Curse of the Fly (1965)

Curse of the Fly (1965), directed by Don Sharp.


We're scientists. We have to do the things we hate, that even sicken us.

The Delambre family continues its obsessive experiments with matter transmission. There is no "fly" in this one, but perhaps a genetic curse from the earlier efforts, and of course the natural rough patches -- insanity, mutations, monstrosities -- that you expect when learning how to beam your human subjects between continents.

In the very strong opening we have a young woman breaking through a window and escaping -- running in slow motion in her underwear -- from a mental institution. Free at last! Picked up (as in the opening to Kiss Me Deadly (1955)) by a handsome man in his car. In a delicious twist, the mental patient is the sane one trying to figure out the awful truths hidden by this crazy science family.

The series moves to the UK for it's third entry, giving a new look and atmosphere. The commentary track says that the b&w Scope ratio reminds us of films like A Taste of Honey (1961) made in Britain in this era, and I see the resemblance.

Like the later Alien (1979) series, each Fly movie is by a different director and each has a different tone. This one was seldom seen for many years and not available on home video for a long time. The plot continuity with the two earlier films is a bit fuzzy.

It is more like a "gothic" women's picture than the earlier titles. We focus so much on pretty Carole Gray's travails that the SF/horror contents sometimes moves into the background:

Its good points:

Brian Donlevy was at home and still out of place in UK SF, having been the title character in The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) and Quatermass 2 (1957). This role may work a bit better for him: the bull in a china shop scientist who doesn't care what damage he causes.

Transported from Quebec to London, he has a problem: no passport so he can't get back by normal means. I wouldn't have thought of that.

Available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory with an appreciative commentary track by Steve Haberman and Constantine Nasr.

They like this quite a bit more than Return of the Fly (1959), while admitting its weaknesses like the cheap lab sets and the woeful Asian makeup on Yvette Rees, playing Burt Kwouk's wife.

They also note the Lovecraft tone and specifically mention Corman's The Haunted Palace (1963), an adaptation of "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward".