No announcement yet.

The Fly Collection (Shout! Factory) Blu-ray Review

    Ian Jane

  • The Fly Collection (Shout! Factory) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: December 10th, 2019.
    Director: Kurt Neumann, Edward Burnds, Don Sharp, David Cronenberg, Chris Walas
    Cast: David Hedison, Vincent Price, Patricia Owens, David Frankham, Brett Halsey, Brian Donlevy, George Baker, Carole Ray, Yvette Rees, Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga, Lee Richardson
    Year: 1958/1959/1965/1986/1989
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Fly Collection - Movie Review:

    The Fly was a hit when it debuted in 1958, spawning two sequels in the years to come and then, in the eighties, a remake and a follow up to that remake. Shout! Factory has wisely decided to collect all five of those pictures and release them in an extras-laden boxed set aptly titled The Fly Collection.

    The Fly:

    Andre (David Hedison, billed as Al Hedison) is a brilliant inventor whose latest endeavor is to perfect a pair of teleportation pods that he's been working on for some time. His lovely wife Helene (Patricia Owens) and his brother Franí§ois (Vincent Price) stand by him. Andre makes progress when he's able to send inanimate objects from one pod to the next, but things get complicated from there on out when he starts experimenting with living things.

    When Andre is sufficiently confident that the teleportation pods are safe, he decides to use himself as a human guinea pig. What he doesn't realize, when he gets into the first pod, is that a fly has gone in with him. When he comes out on the other side, he's not longer human and has a fly's head on a man's body. Likewise, the fly changes, having a human head on a fly's body. Things get considerably darker from here on in, with Inspector Charas (Herbert Marshall) eventually becoming involved and trying to sort out what exactly has happened.

    “Once it was human… even as you and I! The monster created by atoms gone wild!”

    Very much a slow burn, much of the action in the film is recounted by poor Helene, recounting the unfortunate details of her husband's case to Charas. It's an effective way to structure the film, though those going into the picture for the first time should be aware that this one, as good as it is (and it is damn good), is a bit of a slow burn. The pacing in the picture is very methodical, and it makes very sure that we're all set as far as the character development goes before introducing the horror and science fiction angles that the film is so obviously famous for.

    The effects are of their era, of course, but really no less effective for it. The finale in particular still packs a punch and gets under your skin. The film features some interesting production design and effects work when it comes to the use of the teleportation pods in the film. The picture is nicely shot by Karl Struss with a great score from composer Paul Sawtell. Neumann's direction is controlled and, if not especially flashy, quite competent. Fox would seem to have put enough into this, at least by the standards of late fifties genre fare, to ensure that it turned out well. In fact, the intent here seems to have been to hold off on almost all of the horror until the end, with the 'changed' Andre covering his head with a black cloth for most of the movie, unwilling to show his face to his wife. We know what's under there is hideous, but we don't know until that first reveal just what exactly has happened to him.

    The movie also benefits from some solid performances. David Hedison is quite good here as the obsessed Andre, making it clear that he will get his experiments finished while also ensuring that we understand he cares deeply about his wife and family. Patricia Owens is just as good as his put-upon wife, doing a fine job emoting and handling the scenes of melodrama that play out between she and Hedison very nicely - and most importantly, she's believable. Price is Price - his screen presence is inimitable and he brings that to the role in a big way. It's nice to see him here cast against type, playing more of a hero than a villain and doing a very fine job of it at that. Herbert Marshall also does nice work as the cop looking into the strange events.

    The Return Of The Fly:

    1959's The Return Of The Fly takes place fifteen years after the events in the first film as we catch up with Philippe Delambre (Brett Halsey) and his uncle Francois Delambre (Vincent Price). While obviously the experiments started by Philippe's deceased father in the first movie failed, Philippe remains unaware of what actually happened to his father. After his mother passes away, he demands to know the truth and once he finds it out, he decides to follow up where his father left off. It seems he has become quite a talented scientist and Francois is onboard to keep an eye on his young nephew who goes about his work quite diligently with some help from his assistant, Alan Hinds (David Frankham). Of course, this won't end well…

    “All new and more horrific than ever before!”

