Monday, August 8, 2016

Franchises: The Fly. Return of the Fly (1959)

I knew from the outset that there were a couple of sequels to The Fly thanks to that Monster Madness book that first really piqued my interest in the original but, while I first saw that movie when I was relatively young at the age of 13, I wouldn't see Return of the Fly in full until many years later. I saw it available on both VHS and DVD here and there (in a double-feature DVD with the original, much like the David Cronenberg film and its sequel) and I caught bits of it on TV, specifically on AMC and the Fox Movie Channel, the latter of which is where I saw its second half, but I didn't see the entire film until the beginning of 2008 when I went through a box-set of the original three movies that I got as a Christmas present (I think I spent New Year's Day going through that set). Overall, it's pretty much what you'd expect: a typical, low budget, quickie sequel that was only made in order to cash in on the success of the original and doesn't even come close to capturing what made its predecessor so special. The best way to sum it up is, while the original was more than just your average 50's monster movie, this one is an average 50's monster movie. That said, though, I wouldn't go as far as to say that Return of the Fly is a bad movie (I don't think any of them are bad, myself), because it still has some merits to it, particularly the return of Vincent Price, and is quite fast-paced and entertaining in a B-movie kind of way, making it a good time-waster, if nothing else.

Helene Delambre, the widow of Andre Delambre, has died after years of being emotionally tormented by the horrible memories of her husband's ill-fated experiments, and whose mysterious death has left many lingering, unanswered questions in the public mind. Following the rain-soaked funeral, Philippe, the now adult son of Andre and Helene, asks his Uncle Francois about the mysterious circumstances surrounding his father's death and his mother's initial accusation of murder. At first refusing to tell him, Francois eventually takes Philippe to the old Delambre Freres foundry, down into his father's abandoned laboratory. There, he tells Philippe about Andre's research, his eventual success with teleporting solid matter, the accident that turned him into a hideous creature with the body of a man and the head and arm of a fly, and how his mother helped him to kill himself. After hearing the story, Philippe, who has read his father's papers and has done some work in the field himself, tells Francois that he wants to rebuild the Disintegrator-Integrator in order to vindicate his father and prove that his theories were right. Francois flatly refuses to help, one reason being quite obvious and another being the cost of such an undertaking, but Philippe is determined to do it any way he can. He, along with his friend and Delambre Freres employee, Alan Hinds, relocate to his grandparents' old home outside of Montreal, which Philippe inherited, in order to resume Andre's work in the mansion's large wine cellar. However, as their work progresses and Philippe's money begins to run out, he forces Francois to back them by threatening to sell his half of Delambre Freres, a move that would destroy the company. Francois reluctantly agrees to give Philippe the money and also decides to work with him, mainly to protect him from the dangers of rebuilding the machine and continuing to try to dissuade him. Little does Philippe know that he has more to worry about than his uncle's fears: Alan, who also goes by the name of Ronald Holmes, is wanted for murder by the British police and intends to steal and sell the plans for the Disintegrator-Integrator to the highest bidder, arranging for funeral home director/illegal dealer Max Barthold to help him with it. Work progresses on the machine and, despite some initial issues with gigantism in the reintegrated live subjects, it begins to shape up nicely... until Alan's past catches up with him and he's forced to dispose of a member of the British police who's been tracking him. His actions in doing so arouse Philippe's suspicions and when Alan realizes he's been caught, he pulls a gun on Philippe and a fight breaks out. In the fight, Alan knocks Philippe out and, rather than killing him, puts him into the disintegrator cabinet with a common housefly, disintegrating them both. After Alan escapes, severely injuring Francois by shooting him in the side, the others attempt to save Philippe by reintegrating him, only for him to be restored with the enormous head and limbs of a fly. The creature breaks out and escapes when the police arrive, while Francois is taken to the hospital. Now, in order to save his nephew, Francois must get in touch with Inspector Beauchamp, who assisted Inspector Charas and knows the truth, and pray that Philippe isn't gunned down by the police, and that he still has his human conscience, before they can find the small fly with his head in order to restore him with the machine.

