Director: Don Sharp
Writer: Harry Spalding
Cast: Brian Donlevy, George Baker, Carole Gray, Yvette Rees, Burt Kwout, Michael Graham, Jeremy Wilkins, Charles Carson, Mary Manson, Rachel Kempson, Warren Stanhope, Mia Anderson, and Arnold Bell
Composer: Bert Shefter
Release Date: 5/1965
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
With the help of his two sons, Martin (George Baker) and Albert (Michael Graham), Henri Delambre (Brian Donlevy) attempts to perfect the matter-transmitting device built by his father Andre. Complications arise when Martin, prone to rapid aging due to a recessive fly gene inherited from his grandfather, marries escaped mental patient Patricia Stanley (Carole Gray), who, after encountering the failed experiments of Henri and Martin, slowly uncovers the terrible history of the Delambre family.
Blending mad scientist tropes with gothic undertones, Curse of the Fly will appeal to fans of the sci-fi/horror crossover genre. Those who enjoy the original version of The Fly may, however, take issue with the modified backstory presented in this offering.
As opposed to the unconvincing fly creature in the previous film, the abominations in Curse of the Fly will surely intrigue and terrify enthusiasts of body horror fiction. Disturbing highlights include radiation burns, facial deformities, and undulating piles of mutated flesh—all of which result from careless or improper usage of the disintegrator-integrator mechanism.
Curse of the Fly should also be commended for its gothic atmosphere—likely a contribution of Don Sharp, director of Hammer Studios’ The Kiss of the Vampire and Rasputin: The Mad Monk. Specifically, the dark and moody attributes of Sharp’s direction allow Curse of the Fly—an obscure and underrated sequel—to recapture the bleak, tragic essence of its predecessor from 1958.
Produced in the style of a British horror film, Curse of the Fly forgoes cheap and campy thrills in favor of haunting set pieces, extensive character development, and suspenseful narrative conflict. Nevertheless, this movie fails to progress at the riveting pace of both installments that precede it.
Curse of the Fly explores a fascinating ethical dilemma, namely whether the ends justify the means where scientific progress is concerned. Martin and his father Henri both suggest, for example, that the teleportation device could potentially save countless lives in the future, thereby compensating for the sacrifices of several innocent people—an early example of the “Needs of the Many” principle being evoked by one or more characters in a science fiction film.
The final chapter of the Fly trilogy, Curse of the Fly should capture the interest of science fiction buffs, creature feature lovers, and fans of classic British horror movies. Especially worth praising is the inner conflict of Martin Delambre—a mad scientist with sympathetic motives.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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