    Made in black and white where the original was color, this was obviously made on a lower budget and it does tend to recycle the same basic concept but The Return Of The Fly proves a solid horror movie in its own right. There's also some welcome black humor injected into the script that director Edward Bernds (who directed quite a few comedies prior to this picture) handles quite well. The romantic angle that was a big part of the original film isn't really here and instead we get a more straight forward story of science gone too far.

    The movie is quite nicely shot by cinematographer Brydon Baker who would later go on to work on the sixties incarnation of the quirky Canadian kids TV series The Littlest Hobo! What does that have to do with Vincent Price? In a tenuous connection, when the series was revived in the early eighties, actor Billy Van would appear in two episodes. Price fans, particularly Canadian ones, should know that Van was the man behind The Hilarious House Of Frightenstein. This was a series made in Hamilton, Ontario in the early seventies and in which Vincent Price starred as a narrator and provided the voice over for the opening credits.

    Getting back to The Return Of The Fly, however, the movie is fairly well acted. Price is in fine form here while the younger Brett Halsey also does nice work. The effects set pieces and costumes used for the sequences in which the determined Philippe works out some of the quirks in his experiments are quite well done. Of course, we all know what will go wrong here, the title of the movie makes that painfully clear, but this is a solid follow up and at eighty-minutes in length, it moves at a very quick pace.

    The Curse Of The Fly:

    The third film, also shot in black and white, introduces us to Henri Delambre (Brian Donlevy) the son of Philippe Delambre. Martin (George Baker) and Albert (Michael Graham) are Henri's sons. Conflict arises in the family when Henri decides that he'd like to perfect his father's experiments and finish the teleportation pods, while Martin and Albert would prefer to distance themselves from the family business. Regardless, Henri teleports himself from his home/lab in Quebec to Albert's base of operations in London, insisting that once he gets the equipment he needs, he'll finally perfect the teleportation technology.

    Hoping to settle down, Martin marries Patricia Stanley (Carole Gray), a beautiful and alluring woman (and a concert pianist too!) with a secret -she's recently escaped of a mental hospital where she was interred after her parents died some time ago. He doesn't know this when he finds her wandering around and puts her up in his hotel, only to fall for her. Henri isn't happy about this at first but eventually swallows his bride and tries to do right by his son and his new daughter-in-law. Things get dicey for all involved when the cops come looking for Patricia who, in turn, has uncovered the horrors of the Delambre family's past.

    “What made them half-human creatures from the 4th dimension?”

    Made in England on a miniscule budget, The Curse Of The Fly might not have the star power of Vincent Price to coast on but it's a pretty entertaining little B-movie in its own right. Director Don Sharp keeps things moving very quickly and the twist that occurs in the later half of the film is handled well. Bringing Patricia and her secret into the storyline and contrasting this with what the Delambre men are hiding is an interesting idea that is exploited pretty effectively here, and the black and white cinematography is atmospheric enough to work.

    Brian Donlevy is okay as the lead. Not great, but okay. George Baker actually has more to do here and makes the most of it, while Michael Graham plays grumpy Albert well enough. Carole Gray steals a few scenes from her male co-stars. She's quite attractive and has an interesting intensity about her that suits the character she plays. The scene where she, quite scantily clad, breaks out of the hospital at the beginning of the scene in particular is quite well done, her dark eyes darting about as she makes her escape.

    This one plays out as more of a straight horror film than the first two entries, particularly once Patricia starts figuring out what her new husband's family has been up to and confronts it face to face.

    The Fly:

    A lot of genre fans get their feathers ruffled over remakes, especially when the film being remade is a classic. When it was announced that David Cronenberg was going to be updating Kurt Neumann's 1958 Vincent Price vehicle of the same name, people were skeptical for obvious reasons - the original is a very beloved film and a very well made one. Thankfully, Cronenberg knocked this one out of the park and, like John Carpenter's remake of The Thing it stands as not only one of the best horror movies of the 1980s but one of the best remakes of all time.

    Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) is a quirky but brilliant scientist who has created the world's first teleportation system. Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) is a journalist who writes for a scientific journal sent by her boss to meet with Brundle to get the details on his creation. The two meet, they hit it off, and Seth takes her back to his lab which also happens to be his loft/apartment. What Veronica witnesses when they arrive is pretty amazing stuff - Seth is able to put an object in one of the teleportation pods and send it to the other one on the other side of the room by reducing the object to particles and then having the device reassemble it upon arrival. Seth proudly proclaims to her that his invention will change the world and she's pretty hard pressed to disagree with the strange man.

    A day after their first meeting, Seth wants to see her again. When they meet, he asks her not to publish her findings on his work right away, to hold off a little bit until more work is done. In return for doing this, he'll let her document his progress and use her writing as the basis of a book. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Veronica accepts this proposition and soon Seth explains to her why he wants her to hold off before going public with all of this - the machines cannot teleport living things, only inanimate objects.

    Seth continues to work away on his computers and machines, trying to find the right code that will allow him to successfully teleport a living creature and make his creation complete. As Veronica is there, recording each and every detail of the procedures involved in his research, the two start to fall for one another and soon enough they can no longer deny the mutual attraction. This is unfortunate for Veronica, who used to go out with her editor at the journal and who is now growing quite jealous of the time that she's spending with Seth. When Veronica leaves one night to try and smooth things over with her ex, Seth finally cracks the code he's been working on and decides to use himself as a human guinea pig. He steps into the teleportation device, flips the switch, and successful rematerializes on the other side - or so he thinks. What Seth doesn't realize is that a fly got into the pod with him and that upon rematerializing, his DNA was mixed with the fly's DNA and that now he is no longer truly human.

    Going into further details about the plot would be a grave injustice to anyone who has not yet seen this masterpiece of modern horror, so let it suffice to say that it gets really, really ugly.

    Cronenberg's knack for bringing medical and body horror to life on the silver screen is brought full force to this film. Though he had made more interesting films before this one and has made more polished and more experimental films since, his version of The Fly is such a success on so many levels that it's hard not to instantly identify the director with this film, even if he probably should be better known for Videodrome, Naked Lunch or Shivers.

    The focus of the movie is on transformation, not only of Brundle into the Brundlefly but also of the relationship between Seth and Veronica. Two very different dynamics and two very different evolutions to be sure but both are extremely important to the success of the film and without those two key elements it just wouldn't work as well. The transformation into the fly is important for obvious reasons - it provides the horror, the reason for the makeup and gore effects, and is the perfect vehicle for Cronenberg's obsession with what the human body can become (see eXistenz for the next step on that journey). The transformation of the relationship between Seth and Veronica, however, is important for very different reasons as it morphs from cold, clinical and professional to passionate and dangerous and romantic. This provides the pathos, it makes you care about the characters and shows that Brundle isn't just a cold machine of a man but a human being - or at least he was. The believability of the relationship between the two characters makes it easy to suspend our disbelief and as such the scary bits are scarier, the gross bits are more grotesque and the tragedy of it all is all the more biting. Goldblum and Davis are perfect as the leads and both really nail their roles. While they've both been very hit or miss in a lot of the projects they'd take on in later years, here they're fantastic and the casting choices, as unorthodox as they may seem, are brilliant.

    The Fly isn't all metaphorical scientific melodrama, however - make no mistake this is a horror movie. The effects are excellent in the film, even now almost twenty years after the fact, and the stand out set pieces where Brundlefly has to dissolve some of his food before he can eat it are still incredibly obscene and work beautifully - especially the first time you see the film when you really don't expect those types of things to happen in the movie.

    The cinematography does an expert job of capturing the coldness of the loft/lab. The cool steel of the teleportation pods (modeled after the cylinders on Cronenberg's motorcycle) are unfeeling and unsympathetic to anyone or anything. When the fly makes it in and Seth merges with it, you're not surprised as those machines just look mean and nasty and ugly and uncaring. The rest of the film matches this tone from the decay of Seth's body to the cool blackness of the bedroom where he sleeps. The sun doesn't shine in The Fly, it's a dark and gloomy picture - one that, in less capable hands could have really misfired and came off as a joke, but that here stands the test of time as a masterpiece of modern horror.

    The Fly II:

    When it came time to make a sequel to David Cronenberg's 1986 horror/sci-fi classic The Fly, Cronenberg was nowhere in sight and instead, one of the special effects technicians from the first film, Chris Walas, was brought on board to direct the second movie, based on a screenplay by Mick Garris. The results? Decidedly mixed.

