A Canadian scientist, Andre Delambre (Al Hedison), has invented a teleportation device (although he uses the term 'disintegrater-integrater' in the film). He has a number of setbacks including his first attempt to teleport something live when he thinks he has ironed out the earlier problems. The family's pet cat vanishes from one booth but does not appear in the other booth, and all that can be heard is the disintegrated cat's meow. Andre sorts out the problems and as his wife has found out what has happened to the cat, she has him promise not to use animals any more, so he tries it on himself. The first time works, but, unknown to him, a fly (bluebottle) enters the cabin with him and the two are hopelessly scrambled together. The scientist emerges as a half-man, half-fly hybrid — a human with a fly's head and insect left arm and claw (the fly's leg). This is not shown happening and we first see Andre in this state (though covered up) 56 minutes into the film.
His wife finds out something is wrong as she now sees him with a cloth over his head (Hedison played the character all through the film) and a hidden arm. He eventually tells his wife (through type-written messages, as he has lost his ability of speech) what has happened and she first sees his claw and screams, then later sees his fly head and screams a lot more (we see her screaming in multiple image, as a fly would). His wife, son and maid try to find the "fly with a white head" and fail. The son had caught it just after the accident but had been made to let it go, before any of them knew what it was. Pathetically, Andre attempts to reverse the process to return himself to normal, but fails and when he realises that his mind is being overtaken by that of the fly he asks his wife to kill him using a heavy machine press (fifty tons pressure).
The Inspector cannot believe the story and decides to have her charged with murder but with a plea of insanity. As they come to take her away, the son again finds the fly. Francois and the Inspector rush to see it. In the famous twist ending, the scientist's brother and Inspector Charas hear a tiny voice coming from a nearby spider's web; they make the dreadful discovery of a tiny creature with the scientist's emaciated head and arm with the body of a fly, shrieking, "Help me! Help me!" as it is about to be devoured by a large spider. The inspector, horrified by the sight, mercifully crushes the prey and predator with a stone.
The film ends with the woman making a good recovery and playing with her son and Price there with them. Since the Inspector had seen the fly with the human head, he knew her story was true and with Price, they had concocted a story where Hedison's character had committed suicide, so she escaped any charge. In the original story, a matchbox with the dead fly is buried next to the grave of the man who shared parts with it.
The film is available on DVD and the commentary says that the film took only 18 days to make and unexpectedly made $3,000,000. This was 1 of 3 films Hedison made before moving studios and being made to change his name from Al to David. The film was made in CinemaScope and Terror-Color by De Luxe.
|Vincent Price||Francois Delambre|
|Al Hedison||Andre Delambre|
|Patricia Owens||Helene Delambre|
|Herbert Marshall||Inspector Charas|
|Charles Herbert||Philippe Delambre|