KLAATU YOU (13)
March 25, 2020
One in a weekly series of enthusiastic posts, contributed by HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the topic of our favorite pre-Star Wars science fiction movies.
THE FLY | d. KURT NEUMANN | 1958
A fly is distracting, perhaps, but flies are momentary presences, readily forgotten. They appear, they disappear, and there is no reason to think of any one as more significant than any other.
Imagine, though, if a fly, small and uncontrollable, held the key to your life’s order and happiness. It might be somewhere in the house. You might be able to catch it. The catastrophe that has in the last day come upon you might be able to be reversed. Is it in the room? Can you hear it?
In the Atomic Age tiny things held the potential for catastrophe, the ability to vaporize and mutate. Even those who haven’t seen The Fly know its story. A science experiment in matter transmission goes wrong and the bodies of a man and a fly become scrambled. The scientist André Delambre now has the head and forelimb of the fly that had, without his realising it, been in the machine with him at the moment of transfer. After the accident he lurks in his basement laboratory, a cloth hiding his horrific features, typing out increasingly more desperate instructions to his wife Hélène. His last hope hinges on her finding the fly with which his body has merged.
Upstairs Hélène, their son Phillipe, and the housekeeper chase the fly around the elegant sitting room. Their frantic movements are in contrast to the sedate furnishings. The cream brocade lounge chairs and the fussy candelabras and porcelain ornaments are the relics of the secure, wealthy life that has now been disturbed. A lamp falls. Hélène pours sugar over the table. But the fly escapes out through the window.
Watching Hélène’s despair as she runs out into the garden, into the vast alive world of trees and sky, I recognized the feeling. Desperately clinging to some small detail, wishing for things to go back to how they had been before the disaster. I knew this fly: it was hope when hope had already been lost, it was the revenge of insignificance.
KLAATU YOU: INTRODUCTION by Josh Glenn | Matthew De Abaitua on ZARDOZ | Miranda Mellis on METROPOLIS | Rob Wringham on THE INVISIBLE MAN | Michael Grasso on THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN | Gordon Dahlquist on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY | Erik Davis on DARK STAR | Carlo Rotella on THE OMEGA MAN | Madeline Ashby on KISS ME DEADLY | Adam McGovern on SILENT RUNNING | Michael Lewy on THIS ISLAND EARTH | Josh Glenn on WILD IN THE STREETS | Mimi Lipson on BARBARELLA vs. SINS OF THE FLESHAPOIDS | Vanessa Berry on THE FLY | Lynn Peril on ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN | Peggy Nelson on SOLARIS | Adrienne Crew on LOGAN’S RUN | Ramona Lyons on THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH | Kio Stark on THE STEPFORD WIVES | Dan Fox on FANTASTIC PLANET | Chris Lanier on IKARIE XB-1 | Devin McKinney on IDAHO TRANSFER | Mark Kingwell on THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO | Luc Sante on THE TENTH VICTIM | William Nericcio on DEATH RACE 2000 | Rob Walker on CAPRICORN ONE | Gary Panter on ANGRY RED PLANET | David Levine on THE STEPFORD WIVES | Karinne Keithley Syers on ALPHAVILLE | Carolyn Kellogg on IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE | Sara Ryan on ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN | Lisa Jane Persky on PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE | Adam Harrison Levy on BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES | Gerald Peary on CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON | Susannah Breslin on A CLOCKWORK ORANGE | Seth on WAR OF THE WORLDS | James Hannaham on GOJIRA/GODZILLA | Lydia Millet on VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED | Matthew Daniel on FANTASTIC VOYAGE | Shawn Wolfe on ROLLERBALL | Erin M. Routson on WESTWORLD | Marc Weidenbaum on COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT | Neil LaBute on 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA | Vicente Lozano on DAY OF THE DOLPHIN | Tom Roston on SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE | Katya Apekina on A BOY AND HIS DOG | Chelsey Johnson on THE BLOB | Heather Kapplow on SPACE IS THE PLACE | Brian Berger on THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS | Anthony Miller on THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL.
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