Friday, October 21, 2011

“This is the stupidest damn thing I’ve heard of yet! Eight guys are dead from balling and you don’t even know what’s caused it!”

How does one follow up the Nightmare On Elm Street series? Well, if you’re like me, you jump to a completely random and irrelevant time period. Like the 70s. I am now convinced the 1970s were a time of tremendous amounts of drugs and insanity, because that’s the only explanation for some of the crazy stuff I’ve seen come from that decade. Today’s case in point is 1973’s Invasion Of The Bee Girls, which is essentially softcore science fiction.

And there goes my integrity.

Oh boy, let’s try and figure this out. In a town in California, a noted scientist working for the State Department dies under mysterious circumstances, the government sends agent Neil Agar (William Smith, who played Conan’s ill-fated dad in the ‘82 Conan the Barbarian, not the Fresh Prince) to investigate.

Big surprise, there’s Mad SCIENCE afoot, this time in the shapely guise of Dr. Susan Harris (played by former Price is Right model Anitra Ford). She’s an entomologist (studies bugs, not word origins) who through some process (which involves nudity, bees and goo) has been able to splice insect genetic...whatever with human females. The process doesn’t change them physically except for turning their eyes black and supposedly compound (except when they’re not), leading to the transformed women to wear sunglassses at almost all times.

These “bee girls” are driven by an insatiable desire to mate with doughy, middle-aged, unattractive scientists (and random other men) and they start dying of an “epidemic” of fatal heart attacks brought about through “sexual exhaustion.”

So Agar has to find a way to stop this murderous bout of nymphomania before the whole town is destroyed. Or something. Anyway, he also teams up with the laboratory’s head librarian Julie Zorn (Victoria Vetri, who as “Angela Dorian” was Playmate of the Year in 1968).

Yeah. Not a lick of it makes sense, but, hey, boobs!

It was directed by Denis Sanders, and it seems like the movie’s budget was spent on boobs. It sure as hell wasn’t spent on lighting or audio equipment (though both might be the fault of the bad print I watched). There is one laboratory set that is interesting, and there’s this gloop that gets poured over the initiates into the Bee Girls. Which I’m pretty sure is an actual fetish with its own proper name but I really don’t want to open that Pandora’s Box.

There’s a script? Difficult to believe, but yes, there is. Its written by Nicholas Meyer, who wrote the screenplays for Star Treks II, IV, and VI (aka, “the Good Ones” of the original crew, so hey, he got a lot better). This movie’s got a lot of bad puns, leaps of logic and excuses to get actresses naked. That’s really all the substance here. The rest of the plot is just window dressing. Tension? Nope. Sympathy for the characters killed? Maybe one of them, but otherwise, Nope.

Audio’s not good, at least not on the version I saw. Original music by Charles Bernstein, who’s actually got quite a body of work to his name, including A Nightmare on Elm Street. Huh. This is one of his early scores and the “main theme” is infectiously catchy in its cheesiness. There’s even a lot of the ol’ “wacka-chicka-wacka” sound so crucial to 70s movies.

Well. It has boobs. Lots and lots of boobs. That’s about the only thing the movie does well. That and the poster. It’s a groovy poster. The rest of Invasion of the Bee Girls is just plain old bad sci-fi mixed with softcore porn, which kind of has an entertainment value all of its own. Its not good by ANY means. But a bizarre, cheesy slice of 70s drive-in cinema.

Be warned: the trailer sort of, kind of, almost skirts the line of NSFW.

No comments: