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Wasp Woman, The (1995)

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Score: 3/10

Genre: Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 27 min.

Release Date: February 19th, 1995 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Jim Wynorski Actors: Jennifer Rubin, Melissa Brasselle, Maria Ford, Kimberly Roberts, Doug Wert, Daniel J. Travanti

A

bouncy blonde, wearing “Baywatch” appropriate jogging tights, runs into an area of the woods infested with angry bees. Her sultry appearance and skimpy outfit can be credited to director Jim Wynorski, a man responsible for countless softcore productions with incredibly low budgets (including “Scream Queen Hot Tub Party,” “The Bare Wench Project,” and “Busty Cops”). The next scene features a statuesque yet bimbo-like secretary (Melissa Brasselle, from such films as “Sorceress” “Cheerleader Massacre,” and “Raptor”) barely able to deliver her single line of dialogue. Later, dream sequences feature sex and nudity, locations are inundated with women with intrusive cleavage, and pitiful editing entails flashbacks (and voiceovers) to scenes shown a few minutes prior. A somber, haunting jazz tune also supplements the imagery, which alternates between excuses for exploitation elements (the most extreme of which involves oral sex from a giant wasp-headed, mandible-equipped monstrosity) and failed attempts at serious horror.

Janice Starlin (Jennifer Rubin), a model and executive at her Starlin Skincare Company, is plagued by the idea that her male-dominated advisors insist she’s too old to continue being the face of the makeup line. Her boyfriend and photographer Alec (Doug Wert) isn’t concerned with her fading beauty, but he’s directly involved with photographing up-and-coming, youthful, potential replacement supermodel Caitlin (Maria Ford). In desperate need of a younger look, Janice meets with the controversial Dr. Zinthrop (Daniel J. Travanti), a scientist conducting experimentations with cancer and entomology. She wishes to use wasp hormones to revive her skintone products, along with her own physical appearance (by paralyzing the aging process and essentially freezing facial tissue before it degenerates further), though he warns of the potentially strong psychological effects of his new serum.

Despite having no documentation or research history with the hormone in human trials, Janice proceeds with an injection. Associate Arthur (Gerritt Graham) becomes concerned with her infatuation with the studies, though he’s unaware that the doctor’s initial testing on his cat Sampson results in its complete transformation into an enormous wasp. The intended regenerative qualities prove to be eerily holometabolic instead. Ralph (Johnny Williams), the Zinthrop laboratory deliveryman, is immediately slaughtered by the cat/wasp hybrid, with the good doctor next on the monster’s list of prey. Janice, becoming similarly predatory, hunts down a co-worker who previously insulted her attractiveness, sleeps with him, then instantly morphs into a humongous winged insect to capture and cocoon him.

Although a remake of Roger Corman’s own 1959 film of the same name, this New Horizons-produced update more closely resembles a lower budget version of “Species” (from the same year). The main problem in this outing is the visuals. Poor wasp-swarming animation, repetitive and unconvincing sound effects, incredibly pitiful computer graphics for unobscured transformations, and a tremendous, rubbery wasp costume are but a few of the amateurish approaches to what could have been a moderately entertaining monster movie. A hilariously cheesy, oversized wasp toy is also employed, along with an over-the-top, explosive car stunt sequence, which was likely stolen from a different movie altogether. Furthermore, the dialogue is atrocious and the acting matches. The final insult is a climax that includes Janice’s life passing before her eyes (another flashback, with about a dozen brief clips from earlier in the film) and a downright dull showdown in full Vespidae garb.

– Mike Massie

 



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