Saturday, October 23, 2010

31 Monsters of October, Day 23: The Fly

Real World Origin:
Film, The Fly (1958)

In-Universe Origin:
When brilliant scientist Andre Delambre is found with his head and hand crushed under a hydraulic press, his wife Helene admits to killing him, but insists that she loved her husband and that she had no motivation to commit murder. This inconsistent behavior, as well as an obsession with flies, particularly one that she claims has a white head, leads the police to believe that she has gone insane. Only when the police pretend that they've found the white-headed fly does she tell her story on the condition that they destroy the fly.

As revealed in flashback, Helene's workaholic but loving husband had developed a teleportation device. He became obsessed with perfecting the teleporter, which suffered from various glitches. After Andre spent several days alone in the lab, Helene went downstairs to investigate. She found her husband with a black cloth over his head. Unable to speak, Andre handed Helene type-written notes telling her that he had an accident and making strange requests; one of which was to find a white-headed fly.

Andre eventually revealed that a fly had entered the teleporter chamber when he tested it on himself. The teleporter mixed his components with those of the fly, leaving Andre with a fly's head and left arm. His only hope was to find the fly and send the two through the teleporter again. However, when attempts to capture the fly failed, and when Andre began to feel the insect's instincts taking over his mind, he destroyed his lab and asked Helene to kill him in such a way that the results of his experiment would not be discovered.

The story serves only to convince the police that Helene is mad. As they take her into custody, Helene and Andre's son Phillipe tells the police that he found the white-headed fly in a spider's web. Helene's mental state is reevaluated when close inspection shows that the fly has the miniaturized head and arm of a human being.

In the sequel, Return of the Fly (1959), Phillipe Delambre attempts to recreate his father's teleporter. Unfortunately, he suffers his father's fate (although this time with a larger head) as the result of malicious industrial sabotage. 

The Fly was remade in 1986, wherein scientist Seth Brundle also encounters a fly in his teleportation device. Unlike Andre or Phillipe, Brundle's transformation is explained in terms of genetic mixing and occurs gradually. The mutation also affects his entire body, rather than individual parts such as his head or arm.

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