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100 minutes · 1986

Drama, Horror, SciFi/Fantasy
David Cronenberg's 1986 remake of the Vincent Price shocker, though what it reminds you of most, in its uneasy meld of physical deformity and romance, is Peter Bogdanovich's Mask. The mixture didn't work there and doesn't here either: image so much subverts intention that Jeff Goldblum's tragic flyperson finally seems more ludicrous than affecting, voyeuristically bizarre. For a while Goldblum's quirkiness (as teleportation master Seth Brundle) keeps the movie afloat, but as he sinks irrevocably into his fly suit, everything else sinks with him. Still, it's an interesting experiment Cronenberg's attempted, if ultimately in the wrong direction: almost none of the minimalist alienation of, e.g., Scanners and Videodrome remains, and the stylistic opening out diminishes those films retrospectively, makes them seem less authentic than they are. The warmth and accessibility may be flattering to Cronenberg's psyche, but the creative loss is considerable.

35mm. Screens as part of the "Cinema Science" series, with an introduction by Erica Zahnle of the Field Museum. Tue 10/24, 7:15 PM.
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