The Wasp Woman
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|The Wasp Woman|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Roger Corman
|Produced by||Roger Corman|
|Screenplay by||Leo Gordon|
|Story by||Kinta Zertuche|
|Music by||Fred Katz|
|Edited by||Carlo Lodato|
The Wasp Woman (aka The Bee Girl and Insect Woman) is a 1959 American science fiction film produced and directed by Roger Corman (who also has a cameo role in the film, playing a doctor). It was originally released as a double feature with Beast from Haunted Cave. To pad out the running time when the film was released to television two years later, a new prologue was added to the film by director Jack Hill.
In Hill's prologue, a scientist, Dr. Eric Zinthrop (Michael Mark), is fired from his job at a honey farm for experimenting with wasps.
The founder and owner of a large cosmetics company, Janice Starlin (Susan Cabot), is disturbed when her firm's sales begin to drop after it becomes apparent to her customer base that she is aging. Zinthrop has been able to extract enzymes from the royal jelly of the queen wasp that can reverse the aging process. Janice agrees to fund further research, at great cost, provided she can serve as his human subject. Displeased with the slowness of the results, she breaks into the scientist's laboratory after hours and injects herself with extra doses of the formula. Zinthrop becomes aware that some of the test creatures are becoming violent and goes to warn Janice, but before he can reach anyone, he gets into a car accident. He is thus temporarily missing and Janice goes through great trouble to find him, eventually taking over his care.
Janice continues her clandestine use of the serum and sheds 20 years in a single weekend, but soon discovers that she is periodically transformed into a murderous, wasp-like creature. Eventually, Zinthrop throws a jar of carbolic acid at her face, and another character uses a chair to push her out of a window, killing her.
- Susan Cabot as Janice Starlin
- Fred Eisley as Bill Lane
- Barboura Morris as Mary Dennison
- William Roerick as Arthur Cooper
- Michael Mark as Dr. Eric Zinthrop
- Frank Gerstle as Les Hellman
- Bruno VeSota as Night Watchman
- Roy Gordon as Paul Thompson
- Carolyn Hughes as Jean Carson
- Lynn Cartwright as Maureen Reardon
- Frank Wolff as Delivery Man
- Lani Mars as Secretary
- Philip Barry as Delivery Man
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The Wasp Woman has the head and hands of a wasp but the body of a woman—exactly the opposite of the creature shown in the film's poster (which does not appear in the film).
The film was made for an estimate budget of $50,000.
According to Tim Dirks, the film was one of a wave of "cheap teen movies" released for the drive-in market. They consisted of "exploitative, cheap fare created especially for them [teens] in a newly-established teen/drive-in genre".
The film was re-released as part of the "100th Anniversary of Monster Movies" in March 2010.
The film's musical score, written by Fred Katz, was originally composed for A Bucket of Blood. According to Mark Thomas McGee, author of Roger Corman: The Best of the Cheap Acts, each time Katz was called upon to write music for Corman, he sold the same score as if it were new music. The score was used in a total of seven films, including The Little Shop of Horrors and Creature from the Haunted Sea.
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The Wasp Woman received mixed to negative reception from critics upon its release. The film currently holds a 45% "Rotten" rating on film review website Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 4.7 out of 10 based on 11 reviews. Film critic Leonard Maltin gave the film a mostly positive 2 1/2 out of 4 stars.
TV Guide gave the film a negative review, awarding it a score of 1 out of 4, and calling the film "laughable". Allmovie gave a negative review, criticizing the film's "ludicrous" monster costume, special effects and low budget.
On April 6, 2008, Cinematic Titanic did a live riff on the film to a theater audience. It was released on DVD on August 7, 2008. In the Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "Night of the Were-Mole", Muriel can be seen watching The Wasp Woman, which she describes as "her favorite show".
- December 24, 1959 issue of The Plain Speaker from Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Page 37
- Alan Frank, The Films of Alan Frank: Shooting My Way Out of Trouble, Bath Press, 1998 p 65
- Waddell, Calum (2009). Jack Hill: The Exploitation and Blaxploitation Master, Film by Film. McFarland & Company. p. 11. ISBN 978-0786436095.
- Hartl, John (June 20, 1996). "Not Yet Over The Hill -- Director of Campy 'Sisters' in Comeback". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on November 1, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
- Dirks,Tim. "Citing Website" The History of Film - The 1950s: The Cold War and Post-Classical Era, The Era of Epic Films, and the Threat of Television, Part 1. Accessed March 16, 2015,http://www.filmsite.org/50sintro.html
- Monster Movies Celebrate 100th Anniversary With Marathon Webcast
- Ray, Fred Olen (1991). The New Poverty Row: Independent Filmmakers As Distributors. McFarland & Company. p. 40. ISBN 0-89950-628-3.
- "The Wasp Woman (1959) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- Leonard Maltin; Spencer Green; Rob Edelman (January 2010). Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide. Plume. ISBN 978-0-452-29577-3.
- "The Wasp Woman Review". TV Guide. TV Guide.com. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
- "The Wasp Woman (1959) - Roger Corman | Review". Allmovie. AllMovie.com. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
- Joel Hodgson’s CINEMATIC TITANIC Sets Sail Live And One Of Our Spies Was There! - Ain't It Cool News: The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news
- "Night of the Were-Mole" Courage the Cowardly Dog Dir. John R. Dilworth, Stretch Films, 1999.
- "Cinema Insomnia". Cinema Insomnia. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
- "Wasp Woman DVD". Apprehensive Films. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
- Time Capsule: Reviews of Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films and TV by Judy Harris
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Wasp Woman.|
- The Wasp Woman at the Internet Movie Database
- The Wasp Woman at AllMovie
- The Wasp Woman at the TCM Movie Database
- The Wasp Woman at Rotten Tomatoes