I really wish the movies that could be considered Horror that had Vincent Price in them would be more specific about his involvement in the film. To be fair, Vincent spends more time on screen in “Return of the Fly” then in the first Fly movie, but even calling it “Return of the Fly” is slightly misleading since the mad scientist du jour is Andre’s son, not Andre himself who was well and truly dead by the end of the last film. You may remember Andre as the maddest of the mad scientists from the movie, “The Fly” in which he and his brother Francois, the lord of darkness and apparently a steel factory owner, attempt to step into God’s domain. You know, since God’s domain apparently includes teleportation devices, and by the end of the film he turns into a half man half fly creature, because apparently he’s a genius, but he’s not smart enough to make sure his teleportation tube contains him and only him before trying it out with live human testing. Also, lest we forget, I think he killed the family cat. This film takes place around twenty years after the first one after the mother from the first film committed suicide. We begin our story at the funeral with Francois and his nephew Phillipe, narrated over by a brief sort of recap of the first film by Mr. Price, who I believe is the only actor returning for the film.
I suppose it’s worth mentioning that the opening credits suck in comparison to the first film. I mean, wow. We get a shot of a fly’s ass for around a minute. This is spine tingling horror at its finest. Also, since this film was made a year after, but in story the kid from the first film is all grown up, Vincent Price is looking pretty spry. Dare I say it, he looks exactly the same. That’s it, I called it. Vincent Price is the lord of flies, the master of all evil and he’s just screwing with the family. On the way out of the funeral, a reporter stops Vincent Price and asks the same questions any sane person would. What the hell is up with your brother dying? Clearly, you’re covering something up. Well yeah. He is. His brother became a hideous monster because trespassed in God’s blah, blah so on, so forth. Actually, Vincent just tells him to get lost. Philippe persuades Beelzeprice to tell him about what happened and so Vincent takes him to the foundry where Andre was killed via the hammer of God. He even takes him into the old lab, which I somehow thought was in Andre’s house. Wasn’t that the reason he had such easy access to the cat? Vincent then tells Philippe about what happened to his uncle and how science is dangerous.
Philippe starts talking about how there is no such thing as God’s domain and good God, what is wrong with this family!? Two generations of mad scientists in a row!? Frankenstein’s family was more normal than this. Remember Bill Frankenstein? He opened a bookstore. Why can’t you just open a bookstore!? Anyways, Philippe reminds his uncle that he offered to help him be just like his father and break the laws of nature over his knees, though he does use the word explorer. Vincent Price turns him down because apparently money is an issue. I’ll come back to this point later on, but this cements my opinion that Vincent Price is really playing two roles in this movie. The devil and Francois. That actually would make a good title for a story, just sayin’. He’s totally evil! He’s encouraging two generations of the same family to be mad scientists! So Philippe goes to meet some British guy named Alan and he gives a very important line. Apparently he was already thinking about doing these experiments. He did already have access to his father’s papers, which likely Vincent Price gave to him. So they go to his father’s house, where the original experiments took place, and which are likely still haunted by Mittens the cat from the first film.
The first film had some romance, and really every film has had a romance where the woman is the smart one. This film skips that bit and reminds us that this guy is far too much of a mad scientist to love anyone. Also, Philippe has a strong hatred and phobia of fly’s, which really makes no sense, unless his mother and crazy Vincent Price unconsciously beat that fear into him. Well, in Vincent Price’s case, it’s on purpose. Philippe starts running low on money when Alan says he’ll go without a paycheck for a bit and then Philippe “blackmails” his uncle into providing money for his experiment. Vincent even says he’ll work with him to protect him, and so that he can convince him otherwise. I think Vincent just sticks around so he can see the fruits of his labors. See, I think he put himself in this very position on purpose earlier, when he said he had no money. He wanted this to happen! I swear, Vincent is just playing with this kid! So at this point, the B plot kicks in. You see, Alan is actually some other guy named Ronald Holmes, British industrial spy and porn star. Oh, I’m not joking, with the stache he has, he’s either a cop or a pornstar or both. Anyways, he goes to see the fat man from The Maltese Falcon, who has clearly been going on weight watchers, and offers to sell a thing called a disintegrator-integrator. Because selling this to the military actually does sound like a decent plot. So with the sale set up, we watch the experiments begin.
In the first film, I often wondered about Andre’s sanity, because he just went on with his experiments all piecemeal. In this case, I’m starting to wonder if the scientific route is not, in fact, more psychotic, because I keep wondering how many experiments before they realize Philippe is nuts. First, the ashy tray. Then a guinea pig. They end up making the pig enormous, by the way. Finally they try disintegrating a guinea pig and keeping it gone. You fool! Andre did that on accident! Oh yes, in case you weren’t completely convinced of their craziness they use a bunny too. This is about where the series of errors begin in earnest. First, the industrial espionage requires the mad genius to be out of the room. The fly uses the old catch a fly and shove it in your friends face” to get him to leave. Then he comes back to espionage some industry, but he ends up getting caught by some police guy who we’ve seen maybe once. They get into a fight and Ronald Holmes…I just can’t take that name seriously, wins and he then has to disintegrate the body and play it off. Once the genius goes back upstairs he reintegrates him and he has hamster hands and feet. And the hamster has the human hands and feet now. Wait, so they could have saved mittens from the last film and he never tried? What a dick!
Anyways, he kills the hamster abomination and takes the investigator out to in his car to meet the fat man so they can send him on a late night swim in the river, in his car…he’s…not coming back, is he? This does mean that Philippe catches on and so he gets the same as his father, oh no! The head of a fly and two arms and a leg two. This costume sucks. It really sucks. The first one was building up to the reveal of the fly head and it was played in such a way that it was unnerving. The character with the fly head on never speaks, but Andre still moved in a roughly human manner except for his fly head. The costume was subtle and worthy of mention, in fact far more attention than I gave it when I was talking about the first movie. This second one is like something you would find as a costume at a horror themed Chuckie Cheese. He always drags his fly leg, even though he seems to have no trouble using his fly arms to strangle the fat man. At least Philippe is more proactive, trying to hunt down his attackers. Mr. Holmes shoots the devil…wow, I never thought I would have to say that again…and Vincent has the good graces to pretend to be hurt.
The rest of the film is mostly the horrible fly creature hunting down the thinner fat man and Ronald Holmes. At the end of the film they do find the fly and get Philippe back to normal. This movie was awful. But at least it confirmed my suspicion that Vincent Price was the devil. You might say I glossed over the ending of the film, but really so does the film. Vincent Price ends up in a hospital bed, gasping like a dying man whereas he seemed fine, more or less, after being shot in the stomach. We did watch Beelzeprice knock out a baker’s dozen policemen in “House of Wax” so by my way of thinking, he should have been mildly annoyed by that. This film has all the problems you would expect of a sequel made a year after the first one. It’s going through the motions and it really, really shows. I guess it gives payoff to the Vincent Price story arc in my head, so that’s worth something. Now, for your viewing pleasure, the Vincent Price picture of the week. See you next time!