In a new exhibit at the Vincent Price Art Museum at East LA College, artist Peter Wu uses the 1958 The Fly and the 1986 David Cronenberg remake to examine fear: fear of the other, new tech, nuclear war, and disease.
And who better to help kick off the exhibit than Victoria Price, Vincent Price's daughter and biographer, who spoke Friday night at VPAM.
Price's talk was ostensibly on the new exhibit, but it carried a strong message on the 2016 election.
"My dad always felt that horror movies provided a catharsis. You could go into the dark and you could face your fears, and you could come out emboldened by them. However, we are in a very different world right now ... To be excluded, to be bullied, to feel Other ... and I have felt, despite my privilege, that I never fit in.
I've learned from horror fans what it is to have a tribe. And that the antidote to Other thinking is "both and" thinking. We could go down our own rabbit hole of fear, and it is a very scary time. But I really feel that all of life comes down to two choices, love or fear. And one of the ways we can manifest love, is to keep making art that speaks against fear."
Victoria Price also stressed that humor is an excellent weapon against fear, and says one of the reasons her dad was popular for so long was that there was always a little humor in his horror work that "provided a release. And there is a way that laughing at fear, breaks its mesmerism. It's hard right now to see that, but I do promise that laughter is an important part of our healing."
And so, for fans of the original "The Fly," she says, watch the absurd ending.
"My dad told me, that last scene they could not film. He said they all thought this is the most ridiculous thing, a fly talking, and they had to shoot it so many times. And they're doubled over almost peeing their pants. So watch the last scene, and you will see that they are all just barely holding it together."
Peter Wu: Rise of the Fly II is at the Vincent Price Art Museum through March 18, 2017.