A group of lonely Viking women build a ship and set off across the sea to locate their missing menfolk, only to fall into the clutches of the barbarians that also hold their men captive. ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
The Wasp Woman is directed by Jack Hill and Roger Corman and written by Leo Gordon and Kinta Zertuche. A Roger Corman production, it stars Susan Cabot, Anthony Eisley, Michael Mark and Barboura Morris. Music is by Fred Katz and photography by Harry Neumann.
Janice Starlin (Cabot) is the owner of a large cosmetics company, once a successful operation, the company is starting to lose customers who can see that Starlin is beginning to show her aged years. But hope may be at hand form scientist Eric Zinthrop (Mark), who has been experimenting with the royal jelly from a queen wasp, creating a serum that reverses the aging process. She strikes a deal with Zinthrop to fund his research as long as she can be his first human subject...
Schlockmeister Corman obviously took notice of the success of Kurt Neumann's The Fly from the previous year, for here he tries to bring us the female variant on the sci-fi mix up movie for half the budget. It marks the last time that Susan Cabot would appear in film, this also being the last of six films she made with Corman. For a low budget schlocker it's not half bad, the berserker insect/human science is good fun and there's potent thematics within involving the search for eternal youth, drug addiction and the cautionary warning about man pushing science too far. Even the effects, whilst cheap and rightly kept in the shadows for the most part, have an antiquated charm about them. If only the film wasn't so static, so ordinary, for two thirds of its relatively short running time, then this would be talked about as one of Corman's better offerings, especially since the cast are actually fine, particularly the pretty and stoic Cabot.
Most of the film is played out from the offices of a high-rise office complex, this is unusual but gives the film a little uniqueness, with Neumann and his directors managing to set the ambiance at uneasy. But it's mostly talky stuff, meaning mood is built up to the point that when the picture does shift into creature feature gear-budget restrictions mean expectations can't possibly be met; even if what little horror is in the picture is actually pretty spicy: though the makers do miss a trick because it's explained to us early in the piece that the Queen Wasp eats her mate! But Janice has no love interest here, shame that! Fred Katz's music is deliciously mad, at times sounding like Wacky Races on LSD, at others some gentle jazz beat fusion, it's in the right movie, just not used at the right times! The accompanying buzzing sound affect for a Wasp Woman attack, though, is most agreeable. Corman would use the score again for Little Shop of Horrors the following year.
Nobody, you would like to think, would be viewing The Wasp Woman expecting a sci-fi classic, but it's a frustrating watch in many ways, even to the fans of cheapo B movie schlockers. 5/10
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