Tag Archives: science fiction

Joe’s Random Movie Trivia: “The Fly” (1958)

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After the accidental transformation of Andre and the fly’s atoms getting mixed in the teleporter, rather than being played by a stunt man (which is logical since the role becomes nonverbal) the actor David Hedison was fitted by a specially designed mask fitted for his head. That actually is Hedison playing the transformed scientist. It was designed by makeup artist Ben Nye, who also designed the Ape makeup in the Planet of the Apes screen test with Edward G. Robinson.


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“The Fly” (1986) The Deleted “Monkey-Cat” scene

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Shot, but later deleted from the film was a 6 to 7 minutes sequence in which the scientist Seth Brundle attempts to re-create the accident with his teleportation device that mutated him. He takes the surviving baboon from his earlier experiments in the film, and an alley cat that he found. Then tries to fuse the two together through his Telepods. But unlike his accident in which he in the fly were linked on a genetic level, the baboon and the cat become this hideously mutated two-headed creature. With the creature in obvious pain, Brundle picks up a pipe and proceeds to beat it to death. He then goes up to the roof of the building where he lives feels an excruciating pain in his side and attempt to climb down the wall but loses his grip. He didn’t slides down the wall and falls to the ground where a growth in his side appears. A mutated insect limb. Horrified, he tears it off.

Here are five facts about the scene:

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1. Why it was cut.

Besides the fact, that it delivered to much gore too early in the film, the real reason it was cut was because test audiences could no longer sympathize with the character of Seth Brundle. At some point in this film our Protagonist becomes the Antagonist. And the problem with the film including this scene, was that you no longer cared about the suffering the main character is going through. It was pretty evident to the filmmakers as a result of the test screenings, but the movie was better off without it.

2. “Stage 4b”

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This sequence features a stage in Brundle’s transformation not seen in the final film. Makeup Artist Chris Walas and his team dubbed it “stage 4b”. Walas said in interviews That was actually one of his favorite looks of Jeff Goldblum in the film. Because it had a Jekyll and Hyde quality about it. It was the halfway point between who Seth Brundle was in the beginning of the movie and into the creature Brundlefly that he later transforms into.

3. Director cameo

Besides his cameo as the gynecologist, director David Cronenberg is the one wielding the pipe that kills the creature in this shot.


A large set of the warehouse wall was constructed for the shot where Brundle loses his grip and “slides” down the wall. To create this, the filmmakers made the wall slanted, like a slide so Goldblum could fall as well as give the illusion he’s sticking to it like a fly.

5. A shot from this deleted scene appears in the film’s original theatrical trailer.

Joe’s Random Movie Trivia: “The Matrix” (1999)

Originally, the character of Switch was meant to semi-transgender, and played by two different actors. The idea was that in the matrix Switch was a female, but in the real world Switch was a male. A biological male, but with the avatar (or mental projected digital self) of a female. Going back and forth between the two as being inside and outside of the matrix. Hence the name “Switch”.

Actress Belinda McClory was first brought in to play the female half of the character, but when the idea was scrapped, she ended up playing Switch entirely as a female character.

A movie never made. Rod Serling’s “Planet of the Apes”.

This review is going to seem a little strange because it is not exactly about a movie. It’s about a movie that was ultimately never made. Actually that’s not completely true either it has been made, and it has actually been a very successful franchise . From Pierre Boulle’s novel “Planet of the Apes”. Of course, with the era of remakes and reboots and all-around redos that are done in the film world, a lot of people should be acquainted with Planet of the Apes.

As most people know the original film was made in 1968 starring Charlton Heston Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter. Surprisingly, what a lot of people may not be aware of is that the first screenplay that was adapted from the original novel, back when the film was being developed by Warner Bros. was actually Rod Serling, the creator of the infamous TV show “The Twilight Zone”. Rod Serling was a storyteller who knew how to integrate politics and other real world issues into the science fiction. Meaning, he could take an analogy or metaphor and basically tell real-world issues with fantastic settings. He once said “A Martian could say something on Twilight Zone that a politician would never be able to say on TV”. Such was the case with Serling’s script.

