“How Long Does a Franchise Live?”

This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.

There are few species that Hollywood is more keen to preserve than a good SF or horror franchise. Few genre films emerge these days without at least someone in the money chain keeping an eye on the sequel potential; and those that do not pass muster today are reappraised frequently by those hoping for a juicy remake. This wasn’t always the case, of course – whilst now series of films are carefully cultivated, there once was a much more chaotic time when they were allowed to grow unmanaged, like weeds. Take, for instance, the example of the original Fly movies; like Jeff Goldblum in David Cronenberg’s remake, they began looking pretty decent, but with subsequent iterations became increasingly unbearable to watch…

The Fly

On my Blu-Ray copy of the 1958 version of The Fly 20th Century Fox has gone out of its way to make sure all the cover artwork and the art on the menu screen is in black and white, presumably to avoid people accidentally thinking this is the 1980s Fly from David Cronenberg; this misses a trick, though, considering how actually this was a colour feature – in fact, it’s a full-colour widescreen extravaganza, which by 1950s standards means it was a decidedly high-budget affair for a genre movie – particularly one with subject matter as gruesome for its time (and still gruesome in its implications today) as this one.

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