It made half what the fly achieved

SFX - - The Fly II -

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.

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