The second sequel to the original film connects in only the loosest ways, is next up on the Sci-Fi Chronicles list, and I was eager to see another take on the concept.
This time around the tale follows Henri Delambre (Brian Donlevy) and his sons, Martin (George Baker) and Albert (Michael Graham). There are secrets in this house in Montreal, that Patricia begins to discover, but can her own story be believed?
I love the dreamlike opening of the woman, Patricia (Carole Gray) escaping a mental institution to a wistful, eerie score by Bert Shefter. It seems rather silly how the one representative from the hospital, Madame Fournier (Rachel Kempson) is in no real rush to find Patricia.
I was delighted to see the film had a familiar face in Burt Kwouk, who is working with the Delambres. He plays a manner of manservant for the household in Montreal. The family have been working on the teleport, and in fact they used it to transport Henri from Quebec to England, but he came out of it scarred and damaged, but still confident that the machine will revolutionize travel.
Martin and Patricia fall quickly in love, and she returns to Montreal with him as his wife, despite the fact that they barely know one another, and he seems to be suffering from some teleport related effects, and of course, she is an escapee from a mental ward.
As Martin and Tai (Kwouk) get to work on the teleport, Patricia tries to settle into the house, and his father and brother in England are less than impress to discover that she is in the Montreal house. She wanders her new home, she discovers some terrifying things, including his ‘work with animals.’
When things get even worse, with her hearing and seeing things in the night, none of the Delambres will admit that anything is going on, and tell her she was wrong or confused. This should play into her paranoia, and whatever mental illness she is supposed to have, and that would have been a great angle to play up, but it’s left to the side.
If the previous films were melodramatic, this one is triply so, and it is nowhere near as engaging as the first film. And some of the plot, read as all of it, just doesn’t work. It’s silly and goofy, and was obviously positioned as nothing more than a film suitable for a Saturday afternoon matinee.
This was one I simply couldn’t get into, I thought, I’d hoped, that with the way the film opened, that the dream/nightmare quality would be an overlay for the film, but instead, that felt like the only solid sequence in the film, everything else just falls apart, and lacks any real scares, or inspiration.
Perhaps that is why the property was left alone for as long as it was until Cronenberg came along and revitalized the tale.
Just too bad that because it was positioned as a kiddie horror/sci-fi film it couldn’t have been written a little more strongly. Oh well.