Beach Fossils Infested The Roxy for Cronenberg’s ‘The Fly’

I couldn’t help but listen to the twentysomethings in the back row buzzing his disapproval over basically every decision Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) makes throughout David Cronenberg’s 1986 body-horror, The Fly. “Seriously?” He gasped early on, when Quaife agrees to follow a possible lead back to the lab of Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum). “Scientists are creeps!” He exclaimed when Quaife and Brundle finally consummate their flirtations. And when Quaife worriedly checks-in on a deteriorating Brundle, in perhaps the film’s most compassionate moment, he elicited a full-on “Are you fucking kidding me??” The girl this kid was signaling his virtues to didn’t seem all that interested, but I was.

I love watching movies with animated, interacting crowds; it’s as close as you can get to feeling your city’s heartbeat.  

Ours: still just as fascinated and repulsed by the story of one man’s tragic descent into technology-aided bughood; perhaps less close to the idea of watching a lover physically transform and fall away than the film’s original AIDS crisis-era audience; but far more attuned to The Fly’s particular take on gender dynamics male, female, and insect. 

All three were in attendance last Wednesday night for The Roxy’s Artist Series, this time hosted by lo-fi dream popsters, Beach Fossils. Die-hard fans comprised the 80 or so filmgoers who stuck around for a healthy 30-minute q+a following the film. “Everything that Cronenberg does is beautiful and disgusting, and I love both of those things—mostly the disgusting part,” said Beach Fossils founder and frontman, Dustin Payseur. “We keep movies on in the studio when we’re working on stuff, and this is one of them.” 

Guitarist Tommy Davidson shed light on the cinematic inspirations behind Somersault, the band’s third album, which debuted June 2 on Payseur’s own label, Bayonet: “When we were writing the record, we were super into a lot of soundtrack music, like Morricone, Sid Gold, David Axelrod, a lot of people who are composers that scored the whole time.” Brian Eno himself, no doubt an influence on the band’s lush new full-length, wrote an original song for The Fly, though it was mostly shelved, saved for a very grisly bar scene in the film’s latter half. 

“Music is, in a way, a soundtrack to the everyday experience. I wouldn’t want to make anything that doesn’t feel that way,” said Payseur.  

Though the conversation quickly devolved from thoughts on sci-fi and the singularity to a spirited debate over the semantics of whether or not tortilla chips can accurately be called “nacho chips,” it seemed to parallel the film’s progression perfectly. 

“Have you ever heard of insect politics?” Brundle asks at the film’s emotional climax. “Neither have I.” 

But the twentysomething in the back row sure had. 

The Fly, hosted by Beach Fossils, screened as part of the Artist Series at The Roxy Cinema Tribeca on June 21, 2017.

Words by Emerson Rosenthal

Image credit – DIY Magazine