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The Projected Man
cast: Mary Peach, Bryant Haliday, Norman Wooland, Ronald Allen, and Derek Farr

director: Ian Curteis

77 minutes (12) 1967
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
2Entertain DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Tom Johnstone
Crossroads fans may recognise Ronald Allen (David Hunter in that TV soap) playing a supporting role in this low budget British sci-fi thriller. But genre fans may also recognise two key horror/ science fiction classics from which The Projected Man draws its themes and plot devices. The most obvious is The Fly, which provides the story of the experiment in matter transmission that goes horribly wrong, in this case because of a design fault, rather than the proverbial fly in the ointment. But the film also echoes The Quatermass Xperiment, with its scenes of the man-monster stumbling around the dark streets of London. There's even a repeat of the scene where the creature breaks into a chemist's shop, although in this case, there doesn't seem to be any reason for the break in. A similar air of pointlessness hangs over the gratuitous semi-nudity of the monster's female hostage, making the film seem like a forerunner of Carry On Screaming - but without the jokes.

At times, The Projected Man seems like a forerunner of David Cronenberg's 1986 remake of The Fly, with the central mad scientist's deteriorating mental and physical condition becoming intertwined with the love triangle between himself and his two assistants. There is unfinished business between him and his old flame, but she considers their relationship to be over and so embarks upon a liaison with the dashing Ronald Allen. Suppressed sexual jealousy and frustration at the scepticism of his backstabbing financial backers drives him to become the titular projected man, electrocuting people with his fingers. However the direction, while not entirely pedestrian, lacks Cronenberg's visionary qualities, so making a case for The Projected Man as an antecedent would appear tenuous at best. This is a neglected example of British fantasy cinema, perhaps not entirely unjustly so.

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