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  Invasion of the Bee Girls The Bee All And End All
Year: 1973
Director: Denis Sanders
Stars: William Smith, Anitra Ford, Victoria Vetri, Cliff Osmond, Wright King, Ben Hammer, Anita Aries, Andre Philippe, Sid Kaiser, Katie Saylor, Beverly Powers, Tom Pittman, William Keller, Cliff Emmich, Al Bordighi, Jack Perkins, Susan Player, Rene Bond
Genre: Horror, Sex, Trash, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: A research scientist at a nearby institute has been found dead in a motel room, and the cause of his demise seems to have been overexertion. What makes this unusual is that the strain has been caused by sexual intercourse, so the police are keen to track whoever the woman with him might have been. Soon government agent Neil Agar (William Smith) has arrived from Washington to investigate; the local cops, led by Captain Peters (Cliff Osmond), wonder if they need any extra help until another body turns up with the same reason for his death...

Apparently intended as a camp, more seventies version of those old fifties sci-fi B-movies, Invasion of the Bee Girls was one of a few such updates of those old cult movies that arrived during the decade, although like most of them you would be hard pressed to spot anything actually less than sincere in it. The main gimmick is to introduce the sexual angle, so there are quite a few actresses taking their clothes off here, and there doesn't appear to be anything ironic about that. In fact, it's that old horror standby, the male fear of female sexuality that is most apparent in this, and to underline that the villains have lesbian tendencies too.

We are way ahead of Agent Agar (named after B-movie star John Agar, one presumes) in that we are well aware that these men are being killed off by a deadly variant of the human female who just happens to have taken on the characteristics of bees. This set up would be fine, but it takes Agar until literally the last five minutes to work out what on Earth is going on, which could be excused by the solution not being exactly conventional, but for a detective story, which this sort of is, you would hope the investigator would have been better at his job as by the stage he deduces the culprit, about twenty men have died.

The reason the men have to die is incidental, as head Bee Girl Doctor Susan Harris (Anitra Ford), who works at the institute and sports suspiciously large dark glasses, really wants to swell her numbers of followers. The manner in which she does this leads to the most bizarre sequence in the film: one of those housewives who she tends to abduct is stripped naked, placed in some kind of cage with coloured lights shining on her, then is slathered with white goo whereupon a swarm of bees are released and cover her entirely. This creates a cocoon which she emerges from with those tell-tale all-black eyes and she's ready to go.

This is the highlight as far as weirdness goes, as the rest is mainly taken up with the cast being interviewed by Agar, or hapless men being seduced and left for dead. The notion that sex could kill you might look to be an endorsement of celibacy, yet even after an official warning to the town's menfolk they don't take heed, which could be a gag about men thinking with their trousers, but actually looks more like an oblivious wish on the part of the filmmakers to put more nude women in the movie. The entertainment value therefore rests on its somewhat repetitive plotting that is more indicative of the time it was made than any tribute to classic science fiction, but if you're looking for nostalgia of a seventies variety then Invasion of the Bee Girls does offer some amusingly horrified views of the battle of the sexes if nothing else. It also ends on a note that tells us bees are the next stage in evolution, bemusingly enough. Music by Charles Bernstein.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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