While the final film did share a lot of things from Serling script (especially that awesome twist ending which I cannot in good conscience spoil here). One of the major differences between Serling’s script and the final film was the setting of the planet itself. Sterling’s version followed the novel very very closely in that the apes lived in a more modern society. They were more technologically advanced than the human world from which our astronaut had come from . They drove cars, they flew airplanes, they lived in skyscrapers, there’s even a part in the story where they have a late-night talkshow.
What is  undoubtedly intriguing, especially for fans of the original, and answer as to why they wouldn’t have gone with it in the first place could be in the third film “Escape from the Planet of the Apes” made in 1971. In that film you see Cornelius and Zira, our two Ape protagonists in a modern setting, in cars, wearing modern clothes, interacting with modern people in a modern city .

And we see how silly it looks. So as intriguing as what Serling’s script might’ve shown, the overall message and theme of the story could’ve been lost and whatever silliness the audiences saw with the apes in a modern-day setting.

Another big difference in Serling script is our protagonist, the astronaut by Charlton Heston. In Serling’s original script, Thomas the name of the Astronaut and he’s is actually a very sympathetic person . He’s much kinder and passes himself as a little bit wiser than the character of Taylor in the final film. Heston’s performance of Taylor  in “Planet of the Apes” is that of a cynical man finding meaninglessness in the mankind. In essence, when Michael Wilson took the Serling script and changed it into what would become the final film, he basically made Taylor the embodiment of the unstable political world of the 1960s. Which both made Taylor a much more unlikable hero , and increased the sympathy that the audience has for him more so than if we had gone with Serling’s version of Thomas.

Officially the reason why Serling script ultimately was never used was because of costs, especially when 20 century Fox finally bought the rights for “Planet of the Apes”. They weren’t able to meet the budgetary demands of it . Mostly, because of the financial disaster of the 1963 film “Cleopatra”. “Cleopatra” was a box office bomb that bankrupted 20th Century Fox, that resulted in the studio needing to sell off land just to make the payments. And as a result of that box office flop a lot of movies which should have been made either didn’t get made or had to be drastically altered from their script version.

The only thing that really survives of the film, at least what it could’ve looked like was the 1966 make up test shot using Serling’s original script. With Charlton Heston as Thomas, Edward G Robinson is Doctor Zaius, Linda Harrison (who later going to play the character of nova) as Zira, and James Brolin as Cornelius. 

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Also in late 2018 they brought Serling script into graphic novel form with the story “Planet of the Apes Visionaries”. Using both Serling script (which is still available to read online) as well as drawings and illustrations drawn for the pitch and the make up test itself. They were able to piece together what the final film of Rod Serling’s “Planet of the Apes” might’ve looked like.

Much like Stanley Kubrick’s epic “Napoleon” (another unmade film) , Serling’s version of “Planet of the Apes” is something for film buffs and scholars to study and speculate. Would “Planet of the Apes” be remembered as finely as it is today if they had gone with Serling script in the first place??

Teleportation: Fiction’s Warning

Of all the ideas that science fiction brings us, from cloning to warp drive, there’s one particular scientific venue which I think merits attention. Because not all fiction tends to explore one of the real dangers of it.
Sure there’s some fiction like The Fly films, which speak of all what happens when the atoms of one being are mixed in with the atoms of another being, but there’s another danger and teleportation fiction which they don’t ever really present. It’s especially never explored in Star Trek where its a regular thing.
Basically, a person has disintegrated, and for a fraction of a second they longer exist. Then on the receiving end, atoms randomly scattered throughout space are then reconstituted and integrated again into the shape of the person. But is this actually the same person? No it isn’t, it’s a copy of one that was actually destroyed a few seconds ago. And this is actually especially true if you happen to believe in the philosophy of “body theory” ( i.e. there is no soul, your consciousness is your body). The only real story where the dangers are explored is the book and film the Prestige. But there’s another underlying factor in this, imagine if you actually went through one of those machines. You have all the memories and experiences of the original person yet the back of your head you might know that you are not in fact that real person. It brings in a whole new idea or dimension about personal identity.

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Joe’s Random Movie Trivia: “The Fly” (1986)

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The later stages of Jeff Goldblum’s transformation required over five hours of makeup and over five lbs. of prosthetics.

Joe’s Random Movie Trivia: “Star Wars” (1977)

At the time George Lucas was holding auditions for his film, director Brian DePalma was also holding auditions for the horror film “Carrie”. A few actors who auditioned for one film, may have gotten a role in the other. There was a rumor, later disproved by actress Carrie Fisher, that Sissy Spacek was originally cast as Princess Leia, and Carrie Fisher as Carrie.

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A notable example is actor William Katt, who auditioned for the role of Luke Skywalker with Kurt Russell as Han Solo. Katt later got a role in “Carrie” as Tommy.

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