It made half what the fly achieved
metamorphose this splatter- packed pot- boiler into something more multiplex- worthy…
“Frank Darabont came onboard and he did a fantastic job of pulling the script together in a very short period of time,” admits Walas. “I really loved collaborating with Frank and he only had some very basic story guidelines from me to work with. At one point we were hoping that we would get Geena Davis back for the sequel so we wrote her character into the screenplay. Initially she was going to be at the beginning, and we would see her give birth before she passed away. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. We couldn’t work out a way to get Jeff Goldblum back, of course, because he was dead at the end of the first movie [ laughs] but I was thrilled when we convinced John Getz to do a cameo. He had, of course, played Geena Davis’s former lover in the Cronenberg film so we had a sense of continuity there.” slapped with a commercially disastrous X rating by the MPAA ( the American censor board) the director had to drastically reduce the red stuff in order to gain a theatrically suitable R rating.
“The MPAA is an odd organisation in that there does not seem to be, even to this day, any hard and fast rules as to what constitutes each rating,” reflects Walas. “The Fly II, like The Fly, was considered an outright horror film – and, to be fair, I think the MPAA is much more lenient toward gruesomeness in a ‘ fantasy’ movie than it is towards violence in other genres. I think other movies were having more ratings problems than us at the time, so I was actually quite pleased when a lot of the great make- up work made it through unscathed.”
Inevitably, a major challenge was designing the title character itself…
“The Fly films were very challenging because of the nature of Brundle’s changing character,” says Walas. “We had to design all of the stages of make- up and puppets to make sense with the gradual metamorphosis of the character while still keeping the actor underneath these appliances relatable as a human being. It was a very intense period of creation but also quite rewarding in the end. It was an amazing time to be working in special effects because everything you made was right there – on camera.”
Released to cinemas on 10 February 1989, with an enormous marketing push from Fox (“Be afraid, be very, very afraid” screamed the theatrical trailers), The Fly II was, mindbogglingly, geared towards the Valentine’s Day market. Yes, someone actually thought that teenage lovers would want to snuggle- up to scenes of dog- destruction, body- horror and ample brain- bashing. In the end, the blood- splashed sequel notched up just $ 20 million during its American release – not a total disaster but just half of what Cronenberg’s previous caper had achieved.
In other words: there was not going to be a Fly III anytime soon…
“I’m glad I got to make the movie,” concludes Walas. “There are some sequences I’m very proud of, like the ending, where the bad guy – Bartok – really does get his just desserts and ends up caught in the same sort of misery that he once afforded to a helpless animal. I don’t know if there is much call for anyone to reappraise the movie today. I know there has not been any talk about a new Blu- ray or anything – but I had fun making it and came away with some interesting tales to tell!”
Could even a mother love this baby? Don’t get in the big thing behind you, just don’t.