    Eric Stoltz is Martin Brundle, the son of the late Seth Brundle (Goldblum's character from the first film) who, at the tender age of five years old, is a full-grown man thanks for his freaky fly genes. Martin has spent his five years on this earth under the watchful eye of Bartok Industries (lead by Anton Bartok, played here by Lee Richardson), a sinister and clandestine corporation who intend to use Martin's DNA to build an army of superfly soldiers.

    As if his DNA weren't enough, Bartok has also got Marin carrying on perfecting his father's teleportation experiments. It seems that not only has Martin's body developed very fast, but his mind has as well and he is, even at this young an age, quite a genius. One night, while buried deep in the confines of the laboratory, Martin meets a Bartok employee named Beth (Daphne Zuniga) and, not quite in touch with his hormones, falls head over heels in love with her. This change is not unexpected, given the way he has developed, but what is unexpected, at least from Martin's perspective, is that not only has he started to get manly urges when he looks at Beth, but he's also started to morph into the creature that his father eventually became. That's right, Martin is turning into… The Fly! While Martin and Beth be able to find a way to reverse the process and save Martin from a life of eating poop and flying around garbage cans or will he soon start vomiting on people and trying to eat them?

    All in all, this is pretty goofy stuff. The idea of having Seth Brundle's son born into a life of unwitting corporate slavery is an interesting premise that unfortunately the filmmaker's really go nowhere with. Add to that the sad fact that Stoltz's performance doesn't come anywhere near the level fo manic intensity that Goldblum had when he played the lead and you've got a very strong recipe for mediocrity. The film does have one saving grace, however - lots of yucky effects. From the opening scene in which we witness the miracle of fly birth to the finale when a fully crazed Martinfly is running around Bartok Industries messing everything up and going loopy, Walas and company aren't afraid to go for the gore.

    The problem with the story is that it's just plain predictable. When those stand out shocking moments occurred in the first movie, they came at you out of left field and though they made perfect sense in the context of the story being told, you don't really see them coming. This time out, it's the exact opposite. Though Walas directs with much technical proficiency, the movie lacks the soul and the human-interest story that made the first movie such a raging success in the first place. The relationship that develops between Martin and Beth lacks the passion that Goldblum and Davis brought to the screen and instead plays out as more of a goofy soap opera than a tragic and damned love story. The end result? The only character you feel any sympathy for in this one is the dog.

    With that in mind, if you don't necessarily need a good story to enjoy a film and aren't obsessed with harping on the movie that could have been under different circumstances as I tend to be at times, The Fly II does manage to be entertaining. The few stand out effects sequences are quite good and plenty gross and even if Stoltz has all the enthusiasm of a piece of driftwood, once he's made up as the monster the movie is at least interesting to look at. Go into this one expecting to be entertained and you probably will be, but go in expecting a great or even really good film like you got with the Cronenberg movie and you shall be sorely disappointed indeed…

    The Fly Collection - Blu-ray Review:

    Shout! Factory brings The Fly Collection to Blu-ray with each of the five films presented on its own Blu-ray disc. Here are the specs:

    The Fly - AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.35.1 on a 50GB disc. Color.

    Return Of The Fly - AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.35.1 on a 50GB disc. Black and white.

    The Curse Of The Fly - AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.35.1 on a 50GB disc. Black and white.

    The Fly - AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.85.1 on a 50GB disc. Color.

    The Fly II - AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.85.1 on a 50GB disc. Color.

    Unfortunately, Shout! Factory wasn't allowed to do any new scans for this set and so the transfers of The Fly and Return Of The Fly do appear to mirror the previous Blu-ray releases, as does the transfer of the Cronenberg film. These definitely look much better than their DVD counterparts did but leave room for improvement. The Curse Of The Fly and The Fly II appear on Blu-ray for the first time in North America with this release and again, look quite good, but less than perfect. The older masters show solid detail, but they don't reach the heights that a new 4k or even 2k scan could provide. Still, colors look right in the first film and the two later pictures while the back and white transfers show good contrast. All five films are quite clean, no problems with dirt, damage, scratches or debris. There might be some light filtering here and there but nothing too problematic. These look good, to be fair, just not perfect.

