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The Fly Collection (1958 - 1989) - Blu-ray Review

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The Fly Collection

Containing one of the most sickening and shocking unveiling scenes in horror history, Kurt Nuemann’s The Fly lands on Blu-ray this week alongside the other Fly-inspired movies.  I’m talking The Return of The Fly, The Curse of The Fly, David Cronenberg’s The Fly, and The Fly II from 1989.  It might be some fifty years later, but still this giant-sized insect can’t be squashed.  Its impact has been too great on the film community and audiences alike.

And now Scream Factory presents the original trilogy and 1986’s The Fly, starring Jeff Goldblum, and its sequel, The Fly II, starring Eric Stoltz and Daphne Zuniga, together in one collection which features brand-new art and all-new featurettes for each of these five titles.

The Fly might be based on a short story by George Langelaan that was originally published by Playboy Magazine and immediately snatched up by Twentieth Century Fox, but it’s the science fiction message – about man messing with the unknown – that lives on, regardless if it is caught inside the flytraps of other lesser films.  That’s why the film sparked a slew of sequels and then, decades later, caught the attention of Cronenberg for a wild remake that people are still talking about.

With a screenplay by James Clavell (his first), The Fly begins with the discovery of the flattened body of scientist Andre Delambre (David Hedison).  His wife, Helene (Patricia Owens), confesses to the crime but police inspector (Herbert Marshall) and Andre’s brother, Francois (Vincent Price), suspect there is more to the story.  They just didn’t expect it to involve a white-headed fly found by Andre and Helene’s son, Philippe (Charles Herbert).

It all begins in Andre’s basement laboratory.  But it ends with a most shocking discovery…and, for those who have yet to see this classic, it won’t be spoiled here.  Just know that it is a certified classic of cinematic monstrosities.  And those classic vibes extend in 1986's remake.

This is not a campy film.  That comes a bit later in the series (Return of the Fly, Curse of the Fly), but in the original it is played straight and, effectively chilling in the final seconds, the actors never stray to play for a casual wink to the audience.  Even as Price chews the scenery with comments about not hurting a fly and such, The Fly plays it straight and terrifies with its old school charm.The Fly Collection

It’s refreshing to see unpretentious science fiction from the latter end of the 1950’s.  The quiet neighborhood charm of the era is balanced nicely with the absolute terror of the situation as a scientist accidentally switches body parts with a fly caught inside his experimental machine that disintegrates objects and then materializes them elsewhere in the room.  That respect is carried on in Cronenberg’s reimagining.

You can call the situation Andre finds himself in a curious accident, but not the majesty of the film.  This is a beautifully haunting experience.  And, yes, this family affair still holds up in 2019, regardless of its era-appropriate special effects.  The good old Cinema-Scope captures every freaky little moment and spits it out nicely.

There’s no escaping The Fly!  Need proof?  Look no further than here with Scream Factory’s latest box set, The Fly Collection.  With a sustained and special focus on Cronenberg's reimagining, this boxed set is bound to please fans.  You will believe a man can become a fly!

5/5 stars

The Fly Collection

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- December 10, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.35:1, 1.85:1
Subtitles
: Return of the Fly: English; The Fly: English SDH, Cantonese, Korean
Audio:
DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; five-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

From Shout Factory's website: Experience the ultimate in horror with The Fly Collection, featuring the chilling original trilogy, the eye-popping '80s remake and its terrifying sequel. Packed with hours of fascinating special features, this 5-disc set includes 1958's The Fly starring Vincent Price; The Return Of The Fly, in which the son of the original scientist continues his father's work; and The Curse Of The Fly, in which a woman finds she's married into the wrong family. David Cronenberg's 1986 remake of The Fly electrified audiences with its ground-breaking, gooey effects and the riveting performance by Jeff Goldblum as Seth Brundle, a scientist whose teleporting experiment takes a tragic toll. The hair-raising sequel to the remake stars Eric Stoltz as Seth Brundle's son, who is beginning to show the effects of his father's experiment. Get ready for hours of skin-crawling terror as you witness a transformation like no other – from man to fly.

