It Came From the 80s: What Do You Get When You Mix Pizza, Beer, and… The Fly?

The Fly (1986) PosterBy Sheri White

In the summer of 1987, I flew to Texas to visit with my dad.  I was married to the Marine at the time, but he had been to deployed to Okinawa (I did get to go visit him there; it was very cool).  I was lonely a lot, though, and needed a change of scenery, so my dad sent me a ticket.

My dad lives in the Dallas area, which is an awesome place to visit.  Great restaurants, fun things to do and see, and real cowboys (not the football team)!  I hadn’t been there since my brother and I went down in 1982 when I was sixteen.  And there’s no better place on Earth to get a medium-rare steak.

Our first stop was lunch at The Magic Time Machine; a theme restaurant where the servers dressed up like characters from movies and TV, or even real people like John Wayne or Elvis.  The salad bar was a fire truck!  I may have been 21, but I wasn’t too old (nor will I ever be) for The Magic Time Machine.

On to Dave & Busters for some beer and video games for a couple hours, then we were ready to rent a movie.  I had already seen The Fly, but my dad hadn’t so we picked that up.  Having seen it before, I was ready for the grossness, but Dad wasn’t.  And his stomach doesn’t handle disgusting things so well.  Heh.

Davis does a little VHS recording action in The Fly (1986).

Davis does a little VHS recording action in The Fly (1986).

We ordered pizza for dinner and had more beer.  I knew that combination would be sloshing around his stomach throughout the movie.    The beginning of the movie is fine; Veronica, a journalist, meets Seth Brundle, a brilliant but eccentric scientist, who shows her his invention, a teleporter.  She decides to report on this extraordinary invention, and they also fall in love.

First he sends inanimate objects from one pod to the next; the success of these experiments leads him to try a monkey, with horrific results.  This little scene was my dad’s first taste of the horrors to come.  The monkey turns inside out, still alive, and it’s showed in loving detail.  Dad was so grossed out.

A full shot of Brundlefly completely mutated.

What do you mean I forgot my pants?

Seth decides Veronica is messing around with her old boyfriend (she isn‘t), who happens to be her editor, so he gets drunk and decides to teleport himself.  However, he doesn’t realize that a fly gets into the machine with him, and this is where his life goes to crap.

He doesn’t outwardly change right away, but Veronica gets clues from his behavior, then finds weird hairs growing out of his back.  She has them analyzed – insect hairs.

My dad is doing OK at this point; it’s pretty tame – until the outward changes start occurring.  At various times, Seth Brundle is losing teeth, peeling off his fingernails, and breaking some tough guy’s arm with his sudden strength.  Veronica wants no part of this lunacy, and she backs off.  But when Seth calls her for help, she can’t resist.

Dad is full of Coors and Domino’s, and it’s coming back to haunt him now.  I’m sitting where he can’t quite see me without looking directly at me, so I get to covertly hide my eyes when I know gross parts are coming.  I don’t give Dad that courtesy.

Now, one thing that gets my dad really bad is when people throw up.  Or when dogs or cats throw up.  Vomiting from anything, man or animal, gets him feeling pukey himself.

Pukey McPukerson and the Puke Machine.

Pukey McPukerson and the Puke Machine.

So when Seth suddenly spews white goo without warning, I really thought Dad was going to lose it.  He completely freaked.  I laughed so hard I thought beer would come out my nose.  It was great.

I guess I could’ve been a better daughter and told him there was more vomiting in the movie.  But that would’ve spoiled my fun!  I also could’ve told him about body parts decaying and dropping off the Brundlefly, or the maggot birth scene, but I didn’t.

By the time the movie finally ended, my dad was a shell of himself.  Shaky, worn-out and grossed-out.  He was also a little pissed off, but more amused at the situation than anything.  And I think he’s forgiven me by now; I mean, it’s been over 20 years since that night.  But it’s fun to get his reaction when I remind him of the movie; I don’t think he’s seen it again.  When I do mention it, he gets a great look of horror on his face – I love it.

Hopefully he’ll be heading up to Maryland sometime this year, and I think I know what movie to put in the DVD player after we order up some Domino’s and drink some Coors Light…

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About Joel Robertson

I'm the father of three boys and married to my high school sweetheart. I'm a former public school teacher (and still recovering from PTSD), reformed filmmaker, podcaster, writer, and fan of all things movie related.

17 comments to It Came From the 80s: What Do You Get When You Mix Pizza, Beer, and… The Fly?

  • Peter Nielsen

    A great story Sheri, thanks for sharing! Bit of a mean-streak there, huh? :-) It IS a pretty gross-out kinda movie, hehe…
    Let’s remain in 1987! Late January, to be precise (I think)! “The Fly” premiered in the theaters here in Sweden at that time. An old friend of mine and myself are sitting in the backseat of their family-car. His older sister is driving! She and a friend of hers were going to watch “The Fly” and had asked us if we’d want to tag along. Big mistake on her part, I guess… We were going to turn 19 that year and we were not immature at all… Yeah , sure!
    The movie freaked them out big time and we tormented these poor girls afterwards in the car, whilst going home. We said we were hungry and wanted a big juicy hamburger (making slurping sounds), and she wondered how we could even THINK of eating after that movie?? And, no, we’were NOT stopping for food. We continued with the slurping AND buzzing sounds for a while. It got to the point were she, in a very calm voice, asked us to please stop or we could get the f**k out of the car and walk home…
    Needless to say, we were quiet after that. :-)

    We did get our burgers though…

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Azzric, Joel G. Robertson. Joel G. Robertson said: @sheriw1965 asks the eternal question "What Do Get When You Mix Pizza, Beer, and… The Fly?" in her new post! http://bit.ly/fbtBF3 [...]

  • Great story, Peter! I know I didn’t eat for a while after seeing it for the first time. So glad you enjoyed the essay!

  • Maggie

    Fantastic story, Sheri, have been sitting here giggling to myself! You know what, I’m such a wuss I don’t think I’ve seen The Fly all the way through to this day. I’ve seen the Vincent Price original though, if you ever get a chance to see it, it’s well worth a look – definitely less gross out, but still quite creepy (if not a little unintentionally hilarious at the end).

  • Thanks for making me dry heave today. Took me two sittings to get through that story. That is the one downside of movie love – there are some things you just can’t unsee.

  • Jason

    Sheri, that was hilarious. My dad and I did the same thing to my mom only add in lots of snickering and giggling in between. We had both already seen it and were really just waiting to get her to the “eating” scene. Between that and the arm wrestling scene she had enough and went off to read a book. What is it about this movie that brings out the torturer in us? LOL!

    • Thanks, Jason! This movie does bring out the worst in people, because I can’t wait to do the same thing to my kids! Especially my 15-year-old who has a very week stomach. ;-)

  • Dan

    Lovely story Sheri. I’m always trying to scare my mother with horror films. The best ones aren’t the violent films but the supernatual ones. She hates a frightening poltergeist prowling around the house!

    • Hi Dan, thanks for stopping by! I agree. While I don’t mind violence, often it’s the subtle creepy atmosphere of “quieter” supernatural pictures that really gets at you.

    • Thanks, Dan! I made my mom watch The Grudge, and she still hasn’t forgiven me. She likes suspense, not terror. But I think it was payback for her making ME watch the original Night of the Living Dead when I was about eight years old! She didn’t want to watch it alone! Then she made me go to bed.

  • Manuel

    funny cause…my dad made me watch the movie with him in that same year and it tramuatized me bad. i had nightmares about it, i cant look at puke in movies since and i wont even get into the weirdo neighbor who resembled jeff goldblum…..

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