Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973)
Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973)

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 26 min.

Release Date: June 20th, 1973 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Denis Sanders Actors: William Smith, Anitra Ford, Victoria Vetri, Cliff Osmond, Anna Aries, Katie Saylor, Beverly Powers, Wright King

 


 

C

ounty Sheriff Captain Jim Peters (Cliff Osmond) is called in to investigate the mysterious demise of a top-secret bacteriologist (involving warfare components) at a roadside motel in Peckham, California. A coroner soon rules the cause of death as a massive coronary due to extreme exhaustion – from having sex. It’s not the most uncommon of reasons, but the Pentagon’s State Department Security Agent Neil Agar (William Smith) flies into town to dig a little deeper, considering the valuable nature of the information the bacteriology professor possessed. “They just found another body.”

Neil’s case leads him to Brandt Research, where assistant Julie Zorn (Victoria Vetri) offers up a wealth of information about the facility, including the wife-swapping, sexually over-charged nature of the scientists there, particularly when it comes to those who specialize in reproductive biology. It certainly seems plausible, with the abundance of conspicuously attractive employees – including statuesque Dr. Susan Harris (Anitra Ford). As additional casualties start piling up (eight in the span of three days), it’s soon evident that all the sex and deaths are somehow related – and that the authorities might have an epidemic of sexual exhaustion (corresponding to some venereal disease) on their hands. Or maybe it’s just mass hysteria. “They’re dropping like flies!”

Charles Bernstein’s hilariously groovy score, full of quirky sounds (like bells, chimes, and other percussion, along with twanging, bassy instruments) and contemporary hipness, fails to match the subject matter, which involves plenty of pasty corpses, fistfights, somewhat bloody slayings, and even sexual assault. But it does indeed match the other major component, which is gratuitous nudity, literal rolling around in the grass, and other carnal acts (including lots of caressing). Clearly, this film is something of an excuse to denude shapely figures – a standard exploitation arrangement.

Despite being a murder/mystery, ostensibly, it’s actually a sex thriller – cheesy and unconvincing as it is. When the two lead female scientists are both conspicuously attractive, with porn star bodies (Vetri was a Playmate of the Month), it’s obvious that the growing number of mangled remains are inconsequential next to the focus on seductresses. Unfortunately, the plot is so flimsy and the progression of events so predictable (the title gives away the culprits long before onscreen revelations do) that little of the picture is actually entertaining. At least a sequence in which Agar watches footage of a black widow spider and a praying mantis kill and consume their mates after mating, juxtaposed with a bee girl doing the same thing to her own human victim, is mildly amusing.

“We’re in the middle of a very important experiment.” The dialogue is correspondingly pitiful, while the acting – especially when it comes to supporting roles – is noticeably mediocre. This production is technically science-fiction/horror, but the sci-fi elements are silly and the horror rather placid. Even the scenes with real bees are bland, especially when compared to the likes of sincerer killer insect endeavors. By the end, the relatively short runtime and the movie’s propensity for bared breasts aren’t enough to save it from its poor pacing and weak scripting; there’s so little genuine excitement that it’s a downright bore.

– Mike Massie

  • 2/10