THE FLY Collection: Shout! Factory Blu Review

Shout! Factory delivers one of the year’s best home video releases


Experience the ultimate in horror The Fly Collection, featuring 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. On December 10, 2019, Scream Factory proudly presents the insect-morphing horror set The Fly Collection in a definitive Blu-ray™ release. This massive 5-disc set consists of the chilling original trilogy, the eye-popping 80s remake and its terrifying sequel, and is packed with hours of fascinating special features.

THE FLY (1958)

It all began with a horror film right out of the atomic monsters era, with beloved icon Vincent Price along for the ride. It’s not a creature-feature in the classic sense, instead built around something of a murder mystery as a police inspector tries to find out why a woman, Hélène Delambre (Patricia Owens), has crushed her husband André (David Hedison) to death. The incident stems from André’s efforts to develop transporter technology and an a accident during a test run resulting in a splicing of himself with a housefly. The fallout, efforts to undo the incident, and escalating horrors of this incident unfold through flashbacks leading up to the present interrogation.

There is an old school charm to the film, and a theatrical flourish too. The horror aspects are still pretty effective, but it’s the talented cast, notably the ever-impressive Vincent Price as brother-in-law François, that helps sell things. It hearkens back to the old Universal Monsters series, which is a complement for sure.

Extra Features:

· 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: Taken from A&E, it’s a solid 40 minute dive into the career of the cinematic legend.

· Fly Trap: Catching a Classic: Just over 10 minutes, a pretty light featurette.

· Fox Movietone News: Short snippet previewing the film.

· Theatrical Trailer


A sequel arrived only a year later, a slick and honed effort that improves on its predecessor. The film feels more akin to classic horror features rather than the B-movie backbone of the first. A direct continuation, we return to François Delambre (again Vincent Price) reluctantly acting as mentor to his nephew Phillipe as he tries to recreate his father’s work. One of his collaborators, Alan Hinds (a devilish David Frankham), is determined to take the work as his own and concocts a plan leading to young Phillipe meeting the same fate as his transformed father, with a similar amount of chaos unleashed as a result.

The setup feels eminently familiar to the first, and again it takes a little while to get everything in place; but once the monster shows up, the results are very entertaining. A mix of duplicity and legacy drive the sequel to more impressive heights, aided by a step up in production design and direction.

Extra Features:

· NEW Audio Commentary with actor David Frankham: The actor who plays the deceptive Dr. Hinds gives a rather gleeful and revealing commentary, largely based on personal recollections.

· 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: Stills, behind the scenes photos, posters, and more.


Several years after Return, a third entry to the series landed, one that had a different intent to the film that preceded it. For some reason, it exists as a direct sequel to the original 1958 film, not just ignoring Return, but also offering up a different ending to the original as a launchpad for this tale. Curse of the Fly sees Andre Delambre’s son Henri (Brian Donlevy) working with his own boys, Martin and Albert, to continue the work on teleportation. They have even succeeded in making it work, albeit with some side effects. The test subjects experience conditions from progeria to madness and more, and take the place of a what you might expect from a monster movie.

The film circumvents expectations for a Fly movie, that’s for sure, riffing on some of the basic ideas for the series and delivering them in more over the top ways. The production itself is rather slick, a good chilling vibe, accomplished direction and performances, and quality production values. A rather refreshing take nestled amidst this collection.

Extra Features:

· NEW Audio Commentary with author/film historian Steve Haberman and filmmaker/film historian Constantine Nasr

· NEW interview with actress Mary Manson: The actor who plays the ill-fated first wife of the lead (Judith Delambre) chats for a few minutes about how she got the part and makeup required for the role.

· NEW interview with continuity supervisor Renee Glynee: Covers the film as well as her past association with Hammer studios.

· Theatrical Trailer

· TV Spot

· Still Gallery: Stills, behind the scenes photos, posters, and more.

THE FLY (1986)

Probably the most well known film in this release, David Cronenberg’s ’86 collaboration with Jeff Goldblum became the definitive release in his ‘body horror’ sub-genre. More than horror, it weaves together sci-fi and romance too, with devastating results. Riffing on the ’58 original, Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) is a scientist working on teleportation technology. He meets science writer Veronica “Ronnie” Quaife (Geena Davis), shows her how it works, and a romance blossoms. He eventually uses the device on himself to test its suitability for living matter, but an additional occupant on his journey leaves his DNA spliced with that of a housefly. His unusual behavior starts to drive a wedge between him and Ronnie, his increased speed and energy putting her at unease. But this is nothing compared to the changes in body and behavior yet to come as he starts to be consumed by the monster within.

A mainstream horror, with a healthy dose of humanity and some truly impressive practical effects, Cronenberg went further and crafted a film that transcends its B-movie origins and synopsis. He tragically immerses you in this transformative journey as a man loses himself and a woman loses her lover too. Brundle goes from a caring and quietly spoken man to something more aggressive, driven by new instincts as well as concerns over his identity, legacy, and life. This change and conflict bleed into a relationship given believable life by intense, committed performances from Goldblum and Davis. How their partnership shifts, how change pulls them apart, while themes of trust, fidelity, violence, abortion, and loss bleed into their lives.

As the most well known film here, it gets some pretty special treatment in regards to extra features.

Extra Features:

· NEW Audio Commentary with author/film historian William Beard: Author of The Artist as Monster: The Cinema of David Cronenberg.

· NEW The Meshuggener Scientist — an interview with executive producer Mel Brooks: Many people do not know of Brooks’ (Spaceballs, Blazing Saddles) involvement with the film. In this very welcome interview, he talks about how the remake of the 1958 original came about, his views on horror, his contributions to the film, and bowing to the vision of Cronenberg.

