Monday, February 04, 2008

· Body Horror

I just watched David Croneberg's 1986 film The Fly. Hoo boy. What a gnarly movie. I have to admit that I am a big wuss, though: I couldn't watch it all in one sitting, and in the end, I was only able to finish it by playing a video game at the same time so that my attention was divided. I found The Fly very similar to Tetsuo: The Iron Man, another film to which I had similar reaction, years ago, and also couldn't watch all at once. Both films are about a man progressively turning into something else (In Tetsuo, the main character becomes a machine).

Why such a strong reaction? Well, in these films we identify with the characters portrayed, projecting our own identities on to them. Because we can see ourselves in them, we want them to be safe and to succeed against the odds. But both of these movies function as a reversal of standard tropes of the horror genre. The hero isn't just being pursued by the monster, the hero is the monster. That's much scarier. It gets much worse when sex is added in and becomes an act of violence. Yikes.

Nevertheless, I have another Cronenberg film, Scanners, in my Netflix queue. Am I a glutton for punishment or what?


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