I remember being quite surprised one night when I was looking up information on this film out of curiosity and discovered that the director was Edward L. Bernds, who I knew as the writer and director of a number of Three Stooges shorts from the mid-40's to the early 50's. I initially thought that it was another director with the same name but nope, it was him, which I found interesting. Bernds started out as a soundman in the 1930's, working at Columbia Pictures as sound engineer on a number of Frank Capra's films, as well as the Three Stooges shorts before he graduated to directing them in 1945. He also directed a number of entries in other short-subject series and also began directing feature films in the late 40's with the Blondie series starring Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake, which led to him doing Gold Raiders, a comedy-western starring the Stooges, and entries in Allied Artists' Bowery Boys film series. After he left Columbia's short subject department upon its downsizing in 1952, which had led to the dismissal of producer Hugh McCollum, Bernds directed a number of films for different studios throughout the 50's and into the early 60's. Besides Return of the Fly, he directed other sci-fi flicks like World Without End, Queen of Outer Space with Zsa Zsa Gabor (which is boring as hell, I might add), and Valley of the Dragons. As far as his talent goes, Bernds was a lot like Kurt Neumann in that he was often hired because he was a dependable journeyman who could get a movie done on time and on budget, rather than because he had any major artistic merits. Indeed, Return of the Fly, which Bernds also wrote, is very competently made but, at the same time, there's nothing that special about it and it looks most other sci-fi flicks made around that time. Despite the steady stream of film work that he was getting around this time, though, Bernds always preferred directing short subjects, which is ultimately why he retired from directing altogether in 1965. Interestingly, his directing career ended where it began: with the Three Stooges. His last jobs as director were The Three Stooges Meet Hercules, The Three Stooges In Orbit, and The New Three Stooges TV show. Bernds died in 2000 at the age of 94.

One of the things that keeps this movie from reaching the level of its predecessor is that the characters aren't nearly as compelling as those in the original, and that includes Vincent Price in his reprisal of the character of Francois Delambre. It's great to see him again and, as I said in my introduction, he's still one of the best aspects of the movie, but at the end of the day, he doesn't have much to do. Francois spends the first half of the film initially attempting to persuade Philippe to give up on trying to rebuild the Disintegrator-Integrator but, when his nephew basically blackmails him into giving him the money he needs to continue with the project, he begins reluctantly working with him, saying that he's doing so in order to protect him from the danger of the machine and to continue trying to dissuade him. Price is still good in his performance here, particularly in the scene at the beginning where he tells Philippe what happened to his father and when he makes it clear to Philippe that he's not happy about him going ahead with the project in spite of what he's said, showing considerable resentment towards Alan Hinds for leaving the company to help him and when Philippe forces him to give him the necessary money in a very unpleasant way, but the odd thing is that, once they get going with their work, Francois never again tries to dissuade Philippe like he said he would. Instead, he just goes along with every request Philippe makes and seems to have grown some faint enthusiasm for it. Maybe he has begun to believe in the project, albeit grudgingly, as Alan chides him about one point, and doesn't want to be a downer. Whatever the case, that intention to dissuade Philippe is the last major part Francois has to play in the story, as once he's shot by Alan, he spends the rest of the movie bedridden, recovering from his wound, refusing to speak to anyone about what's happening except Inspector Beauchamp, who knows the truth. Price still does what he can, coming across as genuine in his imploring to Beauchamp that Philippe must be taken alive and that the little fly with his head must be found, but it's a shame that they brought him back only to give him so little work with, despite his star-billing (he does fire up the machine in the successful attempt to save Philippe but, really, anyone could've done that). It seems like Francois had a bigger role in the first draft of the script, which is what made Price agree to return in the first place, but it got whittled down throughout the subsequent passes.

