Brundlefly is a human-fly hybrid monster from David Cronenberg's 1986 film adaptation of The Fly.
Seth Brundle undergoes eight specific stages in his horrific metamorphosis into Brundlefly. At first just after Seth Brundle merges with the housefly, he appears as a completely normal human. Gradually he begins to develop lesions on his body that sprout large thick insect-like hairs, as well as boil-like growths on his face. Brundle's teeth and fingernails also begin to fall out in this stage.
In the third stage, Brundle's face begins to show noticeable reddish discoloration and grotesque bumps and creases. In the fourth stage, Brundle displays more prevalent facial deformities and his hair begins to fall out. A strange herniated growth appears on his side in this stage.
In the fifth stage which appears only in a deleted scene, Brundle can no longer wear clothes and his body is becoming an infected-looking mess of deteriorated flesh and growths, while a fly limb emerges from the growth on his side. In the sixth stage, Brundle's head has become misshapen and almost all of his hair is gone. His body has also deteriorated even further, as he walks with a hunch and his some of his fingers appear to be partially fused.
In the seventh stage, Brundle completely sheds his deteriorating human skin and becomes Brundlefly. Brundlefly maintains the bipedal stance, relative limb shape and placement, and number of eyes of a human, but possesses an fly-like head and appendages and what appears to be a vestigial fly limb sprouting from its back. In the eighth and final stage, Brundlefly merges with a telepod and has a large hunk of metal embedded in its back, with its entire lower body replaced with a mess of wires and metal.
Brundlefly was created when scientist Seth Brundle used his inventions, telepods, to transport himself molecule by molecule from one telepod to the other. However, a common housefly had entered the pod with Brundle and the computer failed to distinguish Brundle from the fly and spliced the two together on the molecular level. While Brundle did not notice anything wrong at first, the fly genes gradually began to express themselves, transforming Brundle into a horrific man-fly hybrid.
The Fly (1986)Edit
At a meet-the-press event sponsored by Bartok Science Industries, Seth Brundle, a brilliant but eccentric scientist, meets Veronica Quaife, a science journalist. Seth takes Veronica back to the warehouse which as serves as both his home and laboratory, where he shows her a project that will change the world: a set of "Telepods" that allows instantaneous teleportation of an object from one pod to another. Brundle convinces Veronica to keep the project's existence quiet in exchange for exclusive rights to the story, and she begins to document his work. Although the Telepods can transport inanimate objects, they cannot teleport living things, a testbaboon is turned-inside out during an experiment.
Seth and Veronica soon begin a romantic relationship, and their first sexual encounter provides inspiration for Seth, who reprograms the Telepod computer to cope with living flesh. Shortly thereafter, he successfully teleports a second baboon. Seth wants to have a romantic celebration with Veronica, but she abruptly departs without telling him why. Seth's judgment soon becomes impaired by alcohol and his fear that Veronica is secretly rekindling her relationship with her editor and former lover, Stathis Borans. In reality, Veronica has left to confront Borans about a veiled threat, spurred by his romantic jealousy of Brundle, to publish the Telepod story without her consent. Drunk and jealous, Seth hastily teleports himself, unaware that a common housefly has slipped inside the transmitter pod. Brundle emerges from the receiving pod, seemingly normal.
After Seth and Veronica reconcile, Seth exhibits what at first appear to be beneficial effects, such as increased strength, stamina, and sexual potency, and he mistakenly believes that the teleporter has improved and "purified" his body. Veronica, however, is more concerned about Seth's growing mania and the strange, bristly hairs growing out of a recent wound on his back. Brundle quickly becomes unstable, intolerant and violent, and he tries to force Veronica to undergo teleportation. When she refuses, he abandons her to indulge in a barroom arm wrestling match and casual sex with a woman named Tawny, whom he picks up at the bar. Veronica's next-morning arrival at the lab spares Tawny from being forcibly teleported. Brundle angrily throws Veronica out and dismisses her concerns about his health, but when his fingernails begin falling off, he realizes something went horribly wrong. He checks his computer's records and discovers the Telepod computer, confused by the presence of a secondary life-form, merged him with the fly at the genetic level.
Four weeks later, Seth reaches out to Veronica, and theorizes that he is slowly becoming a hybrid creature, which Seth dubs "Brundlefly". Now severely disfigured, Brundle exhibits fly-like characteristics, such as vomiting digestive enzymes onto his food, and the ability to cling to walls. He also realizes that his motives and compassion as a human are waning, replaced by savage impulses.
(In a Deleted Scene) The desperate Brundle (in a transitional makeup stage which appears only in this scene) uses the Telepods to merge an alley cat and the surviving baboon together in an attempt to find a cure for his condition. However, the resulting "monkey-cat" creature comes out of the receiving Telepod terribly deformed and in unendurable pain. The creature attacks Brundle, who ends up beating the two-headed creature to death with a metal pipe so as to end its misery. The sequence goes on to show the disturbed Brundle scaling the wall of his lab up to the roof, only to feel a sharp pain in his left side (specifically, in the hernia-like bulge seen in the final cut of the film when Brundle first demonstrates his wall-crawling powers). He accidentally slips off the roof, slides down the wall, lands on a metal awning, and watches as a small, fly-like leg emerges from his torso. Horrified by this new appendage, Brundle amputates it with his teeth.
Attempting to find a cure for his condition, Brundle installs a fusion program into the Telepod computer to dilute the fly genes in his body with more human DNA. To her horror, Veronica learns that she is pregnant by Seth, and cannot be sure when the child was conceived. After she has a nightmare of giving birth to a giant maggot, a terrified Veronica seeks a late-night abortion, only to be abducted by Brundle, who begs her to carry the child to term, since it could be the last remnant of his untainted humanity. Veronica sadly refuses, afraid that the child will be a hideous mutant. When Borans, armed with a shotgun, attempts to rescue Veronica, the horribly-degenerated Brundle dissolves Borans' hand and foot with his corrosive enzyme.
Brundle then reveals his desperate, last-ditch plan to Veronica—he will use the three Telepods (the third pod being the prototype) to fuse himself, Veronica, and their unborn child together into one entity, so they can be the "ultimate family". Veronica frantically resists Brundle's efforts and accidentally tears off his jaw, triggering his final transformation into a monstrous hybrid. The "Brundlefly" creature traps Veronica inside Telepod 1 and steps into Telepod 2. However, the wounded Borans uses his shotgun to sever the cables connecting Veronica's Telepod to the computer, allowing Veronica to escape unharmed. Breaking out of its own pod just as the fusion process is activated, Brundlefly is gruesomely fused with the metal door and cabling of Telepod 2. As the mortally-wounded Brundlefly/Telepod creature crawls out of the receiving pod, it silently begs Veronica to end its suffering with Borans' shotgun. Veronica tearfully hesitates, then pulls the trigger and falling to her knees, weeping over the mangled remains of her lover.
- Superhuman Strength - Brundlefly possesses the proportional strength of an insect with a body the size of a human, granting him incredible strength. Brundle was able to tear a much larger man's arm open during an arm wrestling match and later smash clean through a large glass window by jumping into it.
- Superhuman Stamina: Due to the fly genes in his body, Brundlefly is able to perform physical activities for a longer period.
- Superhuman Agility - Brundlefly can jump to incredible heights and over large distances.
- Wall-Crawling - Due to his fly genes, Brundlefly is able to stick to and scale walls and ceilings just like a normal insects do.
- Vomit-Drop - Brundlefly's most deadly ability is to vomit a corrosive liquid that he uses to externally digest food so he can absorb and consume it. While this is a natural ability of a fly in order to eat its food, Brundlefly can use it as a method of attack to melt human flesh.
In the first stage of his metamorphosis, Brundle looks like a completely normal human, because the fly genes that have merged with him have not yet been replicated in his cells and are not yet expressed.
In the second stage, Brundle exhibits incredible agility, increased stamina, and greatly enhanced strength. Eventually Brundle develops a large scab-like patch on his back with thick black insect hairs growing from it. Brundle also develops boil-like growths on his face and his fingernails and teeth begin to fall out.
In the third stage, Brundle's skin becomes discolored to a unnaturally reddish tone and his face develops several creases, growths, and other deformities. Brundle now experiences difficulty walking and uses two canes to walk. He also can no longer digest solid food and needs to vomit corrosive digestive enzymes onto his food before he eats it.
In the fourth stage, Brundle's skin has further deteriorated and his hair has begun to fall out. He has also developed a strange herniated growth on his side. In this stage, Brundle's speech begins to be affected, as his words are somewhat muffled and slurred. In this stage, Brundle gains the ability to crawl on walls and other surfaces like an insect.