Video:

Scream Factory outdoes itself with the fine remastering job on all of the films included here.  Presented with 2.35:1 aspect ratios and 1.86:1 widescreen ratios for the later films, each film’s 1080P MPEG-4 AVC encode is as good as it gets.  At times, they are – especially when compared with other recently released Scream Factory titles – better looking than I expected.  Colors are strong and vibrant and saturated with strong hues of bursting lusciousness and an eye for details.  The sets are also incredibly detailed.  Black levels are solid and shadows, while not deep, are expressive enough.  The image – and its remastering – is a good experience as dirt and debris and random scratches are at a very low level.  

Audio:

The sound, presented here in a good DTS Master Audio 4.0 track for the early films and a strong DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is more than adequate for the films contained in this collection.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See Special Features for the breakdown.

Special Features:

Be afraid!  Be very afraid!  Because this collection is loaded with delicious extras which will keep you entertained for hours on end.  

DISC ONE: THE FLY (1958)

  • NEW Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman And Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr
  • Audio Commentary With Actor David Hedison And Film Historian David Del Valle
  • Biography: Vincent Price
  • Fly Trap: Catching A Classic
  • Fox Movietone News
  • Theatrical Trailer

DISC TWO: RETURN OF THE FLY (1959)

  • NEW Audio Commentary With Actor David Frankham And Jonathan David Dixon
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Tom Weaver
  • Audio Commentary With Actor Brett Halsey And Film Historian David Del Valle
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot
  • Still Gallery

DISC THREE: THE CURSE OF THE FLY (1965)

  • NEW Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman And Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr
  • NEW Interview With Actress Mary Manson
  • NEW Interview With Continuity Renee Glynee
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot
  • Still Gallery

DISC FOUR: THE FLY (1986)

  • NEW Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian William Beard
  • NEW The Meshuggener Scientist – An Interview With Executive Producer Mel Brooks
  • NEW Beauty And The Beast – An Interview With Producer Stuart Cornfeld
  • NEW A Tragic Opera – An Interview With Composer Howard Shore
  • NEW David’s Eyes – An Interview With Cinematographer Mark Irwin
  • NEW Interview With Casting Director Deirdre Bowen
  • Audio Commentary With Director David Cronenberg
  • Fear Of The Flesh: The Making Of The Fly – Covering All 3 Stages Of The Production – Larva, Pupa And Metamorphosis
  • The Brundle Museum Of Natural History With Chris Walas And Bob Burns
  • Deleted Scenes With Storyboard And Script Versions
  • Extended Scenes
  • Alternate Ending
  • Test Footage (Main Titles, Lighting And Makeup Effects)
  • Vintage Featurette/Profile On David Cronenberg
  • Still Galleries (Publicity, Behind-The-Scenes, Concept Art, And Visual Effects)
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • TV Spots
  • George Langelaan’s Short Story
  • Charles Edward Pouge’s Original Screenplay
  • David Cronenberg’s Screenplay Rewrite
  • Magazine Articles With Photos And Video
  • Trivia Track
  • Two Easter Eggs

DISC FIVE: THE FLY II (1989)

  • NEW Fly In The Ointment – An Interview With Producer Stuart Cornfeld
  • NEW Original Visions – An Interview With Screenwriter Mick Garris
  • NEW Version 2.0 – An Interview With Screenwriter Ken Wheat
  • NEW Big And Gothic – An Interview With Composer Christopher Young
  • NEW Pretty Fly For A Fly Guy – An Interview With Special Effects Artist Tom Sullivan
  • NEW Interview With Cinematographer Robin Vidgeon
  • Interview With Director Chris Walas
  • Interview With Producer Steven-Charles Jaffe
  • Audio Commentary With Director Chris Walas And Film Historian Bob Burns
  • Transformations: Looking Back At The Fly II
  • The Fly Papers: The Buzz On Hollywood's Scariest Insect
  • Video Production Journal – A Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Special Effects
  • Composer's Master Class: Christopher Young
  • Storyboard To Film Comparisons With Optional Commentary By Director Chris Walas
  • Vintage Featurette
  • Extended Press Kit Interviews With Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga, And Chris Walas
  • Alternate Ending
  • Deleted Scene
  • Teaser Trailer
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery
  • Storyboard Gallery

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

5/5 stars

The Fly Collection

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