Return of the Fly is the first sequel to the 1958 horror film The Fly. It was released in 1959, and directed by Edward Bernds. Unlike the preceding film, Return of the Fly was shot in black and white. It was followed by a further sequel in 1965, Curse of the Fly.
Phillipe Delambre is determined to vindicate his father by successfully completing the experiment. His uncle Francois (Vincent Price) refuses to help. Phillipe hires Alan Hines from Delambre Frere and uses his own finances, but the funds run out before the equipment is complete.
When Phillipe threatens to sell his half of Delambre Frere, Francois relents and funds the completion. After some adjustments, they use the transporter to “store” and later re-materialize test animals. Alan Hines turns out to be Ronald Holmes, an industrial spy. Ronnie tries to sell the secrets to a shadowy cohort named Max.
Before Ronnie can get away with the papers, a British agent confronts him. Ronnie knocks him out and uses the transporter to “store” the body. When rematerialized, the agent has the paws of a guinea pig that had been disintegrated earlier, and the guinea pig has human hands…
“Somewhere along the line this “horror” movie morphs into a noir-esque drama rife with shady characters, tilted Stetsons, cars rolling over cliffs with bodies in the trunk—but no tough dames, sorry […] To the filmmakers’ credit, they avoid simply repeating the same plot as the original; even though there are strong similarities, there are also enough twists to make this movie enjoyable for its own sake.” David Maine, Pop Matters
” … the film was only interested in jerry-rigging things to get another guy into a giant fly mask … Watching somebody lose the battle for all the things that matter to him resonates with everyone on some level. Watching his son try not fall over because of an oversized prop fly head only makes you realize that they should have hung a flystrip up in the lab the second go around.” Monsterhunter
“The film only lasts for an hour and fifteen minutes, and yet is plodding and too lengthy for the most part. The production design is more ambitious, and the stark black-and-white imagery seems to have dated less than the original’s colour tones, but this appears to be the only thing going for Return of the Fly.” Raphael Pour-Hashemi, The Digital Fix
“With stark black-and-white photography by Brydon Baker, director Edward L. Bernds evokes some horrifying moments in a mortuary and keeps things buzzing.” John Stanley, Creature Features
” …abandons any pretence to dramatic content in favour of re-using the gimmick from the first film: the ‘happy’ ending is particularly unfortunate.” Alan Frank, The Horror Film Handbook
“Although Bernds script is overly episodic and his direction flat, the film was a commercial success…” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction
“Artless and filmed on a strictly B picture budget and with a B picture script, this fly should have stayed swotted.” Films and Filming, 1959
Image credits: the scene of screen 13