The real star of the film is Brett Halsey as the now grown-up Philippe Delambre... too bad he's far from the best actor, though. The way I view Halsey here is the way some view David Hedison in the original: a guy who was chosen for the lead because of his matinee looks rather than because of any major acting talent. He plays Philippe as a determined young man who, after having heard nothing but whispers his whole life about what really happened to his father, demands to know the truth and, once he's made aware of it, becomes obsessed with successfully rebuilding the Disintegrator-Integrator in order to vindicate both his father and his research. You learn that, over the years, he's become a fairly brilliant scientist in his own right and has actually done some work in the same field as his father, albeit in secrecy due to his mother, whose death he sees an opportunity to begin in earnest. So determined is Philippe that, even after Francois refuses to finance his project, he presses on, paying for it with his own money and relocating to his house outside of Montreal so he and Alan Hinds can work undisturbed. He even goes as far as to threaten to sell his half of Delambre Freres in order to continue his work if Francois won't help him, which forces his uncle to back him, although Philippe admits he hated being forced to do it that way. As you can see, there are indeed some layers to Philippe's character, but the problem is Halsey is not as charismatic as Hedison or Price. He's not horrible but he's pretty wooden, with his face being quite expressionless, even in scenes where he's supposed to be freaked out at the sight of flies because of what he now knows or excited about the ongoing success and prospects of his work, and his voice is pretty monotone (I don't remember it ever changing in tone that much throughout the entire film). And when he ends up becoming split into two separate, freakish creatures, they don't even try to make them as complex in their behaviors as Andre was. Both the fly-headed human and the human-headed fly appear to have equal amounts of Philippe's consciousness, with the former immediately making a break for it when the police arrive and then tracking down and killing Alan and his business partner, Max, while the latter stays in the laboratory, constantly yelling for help until it's found by Inspector Beauchamp. Granted, Philippe does something that Andre didn't do, which is kill (albeit out of revenge), and the fly with his head may have had only the most basic instinct to save itself in its calling for help since Beauchamp still had to actually catch it, but that's about it. Plus, let's not forget that Philippe throws Alan into a coffin in the funeral room after breaking his neck and closes the lid, something that a mindless fly-monster probably wouldn't do. And what's more, Francois' fears that if and when the fly-headed human returns to the mansion, he may have the dangerous, murderous brain of a fly proves to be unfounded and meaningless as, when he does show up, he goes straight to his childhood friend, Cecile, and is led down into the laboratory without any struggle, eventually being reintegrated as himself.

Honestly, the most interesting and memorable character in the film is David Frankham as the treacherous Alan Hinds. For the first third of the film, he comes across as Philippe's dearly devoted friend, leaving his job at Delambre Freres in order to help him in rebuilding the Disintegrator-Integrator, a move that puts him on Francois' bad side, and when Philippe's money begins running out, he tells him to forget about his salary and to pay him when the device becomes a success. He's also just very charming in general, particularly in a scene where he and Philippe are having tea with the latter's childhood friend, Cecile, and her mother, and when Cecile talks about a fight the two of them had as kids that resulted in Philippe throwing dirt in her face, Alan remarks, "Threw dirt in this beautiful creature's face? You cad." However, you learn that this is all a façade when Alan secretly visits a funeral home in town and meets up with the illegal dealer, Max, who runs the place, revealing himself to actually be Ronald Holmes, a shadowy character who's wanted by the British police for murder. He tells Max his intentions to steal the plans for the Disintegrator-Integrator and arranges for him to find any potential buyers. In this scene, Alan's demeanor changes considerably: while he's still smooth, he's also now coming across as rather sinister and petulant towards Max, referring to him as a greedy pig and whatnot. He also makes it clear that he's not someone to be trusted, as he passively-aggressively tells Max, and before he leaves, reveals that the person he murdered was a former business partner whom he "terminated." After that, Alan works diligently alongside Philippe and Francois, biding his time as he waits for an opportunity to bring pictures of the machine's plans to Max in order to prove to those interested that the device is indeed real. When his chance arrives, however, he's confronted by an officer of the British police who's tracked him down but, in the ensuing struggle, Alan manages to overpower the agent and put him through the disintegrator in order to hide the body. When he reintegrates him, he finds that his atoms got mixed up with that of a guinea pig they'd disintegrated earlier in an experiment, forcing him to dispose of both of them. Alan proves to be quite thorough in doing so, particularly when he puts the officer in his police car and sends it down into the Saint Lawrence River. His strange behavior, however, doesn't go unnoticed, and when Philippe, who was informed of what's going on by Mme. Bonnard, confronts Alan in the laboratory, he drops the act and tries to force Philippe to open the storage cabinet that contains the really important plans for the machine. Another fight breaks out between them and when Alan knocks Philippe out and puts him in the disintegrator, he displays some insane cruelty when he captures a nearby housefly and puts it in the machine with Philippe before disintegrating them both. It's not made clear how much Alan knows about what happened to Andre other than he died under mysterious circumstances but he does know that Philippe is afraid of flies for some reason, using one earlier to freak him out for no apparent reason other than meanness (or possibly to make him leave the lab so he could get down to business). Maybe he felt being disintegrated with something he was afraid of was the best "punishment" for Philippe for trying to interfere. In any case, after he disintegrates Philippe and the fly and leaves with the papers, shooting Francois as he goes, Alan spends the rest of the movie hiding out from the mutated Philippe while trying to finish off his business, but he's eventually tracked down and killed by him at Max's funeral home (he screams like a complete bitch before dying). He doesn't die right away, either, as he rises up out of the coffin that Philippe dumps him in, only to slowly sink back down, all in front of a security guard.

