Truly, the Fly has his final and most horrifying revenge on us in this, the final film in the original trilogy. Just like the other star of the previous two films, the Fly joins Vincent Price on vacation and actually sits the whole movie out!
I try not to expect too much out of some of these movies, but is it really out of line to expect that in a film entitled The Curse Of The Fly, that the Fly be running around groping ingenues and choking lab assistants? Aren’t we owed scenes of some actor valiantly struggling not to tip over due to the top heavy nature of the giant fly-head mask he has to wear?
At the very least, we should get some flashbacks that show the Fly in his prime, complete with that honey-combed point of view shot they used whenever they wanted to show us what the Fly was seeing. But you know what we get? A glossy 8×10!
That’s right, the Fly’s sole participation in this one is relegated to one character showing another what is obviously a publicity still from one of the previous movies!
The movie does have one of those beginnings that probably looked great on paper. A gal (Patricia) breaks out of a mental institution and runs away in her underwear while the opening credits roll.
However, the movie immediately botches this sure fire audience grabber by having this escaped looney running in slow motion while wearing a big baggy pair of granny panties!
Well, shoot, you don’t think you’re going to get a big time monster (or even a second tier one like the Fly) to hang around and menace that, do you? Why don’t you just have her in a potato sack or a really butch pant suit? To the movie’s credit, it does try to get back on track by having her run around most of the rest of the movie in a skimpy white nightgown, but the image of those size 52 briefs are already seared into our brains by then.
Patricia gets picked up by Martin Delambre and feeds him some story about working for an author as if that explains why she was running around the Canadian woods in her underpants at all hours of the night. Martin, who is a brilliant research scientist, immediately accepts this explanation and marries her within the next ten days.
But Marty has his own secrets! Though he mentioned he was a doctor to his new wife, he forgot to specifically say that he was working on a teleportation project with his father and brother.
It also sort of slipped his mind that his first wife Judith, was still alive and locked up in a cage on their estate, a disfigured victim of some teleportation incident gone horribly wrong. This leads to a funny scene once Patricia finds this out and acts outraged whereupon Marty reminds her that they had agreed not to talk about their pasts.
And to Marty’s credit, he didn’t hold it against her when the head of the mental institution Patty escaped from came by with a cop demanding that he return Patty to her facility. I was a bit confused as to how the mere fact that she was now married meant that she was no longer able to be committed, but that’s socialized medicine for you I guess.
Everyone’s least favorite Professor Quatermass, Brian Donlevy, plays Marty’s father Henri and is far and away the most entertaining part of the film. That’s not to say that he’s particularly good. In fact, he’s horrible and it’s obvious that he’s just a few years away from retiring from the Silver Screen, but his stiffly delivered bad dialogue complimented by the occasional strange facial expressions provoke a few laugh out loud moments.
Not content with an anemic script that can’t even figure out how to work the title character into the plot, the film takes an even more pathetic turn when it involves the police for no other reason than to force some drama from the untested teleportation equipment.
Without the police nosing around, Henri and Marty can test things at their leisure, but clinical trials on lab rats aren’t exactly going to pack them in at the theaters, so with the police hot on their tail, they have to hurry up and dispose of their previous failures and use the teleportation stuff themselves to effect their escape.
There’s no reason for the police to be involved once they gave up on dragging Patty back to the nut hut, but the inspector in charge of that case gets information about Marty’s family history involving the Fly from an old cop who worked those cases and suddenly this new cop is all about getting search warrants and trying to find missing lab assistants.
It’s clear why this franchise died until David Cronenberg reinvented it a few decades later after watching this painfully stupid installment. No Fly, a collection of actors who were either on the wane or never going anywhere, and a story that was so unimaginative you realized how impressive it is that the various incarnations of Star Trek were able to do as many “transporter malfunction” episodes as they did.
And really, it was the little touches of dumbness that stood out for me more than the generally bland main story. Like when Henri gets himself teleported back from London to Canada even though it may not be entirely safe because when he had first teleported to London, he didn’t have his passport and now the London authorities were sniffing around and how was he going to explain how he got into the country without it? Then, at the end of the movie the big escape plan was to teleport to London. Presumably, everyone had their passports this time around.
A movie that should’ve been about a giant fly-headed guy eating people turns out to involve a discussion about passports? And search warrants? And subplots about a vaguely Oriental servant devoted to Marty’s first wife trying to drive the new wife crazy who apparently was already crazy in the first place? I’ll bet if the Fly had it do all over again, he wouldn’t even have sent that picture. A deservedly forgotten sequel.
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