    Audio options are laid out as such:

    The Fly - 24-bit DTS-HD 4.0 Master Audio with optional English subtitles.
    Return Of The Fly - 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio with optional English subtitles.
    The Curse Of The Fly - DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio with optional English subtitles.
    The Fly - 24-bit DTS-HD 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo Master Audio with optional English subtitles.
    The Fly II - 24-bit DTS-HD 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo Master Audio with optional English subtitles.

    No problems at all with any of the audio. Throughout the five films you get clean, clear dialogue and properly balanced levels. There are no issues with any hiss or distortion anywhere at all, the music used in the different films sounds quite nice. The 5.1 mixes on the two later films offer good surround activity and strong, tight bass response.

    Extras, and there are a lot of them, are spread out across the five discs in the set as follows:

    The Fly:

    There's one new extra for the original film, which is an audio commentary with author/film historian Steve Haberman and filmmaker/film historian Constantine Nasr. It's an interesting track that covers a lot of ground, with each participant doing a great job of explaining their personal feelings on the film, offering up lots of well-researched insight into the cast and crew, thoughts on the score and the production values, discussion of the effects work, talk of the original story and lots, lots more. There's no dead air here, these guys to a great job and keeping interesting from start to finish.

    The disc also includes the archival extras from the original Fox Blu-ray release starting with an audio commentary featuring actor David Hedison and film historian/Vincent Price expert David Del Valle. If you've yet to hear this track, it's a good one. Del Valle really knows his material and he and Hedison have a great rapport here, clearly getting along well and having a fun time on this track. There's talk here about how Hedison got along with the cast and crew, adapting the short story into the filmed version, the state of Fox at the time this was made, lots of info about Price's work on the picture and lots more.

    Also included on the disc is an episode of the A&E series Biography covering Vincent Price, a forty-four-minute piece. As a lifelong Price fan this one didn't contain as much new information for this reviewer as Tierney's piece did, but it was still a lot of fun to watch, especially considering it is littered with clips from all sorts of his films, including the Americanized cut of Witchfinder General shown here as The Conqueror Worm. Interviews and rare photographs flesh out Price's history from his early days to his peak in horror films from the 50s to the 70s through to his cooking programs in the 1980s and finally to his death from lung cancer in 1993. We also get the twelve-minute Fly Trap: Catching A Classic, which is a quick look back at the success of the original film and its two sequels.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc is a minute-long Fox Movietone News Reel that includes footage from the film's premiere, the movie's original theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection.

    The Return Of The Fly:

    Shout! Factory supplies two new audio commentary tracks, the first with actor David Frankham and Jonathan David Dixon. This is quite interesting as Frankham relays stories from the set, discussing how he got along with his co-stars, his thoughts on the film, working with Halsey and Price, Edward Bernds' direction and lots more. The second track is with author/film historian Tom Weaver, who commentaries over classic horror and sci-fi films are always a treat. He gives us plenty of background information on this picture, talks about how it compares to the original, gives us loads of facts and trivia about the writers, the cast, the crew and lots more. Weaver's a wealth of information and he's got a very personable delivery style that makes this one well worth taking the time to listen to.

    Del Valle moderates an audio commentary with the film's star, Brett Halsey. Del Valle shares some impressions of the film as the two discuss how and why certain characters and performers from the original film returned and some did not. They talk about what it was like for Halsey to work with and interact with the different cast and crew members assembled for the production and along the way he shares some amusing anecdotes and fond memories of his work on the film. Del Valle keeps him on target and provides plenty of historical information and background information on the film and those who made at as the discussion plays out. Additionally, Shout! Factory has included a TV spot for the film here as well.

    Finishing up the extras on this disc is a theatrical trailer, a TV spot, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection.

    The Curse Of The Fly:

    Shout! Factory provides another audio commentary with Steve Haberman and Constantine Nasr that once again offers a satisfying deep dive into the history of the production. There's lots of details here about how this film follows up the first two, the writing and the script, Jones' direction, the performances from the various cast members, who did what behind the scenes and more. Along the way they also offer lots of insight into what works about the film and what doesn't, sharing their own views on the effectiveness of certain scenes. It's a good mix of critical analysis and facts and trivia.

    The disc also includes an eight-minute interview with actress Mary Manson, who played Judith Delambre in the film. She talks about getting the part, interacting with her co-stars and her thoughts on the film. The film's continuity specialist, Renee Glynee, is also interviewed for just over five-minutes. She speaks briefly about what she did on the set and about working with the film's director.

    Finishing up the extras we get a theatrical trailer for the feature, a TV spot, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection.

    The Fly:

    There's quite a bit of new supplemental material included on this release, staring with an audio commentary featuring author/film Historian William Beard. There's a lot of great background information here on how Cronenberg came to direct, how the production got started in the first place, the performances of the central characters with an emphasis on Davis and Goldblum, the effects work, how this film differs from the 1958 version, the look of the picture, the score and lots more. Beard is very thorough and has a lot to say about the picture.

    As to the new featurettes, we start with The Meshuggener Scientist, which is an interview with executive producer Mel Brooks which runs thirteen-minutes. He speaks about how his relationship with Stuart Corfeld got him involved not just with The Fly but with The Elephant Man as well. He also talks about why he wanted Cronenberg in charge behind the camera and the casting decisions that were made for the picture. Beauty And The Beast is an interview with producer Stuart Cornfeld that runs just shy of twenty-three-minutes in length. He talks about how Pogue came to him with his script and how he was impressed with the material before then talking about his relationship with Cronenberg and what he brought to the film, changes that he made to the film, the marketing behind the picture, the Toronto locations used for the shoot and more. In A Tragic Opera composer Howard Shore speaks for nine-minutes about his work on the film, what he tried to bring to the film with his music and his thoughts on the film overall. David's Eyes gets cinematographer Mark Irwin on camera for just over twenty-five-minutes for an interesting talk. He covers not just his work on the fly but also on other Cronenberg collaborations he was involved with like Scanners, Videodrome, The Dead Zone, The Brood and Fast Company. He and Cronenberg obviously go way back and Irwin has a lot to say about what it's like to work with the legendary director in addition to sharing details about the work he did specifically on The Fly. We also get a fifteen-minute interview with casting director Deirdre Bowen who speaks about how she pushed to get Davis in the film, how Cronenberg was quite pleased with George Chuvallo and how Goldblum and Getz were brought on board.

    As you'd hope, there's a host of archival supplements here as well starting with a commentary track from the director of The Fly, David Cronenberg. Anyone who has taken the time to listen to one of his director commentary tracks in the past knows that he's always an interesting guy to spend some time with and this track continues his tradition of delivering thought provoking and interesting commentaries for his films. He covers a lot of ground on this track and even if there is the occasional moment of dead air time, there's still a lot of worthwhile information to find in here as he covers pre and post production difficulties, why Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis were chosen for their roles, and how some of the FX work was done. He does a fine job of filling us in on all of the basics surrounding the genesis of the film and his insightful comments are a very welcome addition to the disc.

    Also on hand is an absolutely amazing documentary entitled Fear Of The Flesh - The Making Of The Fly. At a whopping two hours and forty odd minutes in length, this massive segment covers everything you could possibly want to know about the making of the film and those who made it all happen. Fox has chosen to break this documentary down into three sections, each dealing with a different portion of the film: Larva covers the pre-production, Pupa the middle ground and shooting of the film, and Metamorphosis the post work. There are tons of clips from the movie in here but also footage from the dailies, some great test footage and very raw takes from moments familiar to anyone who has seen the movie, and different deleted scenes as well as four different finales that were considered for the movie but never actually used. Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum are both on hand and give extensive recollections of their time spent on set and their subsequent feelings on the final version of the film as well as what it was like working with one another and with Cronenberg. Plenty of crew members are also on hand to talk about their work. They discuss who was to originally direct the film and why, they cover some of the changes that Cronenberg made to Pogue's original script, and they cover a lot of the effects work in quite a bit of detail. Sadly, the video quality on this documentary isn't so hot and the image is quite soft looking whenever we're treated to the new footage.

