Without Roger Corman, it’s possible that the b-movie cinematic world would be the equivalent of a stationary bike, simply stuck in a rut, however those well aware of his contributions know of his vast gothic works, Pit and the Pendulum , the numerous hats he wore on any given project, and showed the blueprint of how to not lose a dime, often enough the game plan used by Lloyd Kaufman and Troma Films. By 1959 Corman had directed ten horror films, while producing 15 of them; of that four were produced in just one year, and all released in October, with two he directed as The Wasp Woman and A Bucket of Blood, hence it was an extremely busy year for him. Kinta Zertuche had the original story concept, but it was screenwriter Leo Gordon (Attack of the Giant Leeches ), which Corman also produced, filming the project in record time, merely a week and on less than $50,000. However when it came to the decision of the title that wasn’t so easy, among the names suggested were The Bee Girl, which was rejected over the species used in the actual film and then Insect Woman but it was considered too silly, but finally with the name picked, the flick to burrowing from The Fly . Gordon, used two new concepts that society started to embrace, first drug usage to improve one’s feelings and secondly focusing on women empowering themselves and leaving the safety of The Leave it to Beaver culture and world. The film was distributed by AIP Films on a double bill with Beast From the Haunted Cave , the first movie produced by Corman for his company Filmgroup. Since its release, the movie has fallen into the public domain and rereleased by many companies, including most recently Scream Factory in 2018.
Janice Starlin (Susan Cabot (War of the Satellites )), a Madison Avenue CEO leading a cosmetics company suffering from diminishing sales, and there’s only one primary reason, her beauty is the face of the company with beginning to gain weight and wrinkle, women starting abandoning her product line. There’s a subtle implied undertone that women aren’t as vicious or powerful enough to lead; further hinting that as women age they become inferior, thereby striving for youthful looks to stay relevant. This ideology of then sadly still exists today, and in the film Starlin appears too eager to accept all the blame from her board of directors, as they insist on her stepping down; however she’s the queen of the firm and has no intention of abandoning her throne. Meanwhile, Dr. Zinthrop (Michael Mark (Attack of the Puppet People ) who was recently let go from a researching position, is now shopping around a new serum for replenishing youthful looks, and Janice’s firm is his next stop. The dear doctor shows her the power of the mixture on guinea pigs transforming them older to younger in age, it’s unbelievable for Janice and makes a deal for him to continue his research in exchange for the first dose used on herself in the future. The bond these two is very believable the Zinthrop character translates to a more sympathetic person, rather than dismissed over ageism or ignored due to unorthodox research he’s admired by Starlin as a loyal worker and guardian of secrets for ever-lasting strength in her kingdom of beauty and vanity. However, the relationship grows strained as her company is on the verge of collapse longer waiting for the testing, she demands the wasp jelly serum, clearly one is closer to the unveiling of the so-called monster. She begins wearing more stylish dresses, form fitting, a frenzied attitude and commanding attention from everyone, especially by her staff, relishing with passion for a new-found power. There’s an interesting mentality playing out through Zinthrop’s strange experiment, which would become more mainstay in the 60s known as “live now, pay later” which transforms in the modern day youthful expressionism “YOLO” (you only live once), and Starlin definitely exhibits this the latter half of the film. As death begins to mount, Corman holds off showing the audience his monstrous creation, thankful for that contribution. Why? Well, she’s bizarre, she uses her oversized bug-head and vampire-like fangs to slice at her victims and suck blood from them, while it all seems strange and unusual so much fun to enjoy another Corman b-movie.
First, one must note that the monster on the movie poster doesn’t appear in this flick, far from its honestly tad comical upon further looks, it’s a cheap rendition of The Fly which was a superior version and creation. Corman, like many other directors, employed two of his regulars Barboura Morris (A Bucket of Blood ) who portrayed Mary Dennison, who’s Janice’s rival and subordinate in the office place and the night watchman was Bruno VeSota (Something Evil ) who worked many minor character roles for Roger. These two contributed to six films with Corman and became a trivial contest for fans to find them in his productions first. In addition, upon completion one notice it wasn’t long enough for a television broadcast so Jack Hill was hired to write and direct a new opening at a honey bee ranch, he then took the opportunity to film a detective sequence that was searching for the dear doctor. Some have poured over plot holes, but this movie truly doesn’t need all the nitpicking, we all are fully aware of the issues, but rather enjoy the b-movie shlock.
One can infer that Roger Corman delivered the female version to the wildly fantastic film The Fly , but also in doing so he shows a morality story that humans are concerned with themselves which is one of the seven deadly sins, namely herein vanity and greed, while the insect kingdom works together for the greater good of all, though the queen still ranks above all.
Horror Of The Winged Menace !
A beautiful woman by day – a lusting queen wasp by night.
Strong men forced to satisfy a passion no human knows.
IMDb Rating: 4.7/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/10
The Rejuvenator (1988)
The Wasp Woman (1995) (TV Movie)