The Fly does not loom large in the great scheme of things. It may not even rank high on the list of movies in which airborne objects -- doomed dirigibles, hijacked 747s, Alfred Hitchcock's assorted jays and starlings -- play a major part. But director Kurt Neumann's low-budget shocker has stood the test of time. Since 1958, The Fly -- buzzing back into Madstone Theaters this Friday and and Saturday, February 21 and 22 -- has intrigued and amused three generations of horror-movie buffs happy to embrace the notion that a brave but foolish young biologist in the midst of a teleportation experiment would go ahead and exchange molecules with a housefly.
The unfortunate fellow, portrayed by one David "Al" Hedison, promptly finds himself transformed into an insect, and what the film's subsequent plot doesn't owe to Franz Kafka (very little), it owes to a crack team of special-effects wizards who spent literally dozens of Twentieth Century Fox studio dollars convincing us of this neat anatomical trick.
Fly cultists -- you know who you are -- have never shown equal enthusiasm for the classic's inevitable sequels, Return of the Fly and Curse of the Fly, and most of them care not at all about Superfly. But even they would have to acknowledge the scary skill with which David Cronenberg remade the picture in 1986.
Still, there's nothing quite like the original, complete with its multifarious fly's-eye view of the lab, of co-stars Patricia Owens, Vincent Price and Herbert Marshall, and -- if we care to imagine it -- of the audience. Here's some great campy fun, showing at 9:30 and midnight. Call 303-752-3200.