In 1986, David Cronenberg gave us one of the greatest horror films of all time: “The Fly,” expertly produced by Brooks films and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The film starred Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis and won an academy award for best make-up effects, created by the incomparable Chris Walas and Stephan Dupuis.
The film was a box office success and received some critical acclaim as well, this premise would set the stage for the 1989 release of “The Fly 2,” a film that did not receive the credit it deserved. So, today, fellow horror junkies, I’m going to muse about what makes this film an underrated gem in sequels and why it may be worth revisiting. If you haven’t seen “The Fly 2,” you may want to check it out before reading this article, as this it contains some spoilers. “The Fly 2” is a direct sequel to the events of its predecessor. It was directed by Chris Walas, who did the special effects work on the 1986 remake of “The Fly,” as well as other well-known movies like Gremlins, Hot Shots, Enemy Mine, Dragonslayer and so much more
Geena Davis was approached to reprise her roll of Veronica Quaife and was willing to play the part again, with the condition that there was to be no birth scene. Apparently, the birth scene from the original film was very traumatic for her, which is unfortunate for us because that is exactly what director Chris Walas wanted and wouldn’t budge on. Therefore, another actress was cast for the role.
The movie opens with the quick and untimely death of Veronica Quaife and the simultaneous birth of Martin (Seth Brundle’s son), who is first introduced as a squirming larva-like insect creature before being revealed as a healthy-looking baby boy inside a cocoon. With that intro we are tossed into a world of mutation, where Martin ages at an accelerated rate and is highly intelligent. Majority of the film follows Martin over the span of a few years where he is tested, studied, and of course poked and prodded under the careful eye of Bartok Corporation.
Now, without giving away too many plot details, lets’ dive into a few reasons why this flick deserves a bit more praise: It has a beautiful and unique score composed by Christopher Young, who also composed the first two “Hellraiser” films, as well as “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2.” The Special and Practical FX work is just as impressive, if not more so, than the original. Having won the academy award for the first film, the FX team in the sequel really swung for the fences! With the added talents of Tom Sullivan (Artist and special FX for “Evil Dead” and “Army of Darkness”), the final version of “Martin fly” is far more massive and terrifying than his father’s final form of Bundle fly, including the upgraded ability to shoot vomit drop like a fucking fire hose! (Be prepared for gooey, melted faces!)
The FX team didn’t skimp on the gore either. “The Fly 2” is far more gory, bloody, and grotesque than the first film. Aside from the melted face seen, which is amazing, we also get to see a dude’s head crushed by an elevator! (What could possibly be better than that?). As a bonus, there is a stomach-churning scene that is so fucked up even the most hard-core horror fans might just have to look away. Now, as for the deleted cat/monkey scene from the original Fly movie… No, wait, not giving that one away. Go google that shit (trust me), and then come back to this article. I’ll wait … Okay, you back? That shit was fucked up, right? High Five!
Well, in this movie, Martin befriends a happy little dog, a part of the animal-specimen of the Bartok facility. The two immediately form a bond, and Martin is obviously thrilled to have a new friend. Martin returns the next day with some food for the pup and finds that he is missing, only to discover that his now-beloved furry BFF has been moved to a secret lab housing two Teleportation pods. Martin watches in horror as the dog is mutilated by the tele pods after a failed teleportation sequence. The whole scene is gut wrenching, but not as horrific as the scene where Martin finds the poor creature still alive years later. The dog recognizes him and starts wagging his little tail just moments before Martin realizes the disfigured creature is in pain and has most likely been suffering for years. So, he euthanizes him. Fucking sad right?
Now that I’ve ruined your day (hey, you kept reading, so it’s on you), I’d like to talk a bit about the cast: We all know Jeff Goldblum left some pretty big shoes to fill, and while the chemistry between Eric Stoltz and Daphne Zuniga isn’t nearly as palpable as that of Jeff Goldblum and then real-life Girlfriend Genna Davis, Stoltz does bring a vulnerability to the roll that makes him very believable as the sheltered boy-genius Martin Bundle. Daphne Zuniga, best known for her role as Princess Vespa in “SpaceBalls” does an outstandingly believable job in convincing us that she has fallen for her socially-awkward and mysterious co-worker. (Hmm, makes me wonder if Martin inherited his dad’s amazing sex skills from the original.). John Getz reprises his role Stathis Borans, and his performance stands out among the rest as he’s the only character left with the knowledge of the events from the first film.
In my humble, obsessed horror-fan opinion, between the epic and practical FX, gore, and beautifully-composed score, there is plenty about this film that deserves more credit.