The Fly didn't have much of a supporting cast aside from the four leads but here, the supporting characters are even weaker and less memorable in many ways. A major strike against the film is that it doesn't have a female lead on the level of Helene; the closest we get is the character of Cecile Bonnard (Danielle De Metz), whom you may notice I didn't even mention in the plot synopsis and that's because she could have easily been removed from the story. You'd expect her to be Philippe's love interest, as they make it clear in one scene that there is a connection between the two of them that's lasted since childhood, or be a second target for Alan Hinds given his comment about how pretty she is to Philippe when she's introduced, but, aside from the fact that the fly-headed Philippe goes straight to her room when he returns to the house and grips her hand, she has no significance to the plot whatsoever. In fact, other than the scene where she comforts Philippe after he recoils in fear from the fly he sees while they're having tea and her hugging him at the end after he's been restored to normalcy, she has few significant interactions with him or the main cast and is really just a bystander as well as the film's requisite screamer whenever she sees the fly-man. And there's even less to say about her mother (Janine Grandel), who does little more than speak primarily in French and shows loyalty to the Delambre family by attempting to delay the police for Francois at one point, although she is the one who notices Alan's bizarre behavior and brings it to Philippe's attention.

Originally, Herbert Marshall was supposed to return in the role of Inspector Charas but he became ill before filming began, so Edward Bernds came up with the character of Inspector Beauchamp (John Sutton, who'd acted alongside Vincent Price in another horror sequel, The Invisible Man Returns), who is said to have assisted Charas in the investigation of Andre's death. That right there makes him something of a problematic character already since he was never mentioned in the first film and there's no other officer in that movie who could've possibly been him (maybe he was working for Charas behind the scenes). Plus, the fact that he knows the truth about what happened to Andre makes you ask the question why he was so special that Charas confided in him and no one else, as well as how Charas was able to convince him that this crazy claim was true without evidence. It's painfully obvious that he was meant to be Charas but, at the last minute, they changed his name and put in some dialogue to make it clear that he's a different character (although they don't mention what became of Charas himself at all). It makes you wonder why they didn't save themselves the trouble and just have Sutton replace Marshall as Charas, continuity be damned, something they would do in the next film, Curse of the Fly. Regardless, even if they had managed to bring Marshall back, he, like Price, would have ultimately found himself with very little to do. Since they went through the trouble of having another character there who knows the truth, someone who Francois absolutely demands to see, refusing to talk to anyone else, you'd think it would mean Inspector Beauchamp would have some significance to the plot but that's far from the case. After the opening funeral scene, Beauchamp doesn't return to the film until the third act, having been away on assignment, and even then, he does nothing significant except find and capture the fly with Philippe's head in the laboratory, something anybody could have done (like Cecile). He also doesn't do anything to keep the cops who are chasing after Philippe from shooting him, possibly because he's not the one in charge of this case, as they say, making you wonder why Francois made such a fuss about getting in touch with him to begin with. Really, aside from catching the fly, all he does is tell Francois that he found it and later inform him that Philippe has killed Alan Hinds and Max Barthold.

Beauchamp is made especially pointless since Sgt. Dubois (Richard Flato), the man in charge of the investigation, actually saw the human-headed fly in the laboratory. Moreover, when he tries to question Francois at the hospital and the only response he gets is a demand to speak to Inspector Beauchamp, Dubois, upon learning that it's because Beauchamp is the only one who knows the truth, asks if it has something to do with a fly. When he hears this, Francois demands to know what Dubois saw but the sergeant simply says that it was nothing, tells him that he'll try to contact Beauchamp, and leaves the room, never to be seen again. If they were going to do that, then why have Beauchamp or even Inspector Charas? They could have simply removed Beauchamp from the story completely, have Francois refuse to speak to anybody other than Charas at the hospital, and then have Dubois reveal that he saw the human-headed fly and that he understands part of what's going on, leading Francois to tell him the whole story and Dubois, as a result, telling his men not to shoot Philippe as well as going down into the laboratory to catch the fly himself. That would have been so much more beneficial to the plot than going through the trouble of bringing in a character who knows the truth but doesn't do much of anything.

