After last week’s special screening of Glazer’s modern day sci-fi hit, Under the Skin – the third in a series of late-night screenings exploring ‘what it is to be human’ – The Watershed decided to travel back in time for their fourth and final event in this series, which is also a part of their contribution to the BFI’s ‘Sci Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder’ season.
On Friday, 24th October, the long-standing cross-art form venue graced us with an evening filled with sci-fi sounds, science-themed costume competitions, Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. Unfortunately the latter two weren’t actually there at the screening in person, but they did make an appearance in the immensely popular science fiction gorefest, The Fly (1986).
David Cronenberg’s horrifying remake of the 1958 sci-fi classic paints the repulsive, yet hilarious, picture of a scientist by the name of Seth Brundle, and the relationship between him, his revolutionary research project, and a science-magazine reporter who finds herself so interested in what Brundle is hiding in his apartment, that she agrees to move in with him to do some thorough research on a book she is convinced to write about Seth’s scientific exploits. Only to watch him plunge himself deeper and deeper into his work. Until it all goes wrong.
Jeff Goldblum takes on the role of the leading man and promising research scientist with tremendous ease. His comedic timing and energy carries the film all the way to the finish line – or at least to the point where Brundlefly takes centre-stage, along with Cronenberg’s first-class demonstration of just how far you can go with horror special effects and make-up in 1980’s Hollywood.
About two thirds of the way through the film, the dark humour in Cronenberg’s and Charles Edward Pogue’s script truly becomes a thing of the past; replaced with gory scenes that could make even those with years of experience in the realm of horror films squirm and cringe in their seats – it does get quite excessive in some parts… However, Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) and the rest of the cast react accordingly to this motion picture’s vile symptoms, and although the actual fly only has about 4 minutes worth of screen time, it is the one tiny factor that changes everything; the single, voiceless character that sets off a terribly unfortunate series of events. But nevertheless, it is still merely one element in one hell of a good film.
Overall, seeing The Fly at The Watershed was, without a doubt, a worthwhile experience. Despite its seemingly modest size, the venue boasts a spacious café/bar serving a late-night menu ranging from a Mediterranean Mezze Board to a pint of Korev, all of which you can take into the cinema screen with you to eat or drink whilst you watch. Throw in some geeky lab coats as part of the immersive cinematic experience and a very funny TV advert for General Electric featuring Mr. Goldblum himself and you have a recipe for a thoroughly enjoyable Friday night.
By Daniel Thorpe