Curse of the Fly (1965)

Posted: February 27, 2021 in Uncategorized

This is one that’s taken me forever to get around to. I suspect that my reason is one that has kept many away from it: there’s no fly. As it turns out, I was wrong not to see it much sooner. It’s a fascinating film, with a lot going for it, and of all the entries in the original series, it’s the one that most clearly anticipates the body horror of David Cronenberg’s vision.

Instead of a fly, it’s a copy of Jane Eyre, several pages from the script of Gaslight, and a dusting of Rebecca that get into the teleporter. Patricia Stanley (Carol Gray) escapes from an asylum and is picked up on the side of the road by Martin Delambre (George Baker). A whirlwind romance ensues, and they return to the Delambre mansion a married couple. There, Patricia is greeted with by the servants Tai and Wan (the Pink Panther series’ Burt Kwouk and Witchcraft‘s Yvette Rees; in the film’s one really bad decision, she is saddled with yellowface makeup). The reason for her cold reception is that Martin is already married, but his first wife, Judith (Mary Manson), is locked away, not in the attic, but in an outbuilding.

It turns out that Martin and his father Henri (Brian Donlevy, in full bulldozer Quatermass mode) are continuing the teleporter experiments of Henri’s grandfather, along with Martin’s reluctant brother Albert (Martin Graham), who is based in London, on the other end of the teleportation circuit. The early tests have had problems. Martin looks normal enough, but every so often he starts to age hideously, and needs injections to hold the transformation off. As for Judith and two other assistants, they’ve become monsters. Our first looks at them are genuinely chilling, and some of the makeup suggests that people come out the teleporter like half-melted candles.

Patricia starts realizing something is very wrong, but is told, of course, that she was dreaming, and this hardly helps her already rocky mental stability.

If the original film was a tragedy, and the second a more conventional horror thriller, complete with revenge plot, but also a happy ending, this is in some ways the darkest of the three. A brooding, autumnal atmosphere dominates the Delambre mansion and its grounds, and the cataclysm that closes in on the family comes in multiple flavours of the horrible and the gruesome. Good stuff.

Check it out here.

Comments
  1. dionecron says:

    Yes,
    Just from that one still, I get reverberations of The Fly II and From Beyond. One to seek out for sure.
    Also,
    How did you get that Dr Doom gig? Pretty cool. Kirby is one of my favorite creators of all time, so, pretty sick!

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