Venganza Media Gazette

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Venganza Q&A: ‘Fly’ On the Wall With the Hosts of Now Playing Podcast

Although the podcast is famous for chronicling Hollywood’s history of sequels and remakes, it’s not often the show ventures as far back as the mid-20th century.

Now Playing’s 2016 Fall Donation Drive kicked off Friday with a review of 1958’s sci-fi classic The Fly. The five-film Fly retrospective will cover the original Vincent Price starrer and its atomic age sequels, before leading into David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake and its 1988 sequel.

In a Venganza Media Gazette Q&A, hosts Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob discuss remaking beloved science fiction and reinventing fear for 80s era audiences.

Venganza Gazette: First there was Carpenter’s The Thing, then The Fly, and later The Blob. What was it about remaking 50s sci-fi in the 80s?

Stuart: In the 50s we feared that scientists were dangerous, insensitive tinkerers who were always on the verge of bringing about the downfall of man with reckless experimentation in nuclear power and communication with aliens. I think that same fear can be found in 80s films, but we were putting more of the blame on robots and personal computers, as well as the conformity of mass-produced suburbia.

Jakob: Isn’t everything in the 80s about evil robots, or can I just not wait to revisit Chopping Mall?

Stuart: Just look at Jeff Goldblum – so lovable in The Fly, and yet behind his disarming quirkiness is a compulsion to enable technology to remap and transform the human body. He’s going to not only mutate, but also synthesize with the machine that causes his destruction.

Venganza Gazette: Machines did appear as recurring villains in the 80s.

Jakob: The 80s were all about materialism, so the biggest fear is the claustrophobic horror of all your “stuff” crashing in and turning against you.

Arnie: Mix that with jobless people feeling put-off by machines that can do their work for them, and a fear of the “other” due to tensions with the Soviet Union, it was a time to escape and have allegorical stories instead of bleak reality. Studies have shown that when things are bad, people actually go to horror movies more. They face a fear they can handle to cope with the things they can’t.

Venganza Gazette: And that drives Hollywood’s decision to remake old horror properties?

Jakob: Fears change decade to decade. I think if something must be remade, it should be done to reflect the fears and anxiety of the time.

Arnie: I also think many times there is a fandom involving the creators. They grew up watching these films and now, as adults in Hollywood, they have a chance to bring it back. Movies that spoke to creators at a young age and stuck with them were rife for reinterpretation. Though I would argue that the 80s remakes like The Fly and Thing brought radically new elements to the films that many of today’s remakes do not.

Venganza Gazette: Example?

Jakob: The originals had obvious limitations. You’re lucky if you get a decent rubber mask, and [1950s] social norms would never allow the extremes of a dismembered head sprouting legs and crawling across the screen in a film.

Stuart: [It was] a time when we were exploring the boundaries of movie effects and could really depict graphic deaths and grotesque things on the screen. There are lots of reasons to love and respect genre films from the 1950s, but very few of them get under your skin and horrify you.

Jakob: Vincent Price was a great actor, but he belongs to a different era of Hollywood. Can you imagine him investigating Jeff Goldblum’s transformation into a fly?

Stuart: The acting was too stilted, the special effects too embryonic, and the concepts often pulled back from the abyss so that audiences wouldn’t get too upset. It was an overall optimistic decade. Remakes don’t have the luxury of being original, but the best ones (like THING and FLY) can take familiar subject matter further into unsettling places.

Arnie: That could be why today’s remakes aren’t clicking as much as the 80s ones were. Now they’re just playing with CGI that, due to budget, is usually obvious and far from scary.

The Now Playing Podcast 2016 Fall Donation Series runs through December 31, 2016 and features three retrospectives: The Fly, Horror Movies of 1986, and the Re-Animator series.

September 10, 2016 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Venganza Q&A: ‘Fly’ On the Wall With the Hosts of Now Playing Podcast

The Fly (1958) – A Podcast Preview

From the pages of Playboy magazine sprung a horror classic–The Fly! In 1958 this sci-fi fright film scared audience members while also scaring up big money for the studio, all while setting Vincent Price on the path to his career as a horror icon. Its ending has become a cultural reference everyone gets. But now, almost 60 years later, can you still be afraid of…The Fly? If you want to find out…help us! Help us! Donate to keep Now Playing running and hear reviews of all the Fly films!Note: This podcast is not available for general download. The Fly Movie Retrospective Series was made as a special “Thank you” for those Now Playing Supporters who donate between September 1 and December 31, 2016.

You can listen to a preview of this podcast now, and then visit our donation page to find out how to pledge and support Now Playing!

Arnie C:


September 10, 2016 Posted by | Movies, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts, Reviews | , , , , , | Comments Off on The Fly (1958) – A Podcast Preview