Philippe Delambre, the now-adult son of “The Fly”, does some transportation experimentation of his own.
“The horror is back!”
“Out of the World of Atomic Mutation It Rises
– With the Dread Curse of the Father Upon It!”
I wrote about The Fly (1958) a while back, and I admitted that I was somewhat unsure if I should be calling it #NotQuiteClassicCinema. I know I’ve struggled with that before. I hate for people to think I’m calling a movie “bad” or implying that I don’t like it. Nothing could be further from the case (in most situations). I’m basically paying homage to the old TV show that introduced me to these old monster movies, Not Quite Classic Theatre. Still, many oil the movies I write about would never get confused for actual classics (The Beast of Yucca Flats, anyone?). The Fly (1958), however, would and should. I think I said something like this:
The Fly (1958) is, in some ways, an actual classic. It was very popular, and spawned two sequels and a remake (which also spawned a sequel). I agonized about whether or not to include it in my exploration of the annals of #NotQuiteClassicCinema. I decided that I could, because it has so much in common with the movies that I first fell in love with while watching Not Quite Classic Theatre so many years ago. It’s a monster movie. It’a a giant bug movie. It’s about a man transforming into a monster. And it came out in 1958 – which seems to be one of the biggest (and best) years for #NotQuiteClassicCinema. And let’s face it, I’m sure that the serious critics and the members of the Academy (who hand out awards) would not have considered The Fly (1958) to be worthy of their consideration in the same way as, say, The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), or The Three Faces of Eve (1957) had been.
So, I will call The Fly (1958) a #NotQuiteClassicCinema classic.
I was fairly comfortable with that decision (although at least one person called me on it on Twitter – or should I say, the social media thing formally called Twitter? Hopefully that remark won’t even make sense to people in a couple of years…). Today, however, I am talking about Return of the Fly (1958), the first of two sequels to The Fly (1958). So I once again find myself asking, Am I comfortable calling this movie #NotQuiteClassicCinema?
Hell, yes! is the answer.
I wouldn’t even bother to call it a #NotQuiteClassicCinema classic.
Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Return of the Fly. I did, very much. It has most of the elements that I look for in a monster movie from 1958. But, truth be told, it’s not quite as good a movie as The Fly (1958). It’s also nowhere near as famous. I had barely heard of it, in fact, prior to collecting the trilogy on DVD a few years back. I think it’s fair to say that it’s no Bride of Frankenstein (1935), which is a rare sequel that probably surpassed the original movie (although just barely). Either way, it’s every bit as much of a classic as Frankenstein (1931).
I actually enjoyed Return of the Fly quite a bit more than many of my other recent Friday night screenings. It currently rates a 5.7 on the IMDb, which is quite respectable. On the other hand, last week’s The Devil’s Hand (1961) only scored a 4.6, and the week before The Snow Creature (1954) only managed a paltry 3.2. Return of the Fly is definitely a cut above, and deserves to be seen more than it seems to be.
What else can I say? Vincent Price is back, and the setting remains in Montreal (or just outside of it). It feels very much like a true sequel, and does a pretty good job of continuing the story. You may have to suspend your disbelief a little bit, as the exact same transformation occurs once again in this movie. And I mean exact. The human winds up with the head and arm of a fly. I mean, why not a foot and some wings this time? Or some other combination. But then again, we don’t really want it to be a different creature, do we?
They probably simply wanted to re-use the same costume.
In any case, Return of the Fly (1958) is a fine, fun example of #NotQuiteClassicCinema. While you may want to screen it as part of a double bill, I would perhaps not do so with the original The Fly (1958). Apparently, Return of the Fly was originally sent out with The Alligator People (1959) – which is another movie I find quite enjoyable (as I may have said a while back). Those two movies might just make the perfect pairing for your next #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.
“The horror is back!”
— Angus Kohm (@AngusKohm) July 29, 2023