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Studio Classics: Set 16 [Fox 75th Anniversary] [4 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

The Fly
Wealthy Helene Delambre (Patricia Owens) is discovered late at night in the factory owned by her husband Andre (David Hedison). Helene stands beside a huge metal press, which has crushed the head and arm of her husband. Held for murder, the near-catatonic Helene refuses to tell anyone--not even Andre's brother Francois (Vincent Price)--why she did it. Francois cannot help but notice that Helene reacts in mortal terror when a tiny flies zips through the room. Nor can he disregard the statement made by Helene's son Philippe (Charles Herbert) that the fly has a curious white head and leg. When Francois pretends that he's captured the fly, Helene relaxes enough to tell her story. It seems that Andre, a scientist, had been working on a matter transmitter, which he claimed could disintegrate matter, then reintegrate it elsewhere. After a few experiments, Andre tried the transmitter himself. Just as he stepped into the disintegration chamber, a fly also flew into the chamber. We aren't immediately shown the results of this, save for the fact that Andre afterward insists upon keeping his head and arm covered. Alone with her husband, Helene abruptly removes the covering, revealing that Andre now bears the head of a fly! His atoms have become mixed up with the fly, and now he is unable to reverse the procedure. Deciding that his transmitter will be a bogy rather than a blessing to mankind, Andre smashes the apparatus and burns his notes. He then instructs Helene, via body language, to crush his fly-like head and arm in the press. Neither Francois nor inspector Charas (Herbert Marshall) believe the story...until, while staring intently at a spider's web in the garden, they see a tiny entrapped fly with Andre's head and arm, tinnily screaming "Help me! Help me!" as the slavering spider approaches (If you're wondering why Vincent Price and Herbert Marshall do not look one another in the eye during this scene, it is because they couldn't deliver their dialogue without dissolving into laughter). Infinitely subtler than the admittedly excellent 1986 remake, the 1958 The Fly is one of the definitive big-budget horror films of its decade. Best bit: the prismatic "fly's eye view" of the screaming Patricia Owens. The Fly was adapted from George Langelaan's short story by James (Shogun) Clavell. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

House of the Damned
This unappealing suspense film stars Ronald Foster and Erika Peters as a couple who arrive at a decrepit old mansion only to find that the previous occupants -- a group of circus freaks -- have yet to vacate the premises. Worse, it seems that the mischievous tenants are quite adamant about defending their territory against all outsiders while waiting for their keeper to return, and their methods of dissuading unwanted guests apparently include murder. This is a passable spook-house exercise, with lots of severed limbs flung at the hapless protagonists and and a silly cop-out ending, but the use of actual circus freaks as the villains (probably a cost-saving measure for the filmmakers) is more than a little disconcerting. The circus giant is played by a young Richard Kiel. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

The Alligator People
A confused horror yarn set in the Deep South, Alligator People stars Richard Crane as a husband who becomes accidently separated from his new wife (Beverly Garland) during a train ride. She tracks him down to the swamplands surrounding his family mansion. Her reunion with her husband is tarnished by the fact that he's been partially transformed into an alligator! This is the handiwork of doctor George MacReady, who's been conducting curious experiments with gators and humans. Garland must figure out a way to save her mutated husband from both the scientist and a drunken alligator hunter (Lon Chaney Jr.). The story is told in flashback, as psychiatrists try to figure out what has driven Garland insane. The Alligator People was the last film directed by Roy Del Ruth, light years away from his glory days at Warner Bros. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Cabinet of Caligari
This horror film is an updated remake of the 1919 classic tale of horror and domination. This time a deeply troubled woman must go to a spooky, ramshackle old manse after her car breaks down. The owner takes her in and then subjects her to numerous humiliating torments. Just before she is to die, the woman awakens from the nightmare and then remembers that she is in a mental hospital and that the sadistic host in her dream is really her doctor. Noted author Robert Bloch penned the script. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Vincent Price
    Vincent Price - Francois
  • Herbert Marshall
    Herbert Marshall - Inspector Charas
  • Kathleen Freeman
    Kathleen Freeman - Emma
  • Betty Lou Gerson
    Betty Lou Gerson - Nurse Andersone
  • Charles Herbert
    Charles Herbert - Philippe
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