veronica
In the end Brundle-fly is willing to risk the lives of his girlfriend and unborn baby to combine into a pure being. This aspect of the film makes it a completely different experience and different film altogether.


Henderson, E. (2005) Slant Magazine (Accessed on: 27.09.11)

Gilchrist, T. (2005) IGN Movies (Accessed on: 27.09.11)

Halfidason, A. (2000) BBC (Accessed on: 27.09.11)

Illustration List
Fig. 1. Cronenberg, David (1986) The Fly Poster At: (Accessed on 27.09.11)

Fig. 2. Seth Vomits (1986) From: The Fly Directed by: David Cronenberg. [film still] USA: 20th Century Fox
Fig. 3. Frightened Veronica (1986) From: The Fly Directed by: David Cronenberg. [film still] USA: 20th Century Fox

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Shapeshifters Film Review: Kurt Nuemann’s The Fly (1958)

 Fig.1 The Fly Poster

Kurt Nuemann’s 1958 film The Fly was a film produced in the midst of much change during its time in the 50’s when television programming was first introduced and experiments were being carried out with radiation. These events sparked a revolution within pop culture to the point where it seeped into films in the form of monsters and mutants and correctly stated in this review ‘The Fly was released in the midst of the 50’s monster-film craze, and make no mistake, it is an attempt to capitalize on that trend.’ (Sponseller, 2001). One such experiment of those times that influenced The Fly was Hermann Muller’s fly experiments; Muller experimented with mutating flies at the genetic level with radiation and other sources which was the result of technological advances that both enticed the human race and yet made them fear it. ‘Muller’s anxieties about the side-effects of human military and industrial development, and his works on fruit-fly mutations, themselves produced an interesting side effect in the late 1950s explosion of films about insects who mutate into alarming (usually giant or lethal) forms as a result of exposure to radiation.’ (Conner, 2006:155)
Fig. 2 Andre and Helene

The 50s was a time where sci-fi and horror film posters were overly exaggerated with cheesy looking scared faces aweing at grotesque mutilated aliens or monsters. However, compared to its rivals around the time The Fly seems conservative in nature, almost like a psychological thriller, not showing the mutation until near the end so in a way it didn’t exactly jump on the band wagon of shock and horror films. Nuemann very cleverly uses suspense to his advantage in this classic, instead of keeping you in the dark until the big reveal you get tiny clues as to the subject of the film which would be the flies. Every now and again throughout the film a fly would appear as subliminal annoyances that hinted at the fact that something awful would happen involving one.
Once Andre (Al Hedison) finally teleports and fuses with the fly the film takes a drastic turn from technological discovery to rival god to the desperate struggle of retaining humanity. ‘Andre pays lip service to God having given him and other scientists the ability to discover nature’s wonders; later, there’s a good deal of praying for God’s help to undo what’s been done.’ (Willis, 2000). And even though his mutation only consists of a fly head and hand the film focuses more on the change of his inner self and how the fly slowly takes control. Nuemann also shows in his film how once the insect takes over the human side reverts back to its brutal animalistic behaviour, shown very well when Andre can no longer speak and has to answer by clubbing his hand as yes or no. His last act as a human is to destroy himself instead of living as a beast.
Fig. 3 Death of Andre

So unlike other films of this genre in its decade, The Fly shows the other side of human boundaries, the more psychological and it gives the audience something to think about instead of being fed just visuals.

Sponseller, B. (2001)
(Accessed on: 23.09.11)

Conner, Steve. (2006) Fly London: Reaktion Books

Willis, B. (2000) Christian Spotlight On Entertainment
(Accessed on: 23.09.11)

Illustration List
Fig. 1. Nuemann, Kurt (1958) The Fly Poster At: (Accessed on: 23.09.11)

Fig. 2. Andre and Helene (1958) From: The Fly Directed by: Kurt Neumann. [film still] USA: 20th Century Fox
Fig. 3. Death Scene (1958) From: The Fly Directed by: Kurt Neumann. [film still] USA: 20th Century Fox

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Can someone say roadkill?

Looks like I'm gonna be hybridizing with a dasypus novemcinctus or better known as the nine-banded armadillo, one of the species from the armadillo family.
I guess that's not so bad, I'll be a human with really strong armour and a tail, and I can even jump 3 to 4 feet in the air when I'm startled ......right into the front bumper of a car.

Well if I'll be human sized then maybe the cars won't be so bad, so on a final note:

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Life-form Concepts

Tried combing a few objects or just rotating some and keeping it basic.

Machine Concept

Haven't trouble coming up with machines for this brief, only got one so far. Maybe someone can link me a good site for machine concepts?

Structures Concepts

I haven't combined too many silhouettes and forms with these first designs so I could get a hang of the project. Hopefully I should start my final structure soon, maybe even continue with one of these.

                                          Design for an open roof stadium