Return of the Son and the Curse

Audiences rejected Curse of the Fly on release. There’s no actual fly or fly person in the story, making Curse of the Fly a black sheep. The British production then laid dormant until a DVD release in 2007.

On reevaluation, the British bring a classy cheapness to the Delambre saga. It’s an enriching mad science story that caps the previous films through an alarming progression of dehumanization. Family experiments and obsession passed through generations with ever loosening morals. Now the Delambre clan work on people; the failed test subjects live in agony, trapped in a barn.

In the opening shot, a window shatters. A woman appears (tawdry exploitation dressing her only in underwear) climbing from the now broken pane, and running from a home. Curse of the Fly is ultimately about escape. That theme threads through each character.

There’s Albert Delambre (Michael Graham), the youngest, seeking to distance himself from his family’s cruelty. Martin Delambre (George Baker) wants to cure illness caused by the family business, then move away with his wife (Carole Gray) who runs from a mental breakdown. For Henri Delambre (Brian Donlevy), the law closes in; his own madness grows the longer he tinkers with science.

Matter transportation in Curse of the Fly leads to an ethical disaster where only results matter

Without a fly, Curse of the Fly deals in the gruesome, bridging this 1965 release near the 1986 remake, if not with the explicit gore. Mutilated faces and hands appear on victims. One is transported across continents – a natural expansion of The Fly’s room-to-room method – and deposited as vaguely shaped, bleeding goo. Gross.

Curse of the Fly’s central mystery isn’t enthralling (viewers know the Delambre history, Carole Gray’s character does not), but the thematic crux works. This is the mutated evolution The Fly warned about. It’s why Andre Delambre burned his notes and killed himself in a press. Splitting the atom led to death. Matter transportation in Curse of the Fly leads to an ethical disaster where only results matter.

In that, Curse of the Fly is intelligently structured in following Return of the Fly. There, science was abused by those seeking personal gain. Now, that’s no longer an element framed by an antagonist – the entire cast is engaged in criminal behavior, divesting from their humanity for a greater good. While playing in Frankenstein’s realm, Curse of the Fly doesn’t fear a natural discovery like electricity. Rather, it’s cautious of a future in a world where the science was already defined by war.

Video

Just a guess, but it’s likely Curse of the Fly’s Blu-ray debut uses the same master as that DVD release from back in 2007. It’s ugly, and entirely SD. Notable ringing hits each frame, giving off a hardened, unnatural look. Heavy, chunky grain looks akin to an interpositive source, and that’s also likely. Scratches and dust pile on during the runtime.

At best, Curse of the Fly reaches moderate definition. Any gain in detail comes via better compression than DVD. Facial texture shows slightly, and there is enough resolution to make out the mesh under one of the makeup appliances. Otherwise, it’s mundane.

Gray scale marks the high point, although that’s lacking at times too. Black isn’t always so pure, and contrast tends to hold itself back unless someone is being zapped by the disintegrator-integrator machine.

Audio

A plot device concerns a concert pianist, but it sounds like the instrument is off-key. Treble struggles to reach high points, too often harsh. Limited fidelity affects each element, from hollow dialog to scratchy themes. DTS-HD isn’t helping much, if at all.

Extras

Oddly, Scream Factory doesn’t list the key bonus features on the box art. Trailers and a still gallery are listed, but not the good stuff. Actress Mary Manson is interviewed about her part for seven minutes. Renee Glynne, who dealt with continuity, recalls her work after being reminded she worked on Curse of the Fly in the first place. She talks for five minutes. Finally, historians Steve Haberman and Constantine Nasr pair for an appreciative commentary track.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Curse of the Fly
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

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Long forgotten, Curse of the Fly is the better, darker sequel to the original even with its imperfect storytelling.

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