Other than the brief return of Gaston (Michael Mark), the night watchman who found Andre's body in the first film and has been haunted by it ever since, believing that the old Delambre Freres foundry is cursed, the only other character worth mentioning is Max Barthold (Dan Seymour), the gluttonous funeral home director who also happens to be a notorious illegal seller who Alan Hinds arranges to find buyers for the Disintegrator-Integrator plans. He doesn't trust Alan, whom he calls "Ronny," as far as he could throw him, a fact that Alan himself says makes him a very smart man, and is initially dismissive of his plan, but, when he learns what it is, he decides to go along with it, providing Alan can come up with evidence that'll convince would-be buyers that it's real. Max is initially glad that he went along with the scheme as he gets a number of offers for the machine but soon changes his tune when things go south and the mutated Philippe is searching for Alan. He's reassured that he has nothing to worry about since Philippe doesn't know him, which should indeed be the case, but he's actually killed before Alan when Philippe breaks into his funeral home. It is odd that Philippe would target Max since, again, he had no way of knowing that he was involved with Alan, unless you count that scene where he found Alan standing outside the funeral home when he was supposed to be running errands in town. Even though he did kill the right person, deciding that this man who he's never seen before is it was still a really big assumption on his part, especially for somebody who's supposedly saddled with a portion of a fly's brain. What's more, Max's death is downright pathetic: Philippe corners him in the morgue and he does nothing but stand there, watching the fly-monster approach rather than trying to get away. It's a cliché of the times but it's annoying, nonetheless.

The original film may have been a very polished movie, with a classy, sophisticated feel that put it several notches above most monster movies of the time, but the sequel is another story. It looks and feels every bit like a typical low budget, 50's sci-fi/monster flick, right down to the black-and-white photography. Its budget was somewhere around $225,000, much lower than that of the original, and as a result, they couldn't afford to shoot it in color, even though it was still done in CinemaScope. While it's really good, stark black-and-white, it's still a big comedown from the original's beautiful Technicolor, and keeps it from standing out amongst similar films of the time. What's more, even though they tailored the script so they could reuse the sets from the first film (shot from different angles to give the illusion that they're different places), they don't look as elegant here as they did before. I don't know if it's the monochrome look or what but the sets, particularly the laboratory and the sitting room, look cheaper than they did before (maybe because they now had a "used" feel to them or something of the sort), as do the few new ones that were used. But that's far from the only thing that makes this film inferior to its parent.

The special effects work, particularly conception of the fly-creatures, is done in such campy and awkward manner that, when people talk about how ridiculous they found the original film to be, I'm convinced it's because they've actually seen this movie without realizing it (indeed, I often see images from this film when they're talking about the original, including in that Monster Mania book I mentioned in my review of the original). Let's start with the biggest elephant in the room: the fly-headed man that Philippe becomes. For some reason, it was decided that, instead of being the same size as a normal human head, the fly head had to be enormous (I'd say around the size of a really big beach ball) and that, in addition to a fly claw as an arm, he also has one for his right foot, which he drags along, creating a scraping sound that signals his presence from off-camera. While the head is reasonably well-designed, with a nice, undulating proboscis that you can see at the end, it comes across as very cumbersome for the actor (Ed Wolff) to wear. David Hedison, despite the handicap of the mask, was able to bring some finesse to his performance in the first film but here, the enormous mask looks very top-heavy and causes the actor to stumble around whenever he's running or look clumsy and uncoordinated when he's sneaking through the brush. In fact, there's a moment right after he escapes out of the lab and is being chased through the woods by the police that, if you look closely, you can see him stop and adjust the fly-head so he can see better. And while I think the idea at the end as to why he's moving so sluggishly is that he's supposed to be weak and dying, it still just looks like a guy who can't see being led around a set. The head's size doesn't make sense in context either because, while they had a problem with the machine causing gigantism early on, they fixed it before Philippe and the fly got disintegrated together. So, once again, they had an opportunity to make things less awkward for the story and they blew it (although, that still wouldn't have explained why the fly gets a tiny human head). In addition, unlike the creature that Andre became, Philippe kills a couple of people, but those scenes also come across as ridiculous when you see this man wearing a gigantic fly-head wrapping his arm around his victims' necks and slowly strangling them to death, especially when it doesn't feel like he'd be able to muster up the strength to do so. The claw that he has also makes things look more cumbersome than they should, especially when it looks like he's using it to hold onto things for balance or to move things out of his way. Interestingly, a makeup effect that's more effective, or at least more startling, is the British officer who Alan Hinds puts through the disintegrator after killing him and when he's reintegrated, he has the feet of a guinea pig that had been disintegrated earlier. It doesn't really look like what it's supposed to be (I think it's shot well, though) but, when I first saw it, I was quite taken aback by it and I still think it's a wallop of a shock.