    The Brundle Museum Of Natural History runs for about twelve-minutes and it focuses in on the effects work and the props used in the film, many of which have been preserved by Rob Burns. They also examine in more detail the infamous and still disgusting hand erosion scene as well and also exhibit some of the conceptual art developed for the film.

    Deleted and extended scenes are up next! The four deleted scenes are a second interview with Seth, the notorious cat/monkey scene (storyboards and script pages are also included for this sequence), a sequence involving some interaction between the fly and a bag lady (which was never filmed and is presented only as a series of storyboard images), and Veronica's butterfly baby dream sequence. As far as the video quality goes on this material, it's all over the place with much of it sourced from old archived VHS tapes so it doesn't always look perfect but it's great to finally get to see a lot of this material after having heard about it for quite a while.

    The two extended scenes include a nice option that highlights what parts were cut and what parts were left in and are basically just dialogue and character interaction scenes. They're entitled Reconciliation and The Poetry Of Steak and the filmmaker's did the right thing by trimming them down as they don't add much to the movie at all, however it's definitely nice to see them included here. The eleven-minute alternate ending is also included on the disc.

    One of the more interesting supplements is the inclusion of some effects test footage. These were snagged right off of the original negative for the film and it's very cool to see them in this form. Included for your enjoyment are test versions of the opening credits, pod effects work, Brundlefly make up tests, the exploding buy, and a nice bit entitled Cronenfly that features the director taking on Goldblum's role. The combined running time of this footage is just under eight-minutes in length.

    We also get vintage featurette that was made to promote the movie around the time of its release is included next, and it's an interesting if very promotional feeling look behind the scenes of the movie. Also included is a Profile On David Cronenberg which is a brief biography on the director that details his work up through this point in his career. At under five minutes it's not as comprehensive as most of us would have liked but it's still nice to watch for fans of his work.

    Rounding out the extras are some still galleries (publicity, behind-the-scenes, concept art and visual effects), a few theatrical trailers and TV Spots, a trivia track and some interesting 'written' extras in the form of George Langelaan's original short story (originally published in Playboy magazine!), Charles Edward Pogue's original screenplay, David Cronenberg's screenplay rewrite and some great vintage magazine articles covering the production. Menus and chapter selection are also provided.

    The Fly II:

    Again, we get a nice selection of new featurettes starting with A Fly In The Ointment, which interviews producer Stuart Cornfeld for eight-minutes about how and why he came to back this sequel, working with Walas on the film and his thoughts on how all of this turned out. Original Visions interviews screenwriter Mick Garris in a fourteen-minute piece where he speaks quite bluntly about his feelings on the film but also what he tried to bring to the story. Screenwriter Ken Wheat gets twenty-two-minutes in front of the camera in Version 2.0 where he also talks about where some of the ideas for the movie came from, his thoughts on how things turned out and more. Composer Christopher Young speaks for eighteen-minutes in Big And Gothic about the approach that he took to scoring the film, his process, and how he came on board to work on the film. Pretty Fly For A Fly Guy interviews SFX artist Tom Sullivan for eighteen-minutes about how he came on board, some of the challenges that arose during the shoot in terms of the effects work, some of the people he collaborated with and more. The last new interview is a fifteen-minute piece with cinematographer Robin Vidgeon where we learn about what it was like to work with Walas, how things went on set, his feelings about the movie, some background on his career and more. All of these are well done and interesting enough that you'll want to check them out.

    Archival extras start with a commentary track with director Chris Walas and film historian Bob Burns. Walas needs some prying from Burns to open up on a few things but once he does the commentary is pretty decent. It's interesting to hear what he thinks worked and didn't work about the film in hindsight, now that he's had some time to remove himself from it a little bit over the years. While he does manage to avoid any really controversial topics he doesn't sit there and gloss over things either and what we're left with is a pretty honest listening experience that maybe could have gone more in depth on a few things in relation to the quality of the final product. Burns does a good job of pulling out some interesting anecdotes and facts from Walas, however, and the pacing on the discussion is good and if you are one of the movie's fans then you'll want to at least skim through this as Walas does have a good memory and isn't afraid to tell his side of the story of the making of the film.

