14. The Fly
directed by David Cronenberg
How can something be scary, disgusting, and so very sad all at the same time? Somehow, David Cronenberg manages to pull it off with his remake of The Fly. The story of a shy, charming scientist who just wanted to make the world a better place, only to find himself transforming into a hideous creature, feels so deeply tragic. Like countless other horror films, we are treated to a graphic physical transformation. The only difference here is that it is not merely a transformation, but a disintegration. And it is a very slow process. A lost fingernail here, a rotted-off ear there. Like any other monster movie, our heroes do everything they can to change what seems like an inevitability, but it’s no use. And that sad realization makes The Fly a perfect allegory for life itself. Try as we might to fight it, we are steadily inching towards death, undergoing dramatic physical deterioration along the way. The more desperately we try to fight it, the greater the toll it takes on our sanity. If that’s not the deepest kind of horror, I don’t know what it is.