Musings in the Dark: Horror 102: Body Horror


Horror 102: Body Horror

The Fly (1986) stars Jeff Goldblum as eccentric scientist Seth Brundle.  Seth has invented a teleportation device, which garners the interest of investigative reporter Veronica Quaife, played by Geena Davis.  Veronica wants to write an article about Seth’s research but Seth convinces her to wait, as there are some kinks that need to be ironed out.  Veronica spends time with Seth while he works on the device and they eventually fall in love. 

One particular day, Seth, thinking that Veronica has gone back to her former lover, gets wasted and decides to teleport himself.  In the midst of the process, a fly enters one of the pods with him just before Seth is teleported to the other pod.  The inclusion of the fly during teleportation changes Seth physically for the better at first.  He becomes stronger, craves sugar, and begins to grow thick hairs on his back.  His sexual appetite also increases, to the point where Veronica can no longer keep up with his raging libido.

Seth’s changes begin to worsen; he grows blisters all over, his fingernails fall out, his fingers begin to secrete thick fluid and he grows more thick hairs on other body parts.  He realizes that something went wrong during the teleportation and learns from the computer that a fly was in the pod with him just before activation.  His body continues to deteriorate rapidly and he convinces Veronica to document his metamorphosis.  Veronica learns that she is pregnant with Seth’s child and wants to abort it when she realizes just how bad off Seth is and what his eventual fate will be.  Ultimately, she ends up having to put Seth out of his misery.

The Fly was directed by David Cronenberg, a body horror virtuoso.  Body horror movies disgust me on sheer principle, but I love The Fly.  It’s definitely a classic.


  1. This is one of my all time favorite movies as child. Thanks for reminding me.

    I so did not appreciate the sequel. What a waste of time.

    1. I didn't even fool with it. Nah. I'm good with the original.


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