    We also get an eighty-minute in-depth interview with Walas that covers a lot of the same ground as the commentary track. A vintage fifty-minute interview with producer Steven-Charles Jaffe sheds further light on how this project came to be, working with the other producers and the crew, his thoughts on the performances and the casting, and of course, how he feels about the movie overall.

    Transformations: Looking Back On The Fly II focuses mainly on the special effects work done for the film. This one features interviews with pretty much all of the behind the scenes key players for the film and it features plenty of publicity and still photographs as well as some cool behind the scenes material. There are oodles of clips from the film used throughout the documentary as well as some test footage and effects footage scattered throughout here and there. This look at the making of the movie runs just under fifty-minutes in length and it ends with Walas stating that making the movie was a great experience and that he hopes that it is at least watchable as a monster movie (and I'm of the opinion that it is).

    The Fly Papers: The Buzz On Hollywood's Scariest Insect is an extensive look at the history of the film series from its beginning in the 1950s through up to this film from 1989 and it is excellent. Starting with the making of the Vincent Price film, through to its sequels and then onto Cronenberg's masterpiece, this is a very well made and very thorough examination of what makes these movies so popular and so enduring. It also does a nice job of providing some biographical information on a lot of the people who worked on the film both in front of and behind the cameras. As a historical document of one of horrordom's most enduring franchises, this is very factual and at the same time, very entertaining - a nice mix. It doesn't come off as self-promoting or as self-congratulatory but rather as simply appreciative of the movies and their crews and this documentary is good enough that I can recommend this set on the strength this supplement alone, regardless of how you feel about the feature film on disc one itself. This documentary is narrated by none other than Leonard Nimoy and it runs for almost a full hour in length. Hugh Hefner even shows up to talk about how Playboy ended up publishing the short story in the first place.

    Shout! has also carried over the original The Fly II Featurette that was made to promote the movie when it was brand spanking new in 1989. This is quick at only five minutes in length but is worth watching to see a very young Eric Stoltz discussing his part with great seriousness. We also get a video film production journal (essentially eighteen minutes of raw behind the scenes and test footage), and a nice storyboard to film comparison sequence that is available with or without commentary from Chris Walas.

    Composer's Master Class - Christopher Young is, as you would guess, a look at the life and career of the man who made the music for the movie. This clocks in at roughly thirteen minutes and it proves to be a pretty interesting discussion with Young who talks about how he tried to play up the tragedy of the film with his music and how he set out to do that. There's also just over ten-minutes' worth of Extended Press Kit Interviews with Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga and Chris Walas. These are very promotional in nature but it's good to see them included regardless.

    The disc also includes an alternate 'houseboat' ending (just over a minute in length) which is very cool to see as it is very different than the one on the final version of the film (and in the interest of avoiding spoilers I will say no more), as well as a single deleted scene that was cut mainly for pacing reasons from the looks of things as it doesn't really add a whole lot to the movie at all. It runs just around a minute and a half in length and shows Stoltz vomiting all over a car full of kids. It's rather amusing, but it just doesn't work.

    Rounding out the extras is a teaser trailer, a proper theatrical trailer, a still gallery, a storyboard gallery, menus and chapter selection.

    The Fly Collection - The Final Word:

    The Fly Collection is a pretty impressive achievement. Shout! Factory has gathered together all five films from the series and presenting them in nice shape and not only carrying over the massive trove of existing extras from previous releases but throwing in a whole lot of very interesting new material as well. The movies themselves vary in quality from genuine classic to oddly entertaining but they're all worth seeing. Highly recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized The Fly Collection Blu-ray screen caps!

    • Gary Banks
      Gary Banks
      Senior Member
      Gary Banks commented
      Editing a comment
      The only two films of interest for me are Curse and Cronenberg's Fly. Anyone know if Curse has been released on Region B blu?

    • agent999
      Senior Member
      agent999 commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by Gary Banks
      The only two films of interest for me are Curse and Cronenberg's Fly. Anyone know if Curse has been released on Region B blu?
      Yes, in Australia as part of a complete set. Horrible compression. I mean really, really horrible. Also an Italian complete set which is coming out this week.
      Senior Member
      Last edited by agent999; 12-09-2019, 01:19 PM.
    Posting comments is disabled.

Latest Articles