Perhaps more than a few nightmares were born the day that the shocking “help me” scene appeared in the 1958 science fiction-horror movie, THE FLY. The scene is easily one of the most memorable and shocking of any of the 1950’s horror genre movies.
1958 movie theater audiences simply had no idea what to expect from THE FLY, when the film starts out like a crime thriller where scientist Andre Delambre is found crushed to death in a hydraulic press, and his wife appears to be a murderer, especially after she confesses to the shocking crime. But, then a weird flashback story ensues to slowly explain what appears to be a case of cold blooded murder, that only takes wild and incredible turns.
It appears that the scientist was working on a device that could transport matter from one location to another, and a common housefly accidentally gets into the same teleporter pod with the scientist, and the DNA of the two become mixed. The fly now has a human head and a human arm, and the scientist has the fly’s head and one arm.
As time runs out for the scientist, he pleads for his wife to kill him with the hydraulic press because he was unable to find the fly with his own miniature head and arm, and gave up hope that he could reverse the process as the killer instinct of the fly grow more powerful.
All of this leads up to one of the most frighting scenes ever in a horror movie as it turns out that the fly with the “white head” was actually caught in a spider’s web, looking quite aged because of the much shorter lifespan of a fly, screaming “help me” as the spider comes in for the kill. A police inspector crushes this horrible scene with a rock to stop what had to be the most shocking scene of his entire life. And movie theater patrons probably were stunned and shocked at what had to be one of the most nightmarish scenes ever in any horror movie. That “help me” scene was pure shock and horror, something to fuel many a nightmare.
Made on a modest budget of just $495,000, starring Al Hedison(who later went by the name, David Hedison), Vincent Price, Patricia Owens and Herbert Marshall, the film was successful enough to spur two sequels in the 50’s and 60’s, THE RETURN OF THE FLY in 1959 and CURSE OF THE FLY in 1965. But, in 1986, David Cronenberg directed a great remark starring Jeff Goldblum which far exceeded much of the 1958 film for pure shock and horror value, although not a single scene could top the pure shock of that single 1958 “help me’ scene which was underproduced and understated in the 1986 version of the film. One more sequel, THE FLY II, was produced, but it was an underwhelming effort compared to the far superior 1958 and 1986 films.
The “help me” scene in 1958 movie became so much of a classic moment in horror films, that one small producer of model kits produced a resin model from this single scene.
While much of the 1958 film was mostly a little bit underwhelming compared to that single “help me” scene, the sheer shock and horror of this one scene certainly carried this movie to a level as one of the greatest horror movies of all time.