· NEW Beauty and the Beast — an interview with producer Stuart Cornfeld: Running over 20 minutes, the producer talks about the ‘loving a monster’ horror sub-genre, how The Fly fitted into that, and on Cronenberg himself.

· NEW A Tragic Opera — an interview with composer Howard Shore: The maestro (Lord of the Rings, The Silence of the Lambs) talks his process and experiences working with Cronenberg.

· NEW David’s Eyes — an interview with cinematographer Mark Irwin: Twenty five minutes where the DP discusses his work here and his past career too, most notably work on The Blob.

· NEW interview with casting director Deirdre Bowen: Pretty cool insights into the casting process in general, but Bowen breaks it down to specific vibes and physical attributes she looked for to fill the cast too.

· Audio Commentary with director David Cronenberg: One of the highlights of the release, as you might imagine.

· Fear of the Flesh: The Making of THE FLY— covering all 3 stages of the production — Larva, Pupa and Metamorphosis: Pretty comprehensive documentary that is very worth your attention.

· The Brundle Museum of Natural History with Chris Walas and Bob Burns: A tour of some of the remaining props and prosthetics from the film.

· 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): Stills, behind the scenes photos, posters, and more.

· Theatrical Trailers

· TV Spots

· George Langelaan’s short story: That inspired the whole series.

· Charles Edward Pouge’s Original Screenplay: Along with the following feature, it offers a compelling dive into Cronenberg’s process.

· David Cronenberg’s Screenplay Rewrite

· Magazine articles with photos and video

· Trivia Track

· Two Easter Eggs

THE FLY II (1989)

Like father like son. Taking a cue from the 1958/1959 originals, The Fly II picks up years after Seth Brundle has met his fate, and Veronica Quaife has given birth to a son. A monstrous birth resulting in her death gave way to a normal boy, for appearances’ sake at least. The child Martin Brundle demonstrates accelerated aging as well as a heightened intellect, showcasing his father’s aptitude for science. Now 5 years old, but matured to adulthood, Martin (Eric Stoltz) is put in charge of a project to rebuild his father’s teleportation technology by Anton Bartok (an odious Lee Richardson), a wealthy industrialist who not only funded Seth’s research, but took Martin in after his mother’s death. While Bartok sees the financial rewards of the research, Martin sees reviving the technology as the key to reversing his condition and perhaps escaping the same fate as his father.

Like the ’86, we have themes of legacy, notably with Martin following in his father’s footsteps. It’s a slow burn rumination on the horrors before and the horrors to come. The Fly II feels similar in how Robocop II is to Robocop. The originals are landmarks of sci-fi/horror; the followups pale in comparison but deliver fun, schlocky fare. It’s a return to the B-movie roots of the whole series with plenty of gnarly practical effects sequences and a more commercial slant, albeit with some genuinely twisted ideas.

Extra Features:

· NEW Fly in the Ointment — an interview with producer Stuart Cornfeld: An unvarnished opinion on the sequel from the producer of the original, and a man who left the sequel due to creative differences. A great watch.

· NEW Original Visions — an interview with screenwriter Mick Garris: Another frank interview, where Garris shares his original concept for the film, how the ideas evolved, his thoughts on seeing the final product, and a reflection on his career too.

· NEW Version 2.0 — an interview with screenwriter Ken Wheat: As the title implies, Wheat came on board to rewrite the film’s script. He talks (for over 20 minutes) about how he approached it, as well as the interference from the studio during his work.

· NEW Big and Gothic — an interview with composer Christopher Young: A rather sweet interview where Young describes his big break getting a job with Fox and, surprisingly, how much he actually likes Fly II.

· NEW Pretty Fly for A Fly Guy: an interview with special effects artist Tom Sullivan: What starts as pretty typical turns into something rather personal.

· NEW interview with cinematographer Robin Vidgeon: Hired on the basis of his work for Hellraiser, which gives you a good idea about the macabre tone they set out for.

· Interview with director Chris Walas: Who was also special effects supervisor on the ’86 version, so his additions here are especially pertinent and interesting.

· Interview with producer Steven-Charles Jaffe

· Audio Commentary with director Chris Walas and film historian Bob Burns

· Transformations: Looking Back at The Fly II: Pretty effective retrospective on the film and its reception.

· The Fly Papers: The Buzz on Hollywood’s Scariest Insect: Narrated by Leonard Nimoy no less.

· Video Production Journal — a behind-the-scenes look at the special effects: Short but cool look at some of the gnarly practical effects created for the film.

· Composer’s Master Class: Christopher Young: Discusses the film and his previous career/collaborations.

· Storyboard to Film Comparisons with optional commentary by director Chris Walas: Always appreciate seeing these kinds of concept transitions, and the commentary clarifies a lot of intent.

· Vintage Featurette

· Extended Press Kit Interviews with Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga, and Chris Walas

· Alternate Ending

· Deleted Scene

· Teaser Trailer

· Theatrical Trailer

· Still Gallery: Stills, behind the scenes photos, posters, and more.

· Storyboard Gallery

The Bottom Line

Horror is one of the best genres of film to gain insight into a culture or an era, and this collection spanning multiple decades interpreting a similar concept is a wonderful thing to traverse. From the classic atomic age, to B-movie, embracing body horror, and ‘80s excess, it’s the perfect collection to dip into one of the landmark series of the genre. Richly enhanced with some top quality extra features, Shout! Factory have saved the best till last, sneaking in at the end of 2019 with one of the best home video releases of the year. Teleport it into your collection asap.

The Fly Collection is available via Shout! Factory now.

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