Written by: Carroll Jenkins on August 9th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: UK, 1967
Director: Freddie Francis
Writer: Robert Bloch, Anthony Marriott
Cast: Suzanna Leigh, Frank Finlay, Guy Doleman, Catherine Finn, John Harvey, Michael Ripper, Anthony Bailey, Tim Barrett
DVD released: July 1st, 2008
Approximate running time: 84 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Legend Films/Paramount Pictures
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.95
Synopsis: A pop singer has a breakdown while taping a television show and is sent to an isolated tourist boarding house to recuperate. Someone on the island has bred a new species of killer bee. Murder(s) ensue.
The high point in the film is the 30 second clip of the Birds lip-synching the punkish “It’s Not What I Need You For”, an unreleased [until recently] 1966 recording by Ron Wood’s first band. They were contemporaries of the Troggs, Yardbirds, early Who, Kinks and Rolling Stones. Other lesser [known] groups in a similar vein were the Pretty Things, Small Faces, Creation, and the Sorrows. Ron later made a name with the Jeff Beck Group and the Faces (with Rod Stewart), before being absorbed into the Rolling Stones.
Their scene occurs in the television station prior to the nervous breakdown of the Petulia Clark type played by Suzanna Leigh. Once Suzanna arrives at the island there is one worthwhile scene when she is attacked by the killer bees in the bathroom while in her bra (nice cleavage). She sprinkles flammable perfume on a towel and ignites it, but would actually have blown herself up in the attempt. She nearly kills herself anyway from smoke inhalation.
This is an extremely ordinary and mundane mystery with only two actual suspects. After all, we only meet five residents on the entire island. The murder weapon could have been any dingus but here it is killer bees. The special effects are cheap and cheesy, the pacing is slow, and the continuity is shoddy. The most fun to be had is to find faults with the script, but that’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
Looks pretty good, anamorphic widescreen. You can see the obviously painted backdrops very clearly. Close captions are included, but no trailer.
This film commits the two cardinal sins of filmmaking: it’s tedious and they kill the dog.