The Fly II

Year: 1989

Production: Brooksfilms / 20th Century-Fox

Director: Chris Walas

Starring: Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga, Lee Richardson, John Getz, Frank Turner, Ann Marie Lee, Gary Chalk, Saffron Henderson

Screenwriter: Mick Garris, Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat, Frank Darabont

Based on a story by Mick Garris

104 minutes; Color

This is a genuine sequel to the remake of The Fly (1986), not just a lame excuse for more horrific "fly" effects. Walas, the skilled technician who created those effects for the earlier film, here made his directorial debut, and surprised many by doing so assured a job of it. Seth Brundle's girlfriend, made pregnant by him in the previous film, dies after giving birth to a "monster"; beneath the larva-like casing is an apparently normal baby. At age 5, however, the child has a near-adult appearance and superintelligence. His adoptive father, head of Bartok Industries, is secretly determined to exploit both Brundle's son and his matter transmission device, realizing that the genetic melding the device allows gives him a handle for controlling "the form and function of all life". The subtext is more reassuring than in Cronenberg's earlier film, and The Fly II becomes retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with a crude but satisfying comeuppance for Bartok at the end. Though Cronenberg is the one popularly supposed to show disgust for the flesh, it is Walas whose more conventioal affection for nomality has the effect of reducing the son's metamorphosis to a mere occasion for horror. This deeply conservative film is less subtle than its predecessor, though it has interesting Freudian reverberations, and many people will prefer Walas' emphasis on the corruption of an external agency (Industry) to Cronenberg's emphasis on the tragic divisions of the Self.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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