Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 6, 2007)
After two films in two years, The Fly series took a break. The first flick became a hit in 1958, and its initial sequel zipped onto screens only a year later. That might’ve been the end of things, but the series got a revival in 1965 with The Curse of the Fly.
Curse starts with a sequence that shows an underwear clad woman named Pat (Carole Gray) as she escapes from a mental hospital. Martin Delambre (George Baker) picks her up and gives her an assist as she tries to go to Montreal. He helps her get on her feet as he pursues the family business: teleportation experiments.
The first flick’s Andre was the first Delambre to work on this topic – with tragic results. We’re told that Martin is part of the third generation to pursue this line of technology, but lots of problems remain. Despite all the work to be done, Martin finds time for love, so he and Pat decide to get married.
That’s when we learn about Pat’s mental problems and the breakdown that landed her in the mental hospital. We also discover Martin’s own secrets, as he deals with some debilitating physical issues he doesn’t share with Pat. The movie follows their relationship, his experiments, and the whole screwy Delambre clan.
Here’s what you won’t find in Curse: a dude who turns into a fly-like monster. The film takes the “curse” in its title seriously, as it concentrates on the negative ramifications of the Delambre family’s teleportation obsession. It looks at the flaws in the experiments and related complications.
Because of his, Curse feels more like a Gothic horror flick than another Fly effort. It focuses on the creepy family of freaks and doesn’t really connect all that much to the original movies. It uses those as a loose framework and little else.
The premise had potential, but Curse fails to make much of the possibilities. That’s a shame, especially because it starts well. The title sequence in which Pat escapes possesses an intriguing dreamlike quality that makes it captivating. This manages to draw us into the flick with its promise of something different.
Promise that it squanders very quickly. The Martin/Pat relationship stretches credulity, partly because Martin doesn’t seem all that taken aback to find a hot chick in her undies running around the streets. Hey, I dream of such an encounter, but I still think I’d be a little more surprised if it happened. Martin doesn’t question it, probably because it fits the necessary plot developments.
Indeed, Pat exists solely to give the audience a representative. We can’t identify with the nutty Delambres, so we need a proxy to witness the weirdness at the Delambre home. Does her mental illness ever make a difference in the story? Not that I can discern; it’s a twist to bring the authorities to the Delambre manse, but otherwise it’s irrelevant to the story.
Even for an 86-minute movie, Curse feels padded. Take the scene in which Tai walks to the lab. This goes on forever and serves little purpose. Perhaps the filmmakers felt a need to establish the house’s size and its geography, but I don’t think this was necessary. Instead, this and other scenes just fill space to pad out the flick to feature length.
I must admit the movie’s continuity goofs bug me. Inspector Charas worked on the death of Andre back in the first film, an event that would’ve been a good 40 or 50 years before this flick’s action. While Curse does age Charas – unlike the Vincent Price character in Return - but it’s not enough. He was no spring chicken in the first movie, so he should’ve died well before this tale.
As with Return, the absolute failure of the filmmakers to attempt a futuristic society distracts. Return should take place in the 1970s or 1980s, which puts Curse somewhere in the 1990s or maybe even the 21st century. Funny how they both look just like the eras in which they were shot!
Curse isn’t a terrible movie, and it’s probably more interesting than a third chapter in a series like this should be. That said, it offers only minor pleasures at most. I don’t think that calling a film “not terrible” is much praise, and that’s the best I can do for Curse.