Movie Name: Return of the Fly
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date(s): Movie Release Date
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
The son of Andre Delambre finds his mother finally taken by horror that she witnessed involving his father. Now Philippe (Brett Halsey) is going ahead to prove his father’s experiment can work against the wishes of uncle Francois (Vincent Price). When plans to steal his technology by his crooked assistant Ronald (David Frankham) leads to a murder, Philippe succumbs to the fate of his father. Now time is running out for Philippe, and the Fly might take control of him.
Directed by Edward Bernds, Return of the Fly was released one year after The Fly. The movie switched from color to black-and-white and modified “the Fly” with a different costume.
While The Fly is almost entirely science fiction, this movie adds a few more elements of horror to the story. There are actual killings in the movie and the Fly (though it is revenge) does commit murder. The movie does still hold a heavy science fiction base despite the amped up horrors of the film.
The pacing of Return of the Fly is quite plodding. It takes a while for Philippe to be turned into the Fly and heavily revolves around plans to steal the teleportation plans. Once “the Fly” is born, the humanoid part just kind of runs around a bit then avenges himself while we deal with Vincent Price in the hospital trying to convince investigators of Philippe’s innocence. When the Fly does return, it seemed like it would have been different if the fly mentality had taken over Philippe, but instead Philippe was just like his father and in control long enough to get himself restored. I would have liked a bit of plot shuffling with the new story and a few more surprises from the Fly.
The design of the Fly is also a bit more ridiculous. The smaller, more humanoid head of the original has been replaced by a much bigger Papier-mâché style head that doesn’t seem very functional. In addition to his hand, Philippe is also dealing with a fly leg that causes him to lurch more (probably making it easier for the actor to manage the huge head). The classic human fly which appeared at the end of The Fly is more featured in this story and still fun and goofy. I’ve never understood in either version if the human fly is intelligence or if it just keeps shouting “help me” on instinct. I also love the inspector that switches his hands with a guinea pig.
With a weaker script, cheaper sets, and a costume that is worse than the original, Return of the Fly seems like a poor follow-up. It is still fun to watch, but feels less “thinky” than the first Fly and rushed to the screen. Aspects to the sequel to the Cronenberg film The Fly II in did follow this story with the main character trying to follow in his father’s footsteps. Return of the Fly was followed by Curse of the Fly in 1965.
The Fly (1958)
The Curse of the Fly (1965)
The Fly (1986)
The Fly II (1989)