In the fifth stage, only seen in a deleted scene, Brundle looks identical to how he did in the previous stage, but he no longer wears clothes and the deterioration of the rest of his body is completely visible. He now twitches involuntarily like a fly. Brundle also sprouts a fly limb from the growth on his side, which he proceeds to gruesomely amputate with his teeth.
The last stage where Brundle retains any of his human appearance, Brundle now walks with a severe hunch, his deformed body is covered in grotesque growths and other deformities, and he twitches increasingly. His head has become misshapen, as one of his eyes appears slightly larger than the other, the top of his head is flat and abnormally large, his hair has almost all fallen out, and most of his teeth are now gone. Brundle's fingers also appear to be partially fused.
Stage 7 - "Spacebug"Edit
The true final stage of Brundle's metamorphosis into Brundlefly, in this stage, Brundle's deteriorating human skin sloughs off in gruesome scraps, revealing the mutated human-fly hybrid that had been developing underneath. The Brundlefly has reddish skin, two large black eyes, feelers and antennae on its head, two human-like arms and legs ending in fly claws, and a vestigial fly arm growing from its back.
Stage 8 - "Brundlepod"Edit
When his desperate plan to merge himself with Veronica and her unborn child failed, Brundlefly tried to break out of the telepod before it activated. However, he only managed to get halfway out of the telepod when it teleported him, fusing him with part of the telepod itself. When Brundlefly emerges from the teleporter, it is mortally wounded and in excruciating pain. Brundlefly has a hunk of metal from the telepod embedded in its back and its entire lower body has been replaced by a tangled mass of wires and flesh. Brundlefly is helpless in this form, and all it can do is crawl to Veronica and silently beg her to end its life.
- "I'm saying I was an insect who dreamed he was a man and loved it. But now the dream is over, and the insect is awake." - Seth Brundle, The Fly
- The fifth stage of Brundlefly's metamorphosis is not seen in the actual film, but only in a deleted scene. In the scene, Brundle uses his telepods to merge a baboon with a cat in order to test the telepods' ability to splice individual organisms together in a controlled manner, which he hopes can be employed to somehow restore his humanity. The cat and baboon are fused together, but into a horrific creature that is in terrible pain and attacks Brundle. Brundle beats the creature to death with a pipe to put it out of its misery, then climbs onto the roof of his lab, screaming "NO!" defiantly into the night sky. Suddenly the herniated growth on Brundle's side begins to move and cause him terrible pain. Brundle falls off the roof and onto a canopy over an alley. Brundle watches in horror as a fly limb emerges from the growth and starts to move involuntarily. Brundle quickly pulls the limb partially off and amputates it with his teeth, then watches as the limb falls to the street below and squirms around on the ground.
- Another part of this scene was storyboarded but never filmed. After amputating the fly limb, Brundle drops down into the alley and encounters a homeless woman. Brundle jumps on the woman and uses his vomit-drop to melt her face off, then proceeds to eat it before his humanity emerges and he realizes what he is doing. Both of these scenes were removed from the final film so that Brundle would remain sympathetic to the audience for the remainder of the film, and also keep the gore to a more reasonable level.
- In the original draft for the film, the scientist (not given the name of Seth Brundle until the final draft), transforms into a giant fly early on in the film and is mute for the majority of the remainder of the film. In the climax, he kills a man who wants to steal and use the telepods for unethical research for a company, then sets fire to his laboratory and locks himself in the telepod as his laboratory burns down, killing himself and preventing his research from ever being used again. When he rewrote the script, David Cronenberg decided that the final form of Seth Brundle should not simply be a human-sized fly, but a creature that is half man and half fly and exhibits characteristics of both creatures. He also decided for Brundle to remain articulate and able to speak and communicate for as long as possible in the film so that sympathy and understanding for his character could be built up for longer and that his relationship and chemistry with Veronica could be developed further, both of which are meant to make his fate all the more tragic for the audience.
- According to David Cronenberg, Seth Brundle's slow and horrific transformation into Brundlefly is intended as both a metaphor for the aging process and disease in general.
- In the original short story The Fly is based on and the original 1958 film adaptation, the scientist that becomes a human-fly hybrid is a French-Canadian scientist named Andre Delambre that instead of slowly becoming a human-fly creature has his head and arm switched with a fly's immediately after emerging from the telepod. For the 1986 remake, it was decided early on that the main character's metamorphosis into the fly creature should be slow and gradual rather than immediate.