Deadly Sting – Rediscovering ‘Invasion of the Bee Girls’ (US 1973 – 85 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - October 06, 2015
Deadly Sting – Rediscovering ‘Invasion of the Bee Girls’ (US 1973 – 85 mins)

A highly watchable low-budget feature from the early Seventies, ‘Invasion of the Bee Girls’ has a plot that sounds like something out of a porn parody. But while it has an abundance of sleaze and T&A, it’s a mostly fun exploiter peppered with wry humour and B-movie glamour.

A Californian research clinic is the site for a string of mysterious deaths involving male scientists who have had heart attacks while making love. Government agent Neil Agar (William Smith) is sent to investigate and finally concludes that a female doctor; Susan Harris (Anitra Ford) has been exposed to atomic radiation, resulting in her developing the genetic traits of a Queen bee. She must now use as many men as she can to help her fertilize, which is why (like male bees) they are dying after being ‘stung’ during intercourse. But also, she has produced a whole raft of other bee girls and has even set her sights on Agar’s scientist partner Julie Zorn (Victoria Vetri) to become one of them.

Also known as ‘Graveyard Tramps’, ‘Bee Girls’ is entertaining trash featuring a solid cast of genre regulars. Square-jawed tough-guy William Smith had a rare good-guy role here as the investigator who takes forever to solve the mystery! In her last movie to date, former Playmate of the Year Victoria Vetri had one of her better roles as Agar’s aide, who finds herself unwillingly joining the colony of bee girls. Sultry brunette Anitra Ford certainly had screen presence here as the Queen bee, and would appear in another cult favourite that year; ‘Messiah of Evil’, a nicely atmospheric tale of the occult. Billy Wilder regular Cliff Osmond played a harassed sheriff, while buxom adult stars Rene Bond and Colleen Brennan can be glimpsed as a couple of the bee girls.

Director Denis Sanders was a noted documentary maker and had previously made the early Robert Redford drama ‘War Hunt’ (’62), and the cult asylum flick ‘Shock Treatment’ (’64). This was talented genre writer Nicholas Meyer’s first picture, although he was unhappy with the amount of alterations that were made to his original script, and wanted his name removed from the final version. Meyer would later score a hit when he directed the excellent ‘H.G Wells versus Jack The Ripper’ tale ‘Time After Time’ (’79), and he also scripted my favourite Trekkie movie, ‘Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home’ (’86).

The film has plenty of sex and nudity as well as a lengthy memorable scene which has a naked Victoria Vetri sensually cocooned by a swarm of bees. The special effects were pretty good, especially how they managed to show the bee’s compound eye vision. The foreboding ending is somewhat laughable (even borrowing the famous overture from Kubrick’s ‘2001’!), but it fits the tone of the movie perfectly.

It may be no classic, but as a product of the Seventies Drive-in era, ‘Invasion of the Bee Girls’ is a decent Sci-fi B-movie, and a tongue-in-cheek sexploitation piece. If you suspend belief for 90 minutes you have yourself a silly but enjoyable late-night treat with innuendo to spare.

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