Thursday, November 20, 2014
RETURN OF THE FLY (1959) Blu-ray Review
Return of the Fly (1959) d. Edward Bernds (USA)
Philippe Delambre (Brett Halsey) follows in his father’s buzzy footsteps by resurrecting the transporter machine – much to the chagrin of Uncle Francois (Vincent Price) – only to be pitched into it alongside another winged traveler by his duplicitous business partner (David Frankham). Hilarity ensues.
As a straight-ahead goofy ’50s monster movie, this thoroughly laughable sequel to the previous year’s classic is undeniably entertaining, but for all the wrong reasons. Rather than a true follow-up, it’s best seen as a parody, with a multitude of goddawful effects, unintentional comedy, cartoonishly huge fly heads, and plot inconsistencies galore.
From Halsey’s inexplicable entomophobic histrionics to the detective/guinea pig switcheroo to the matted fly photo with Halsey’s head stuck on it crying “Help me!” (minus the corresponding arm and leg that should be on there, considering his humanoid counterpart), Bernds’ script is a litany of ridiculousness from start to finish, played admirably straight by all involved. It's terrible, but Turkey-liciously so.
Return of the Fly is available now on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory as part of their excellent The Vincent Price Collection II, and in keeping with its second-class status, the extras are also a pale shadow of their 5" brethren. Yes, there is a still gallery, a theatrical trailer and TV spot, but what should have been the main attraction turns out to be a crashing bore. I'm speaking of the audio commentary with Halsey and film historian David Del Valle, in which they attempt to treat this bastion of bungles with some sort of respect, but even Del Valle can't resist mocking it openly as a stunt man (not Halsey, the star is quick to point out) wearing a giant fly head and huge fly flipper slippers crashes around in a lightly wooded forest.
The majority of the running time is comprised of our lead actor failing to remember anything of note from the shoot, despite constant prompting, although he is decidedly generous when discussing all of his co-stars. Halsey also comes right out and confesses that he didn't want to do the picture, but that the studio head at Fox hinted in no uncertain terms that it would be best for contract players to do as they were told and that he would be rewarded since the movie was going to be a hit (which, of course, it was).
--Aaron Christensen, HorrorHound Magazine