Written by: Carroll Jenkins on July 25th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: USA, June 1st, 1973
Director: Denis Sanders
Writers: Nicholas Meyer, Sylvia Schneble
Cast: William Smith, Anitra Ford, Victoria Vetri, Cliff Osmond, Wright King, Ben Hammer, Anna Aries, Andre Philippe, Sid Kaiser, Katie Saylor, Beverly Powers, Tom Pittman, William Keller, Cliff Emmich, Jack Perkins
DVD released: June 15th, 2005
Approximate running time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
DVD Release: MGM/UA
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98
Synopsis: A government agent is sent to investigate the death of personnel at a top secret research institute. Seems it was the result of coronary thrombosis due to extreme exertion during sexual intercourse. Tensions in town rise as the deaths continue resulting in an appeal for emergency sexual abstinence. A military cordon is placed around the town to contain the situation, but still the death count (and number of illicit trysts) continues to mount.
This is a low budget sci-fi mystery thriller where the murder weapon is sex and frequent but brief nudity is integral to the plot. Co-written by Nicholas Meyer (Time After Time) the script is mostly witty and tongue-in-cheek. There is a significant feminist slant (probably the input of the female co-writer), and all males are pretty much sex obsessed beasts. But Meyer’s influence is substantial, and the script boasts a relatively substantial murder mystery framework also evident in his later work.
The female leads are Anitra Ford and Victoria Vetri (aka Angela Dorian), each of which appeared in only a handful of feature films. Anitra’s performance is outstanding as the mad scientist who creates the mutant bee girls. Victoria seems wooden at first but gradually warms up and becomes quite appealing. Exploitation veteran William Smith (and former “Marlboro Man”) is dependable as always as the government agent.
The direction is mostly adequate and the photography varies from vivid and colorful to dark and grainy (probably due to inadequate lighting of location interiors). The editing really saves the day and there is never a dull moment – pointless perhaps, but not dull. There are numerous brief vignettes; many feature nudity, some are humorous, and most are surreal. They help maintain both interest and suspension of belief. The rape scene seems gratuitous but does increase dramatic tension and underscores the ‘men are beasts’ theme.
The good news: finally presented anamorphic in the correct aspect ration of 1:85, has close captions and English, Spanish and French subtitles and looks better than prior editions. The bad news is substantial cuts in the scenes where the Beverly Hills/Powers character seduces her harried husband.
EXTRAS: The trailer is a supurb piece of advertising which features most of the nudity, violence, and cadavers present in the film plus most of the choice lines of dialog. It also contains major spoilers.
WARNING: do not under any circumstances attempt to watch the abysmal companion feature, Invasion of the Star Creatures upon pain of pointlessness.
The recipe for Invasion of the Bee Girls: Take elements from the 50’s monster wave and translate them to the 70’s sexploitation / roughie / grindhouse circuit. Sprinkle in social satire based on gender, sexuality, fidelity, and marriage. The result is a basic dish that’s ultimately satisfying and certain to have you coming back for second helpings.