The matting and optical effects are a little more hit-and-miss. The effects used to put Brett Halsey's head on the body of the fly are interesting to look at and are startling effective... in quick, brief shots, as is the case in the film. When you're able to look at them in close scrutiny, though, they don't hold up as well (as you can see, the image here is really funky-looking). Plus, while the human-headed fly in the original was disturbing and poignant in its screaming, this is impossible to take seriously. Halsey's voice sounds ridiculous when it's high-pitched and his constant screaming of, "Cecile! Cecile! I'm Philippe! Philippe! No one will help me!", combined with images like the one above don't help either. And why doesn't he have human limbs if the fly-headed man got saddled with a couple of fly claws? There's a similar matting effect that's used for the guinea pig that's reintegrated with the hands and feet of the British detective and, again, it's surprisingly effective because you only see it for a couple of seconds. That's a big compliment that I can give the filmmakers: they seemed to know they had a low budget and were smart in showing you just enough without lingering on the effect so that you could see how cheap it looked. However, when Alan Hinds attempts to squish the guinea pig with his foot (a moment I hate because of the squealing that poor thing makes), there's a shot where you can see the human hands underneath his shoe... but they're normal-sized, making for an awkward image, to say the least. And as for the teleportation effects, they're as cheap as you can get. In the original film, you really didn't see the subjects getting teleported; you just saw the disintegrator chamber light up with a blinding flash and then dissipate to reveal that the subject was now gone. Here, they use jump cuts to go from a disintegrator chamber with a subject in it to an empty one and it looks so archaic. They should have stuck to the technique they used before.

If you've seen the original film a good number of times, as I have, there are a couple of noticeable continuity errors that the sequel has with it, in addition to the sudden appearance of the character of Inspector Beauchamp. For one, at the beginning of the movie when Francois and Philippe visit Andre's old laboratory, you can see the messages that he wrote for Helene on the chalkboard in the first film. You'd think that would be an example of good continuity but, remember, Helene told Inspector Charas that she rubbed it out, as well as that Andre burned his notes. Philippe, however, says that he's studied some of his father's notes without his mother's knowing and during the experiments, he often refers back to them. How can that be possible? And what's more, how could he have drawn up a bunch of plans and papers for Alan Hinds to steal if Andre burned everything? As it is with the dicey science in these movies, the real answer to this question is that there'd be no story to tell, so you have to just let some things go.

Paul Sawtell returned to do the score, this time bringing along fellow composer Bert Shefter, whom he often worked with, but their music here doesn't come close to matching the creepiness or memorability of the original. Since this film isn't disturbing like the original, Sawtell must have felt that it needed a different musical sound, or maybe he was a composer who didn't like repeating himself, but either way, like everything else, this score is more in line with what you often got in science fiction and monster movies around that time. Unfortunately, that means it's not as memorable as the original's music. The main title, which is by far the most distinctive part of the score, begins a high-pitched, flute sort of sound, obviously meant to emulate the sporadic, unpredictable flying of a housefly, and then leads into a horn piece that's a bit like the main theme to the original, only nowhere near as loud, bombastic, or threatening. Honestly, except for a sort of slow, apprehensive piece that plays in a couple of sections, like when Max is pacing nervously around his funeral home after Alan's plan goes south, I don't have much else to say about the music because it's very forgettable. It's a real shame, too, considering what we got before, and by the same composer.

Return of the Fly is just not a classic like the original and is also quite a massive step down from it. The characters and performances aren't as compelling, the story has some continuity issues with the first film, the slashed budget that the studio imposed on the filmmakers is apparent from the get-go, the special effects are a mixed bag, ranging from passable to very bad, the portrayal and execution of the creatures aren't as well done and often feel unintentionally funny, the music score is forgettable for the most part, and the film, overall, feels exactly like what it is: a quickly-made, cheap cash-in on a popular movie. But, all my gripes aside, I wouldn't say it's an out-and-out horrible movie. It's only 80 minutes long and goes by quickly, Vincent Price, despite not having much to do, is still enjoyable to watch as always and does the best job he can with the meager material, and the film is fairly entertaining in a B-movie way. I would ultimately describe it as one of those movies that, if you can turn your brain off and not take it too seriously, is an enjoyable way to kill some time, if nothing else.

1 comment:

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