Director: Edward L. Bernds
Writer: Edward L. Bernds
Cast: Vincent Price, Brett Halsey, David Frankham, John Sutton, Dan Seymour, Danielle De Metz, Jack Daly, Janine Grandel, Michael Mark, Richard Flato, Gregg Martell, Barry Bernard, Pat O’Hara, Francisco Villalobas, and Joan Cotton
Composers: Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter
Release Date: 7/1959
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Fifteen years after the death of his father Andre, Philippe Delambre (Brett Halsey) builds a teleportation device of his own. In spite of his initial success, the Delambre son turns into a horrible monster when his unscrupulous partner, Alan Hinds (David Frankham), traps a fly in the machine with Philippe inside. Only Francois Delambre and Inspector Beecham (John Sutton) can locate Philippe before the police attempt to kill him.
Lacking the tragic undertones of its 1958 predecessor, this production is a mediocre sequel to The Fly. Notably, Return of the Fly deserves criticism for its awful special effects, glaring scientific inaccuracies, and convenient resolution to Philippe’s predicament.
Reprising his role of Francois Delambre, Vincent Price contributes a hint of gravitas to an otherwise forgettable, B-grade monster movie. Specifically worth praising are the tormented emotions of Francois after witnessing the fly/human creature, which, due to the realistic performance of Price, convey the agony of a man forced to relive the most traumatic experience of his life.
Even when allowing for suspension of disbelief, Return of the Fly struggles to maintain credibility for two important reasons. First, Philippe and Francois never consider adding a failsafe mechanism to the disintegrator-integrator, preventing it from working when two or more objects are in the cabin together—an unlikely oversight from two highly intelligent men, especially considering Andre’s accident many years prior. Also problematic is that after teleporting with a fly, Philippe exhibits the same deformities as his father in the previous film—hardly the outcome that one would expect from a random transporter glitch.
Similar to Basil Rathbone’s character in Son of Frankenstein, Philippe Delambre wishes nothing more than to vindicate his father (ostensibly a mad scientist) by following in his footsteps—a clever execution of the playing god trope.
Return of the Fly is a cheaply made, if entertaining, science fiction horror film. The dignified performances of Price and Hasley do, however, add an air of much-needed solemnity to director Edward L. Bernds’ main narrative conflict.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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