Plot: Philippe (Brett Halsey) has heard stories about his father’s fatal, failed experiment, but he is driven to solve the scientific mystery that not only eluded his father, but took his life. Despite the horrific fate of his father, Philippe plans to continue the research and find some answers, as working on the same experiment as his father somehow brings him a degree of comfort. He also enlists his uncle Francois (Vincent Price) to lend a hand and support his work, but will Philippe be able to succeed where his father failed or will he suffer the same fate?
Entertainment Value: This sequel is a direct continuation, though it follows the original narrative for the most part, with a new lead and some fresh wrinkles, as the son moves on in the father’s footsteps. This makes sense however, as the idea of a son driven to finish his father’s work is a reasonable one and the new twists thrown in ensure it doesn’t feel like a simple remake. I appreciated the sabotage and betrayal elements, as that helps the movie’s narrative stand on its own and those threads work well to add tension. The film does shift to more of a sci/fi drama at times, but there is horror woven in as well, especially toward the finale, which is close to the original movie, but still a lot of fun to watch unfold. The pace is also quite brisk, running just about 80 minutes, so there’s little filler in this tight chiller. I think this is a more than competent sequel that feels connected to the original, but also manages to stand on its own and provide some solid b movie entertainment.
The lone returning cast member here is Vincent Price, but for a movie of this kind, you couldn’t ask for a better common thread. In the first movie, Price had a supporting role and while he was around often, he is a much more prominent presence in this sequel, which is great news. He brings his usual creepy performance here and while the movie is more hokey than the original, he is able to provide some dramatic flair and as always, is fun to watch here. The lead is Brett Halsey, who turns in solid work here, but seems outclassed by Price in most scenes. I still think his effort here is capable, but I would have liked to see him dial up his performance to keep pace. John Sutton takes over the detective role from Herbert Marshall and is fine, though not as effective in the role. The cast also includes Danielle De Metz, Dan Seymour, and David Frankham. This sequel isn’t as polished and inventive as the original, but it is a fun ride and is much better than you might expect.