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The Wasp Woman (1959)

Not Rated | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 30 October 1959 (USA)
A scientist develops a youth formula for a cosmetics queen from jelly taken from queen wasps, failing to anticipate the typical horrible side effects.

Directors:

Roger Corman, Jack Hill (uncredited)

Writers:

Leo Gordon (screenplay), Kinta Zertuche (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Susan Cabot ... Janice Starlin
Anthony Eisley ... Bill Lane (as Fred Eisley)
Barboura Morris Barboura Morris ... Mary Dennison
William Roerick William Roerick ... Arthur Cooper
Michael Mark Michael Mark ... Eric Zinthrop
Frank Gerstle ... Les Hellman
Bruno VeSota ... Night Watchman (as Bruno Ve Sota)
Roy Gordon Roy Gordon ... Paul Thompson
Carolyn Hughes Carolyn Hughes ... Jean Carson
Lynn Cartwright ... Maureen Reardon
Frank Wolff ... First Delivery Man
Lani Mars Lani Mars ... Nurse
Philip Barry Philip Barry ... Second Delivery Man (as Phillip Barry)
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Storyline

Janice Starlin, the owner of a cosmetics firm, sees that her fading beauty is not only causing waves in her personal life but causing some prestige problems for her also-fading business. She becomes an easy mark for a pseudo-scientist, Eric Zinthrop, who claims to have developed a serum from the enzymes of wasps that will turn aging skin to youthful-looking skin. The second-best thing to a time machine. She, without any hesitation, agrees to be the first human to try the Zinthro injections. But, as her beauty returns, her secretary, Mary Dennison, and her advertising executive, Bill Lane, notices she is also having a personality change and it isn't for the better, albeit she was no Miss Congegeniality to begin with. Then, Zinthrop gets hit by an automobile, for plot-development purposes, and is somewhat incapacitated and not in any shape to be whipping up any new batches of Zinthrop's Wasp Enzyme Injection Serum and, without her enzyme injections, Janice turns into a wasp-like woman ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Strong men forced to satisfy a passion no human knows. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 October 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Wasp Woman See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Leo Gordon, credited with the screenplay, was married to actress Lynn Cartwright, who plays the receptionist in the movie. See more »

Goofs

Mr. Cooper sneaks into the lab and doesn't lock the door behind him. Janice then comes to the lab and has to unlock the door that he left unlocked. See more »

Quotes

Arthur Cooper: I'd stay away from wasps if i were you, Mrs. Starlin. Socially the queen wasp is on the level with a Black Widow spider. They're both carnivorous, they paralyze their victims and then take their time devouring them alive. And they kill their mates in the same way, too. Strictly a one-sided romance.
See more »

Alternate Versions

When the film was sold to television in 1962 it featured additional footage featuring Michael Mark that was not in the original theatrical release. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Schlocky Horror Picture Show: The Wasp Woman (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

 
This lady will do more than spoil picnics.
23 May 2017 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

One of producer & director Roger Cormans' most beloved schlock pictures is great fun, and is seen as a minor camp classic. Corman regular Susan Cabot ("Sorority Girl") stars as Janice Starlin, a 40 year old cosmetics magnate who fears getting old. One day, she makes the acquaintance of mad scientist Eric Zinthrop (Michael Mark of the 1931 "Frankenstein"). He's developed a serum, derived from wasp enzymes, that can restore youth to living things. She insists that she be the first human guinea pig, with devastating results: she sometimes turns into a humanoid monster with a wasp head and hands, and which is compelled to kill.

This is actually rather well acted for such a silly B flick, with a cast also including Anthony Eisley ('Hawaiian Eye'), the beautiful Barboura Morris ("A Bucket of Blood"), William Roerick ("Not of This Earth"), Frank Gerstle ("The Atomic Brain"), Roy Gordon ("Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman"), Bruno VeSota ("Attack of the Giant Leeches"), and Frank Wolff ("Beast from Haunted Cave"). Cabot is appealing in the lead and Morris is just luminous as an employee who does some sleuthing into Zinthrops' background.

Corman is wise enough to dole out good "wasp woman" action in little bits and pieces. The effects are utterly tacky (Cabots' head may be covered, but her neck is clearly visible), but in this sort of ultra cheap genre entry, we wouldn't have it any other way. Fortunately, the story (scripted by actor Leo Gordon, another frequent Corman collaborator) surrounding the set pieces is entertaining enough that we don't mind the wait. In the meantime, there's a lively jazz score by Fred Katz to keep us amused.

When the movie was sold to television, Corman had one of his many proteges, Jack Hill ("Coffy"), shoot about nine minutes of new footage.

Be sure to watch for Cormans' unbilled cameo as a hospital doctor.

Seven out of 10.


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