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 DIRECTED BY
Denis Sanders SCREENPLAY
Nicholas Meyer, Sylvia Schneble MPAA RATING
R RUNNING TIME
86 Mins. DISTRIBUTED BY
Cheezy Flicks BUY THIS FILM
"Invasion of the Bee Girls" Gets Cheezy Flicks Release
While I don't delve into the world of B-movies nearly as often as I used to, the truth is my longstanding relationship with the fine folks at Cheezy Flicks is one I really care about and it allows me to indulge in my love for the best and worst of B-movies ranging from 70's and 80's schlock to Troma to everything in between.
Stuck somewhere in between is Invasion of the Bee Girls, a 1973 release starring William Smith as a government agent sent out to the small town of Peckham, California following the deaths of multiple men, including a scientist from the nearby Brandt Research Laboratory, due to what is termed as "extreme exertion during sexual intercourse." The agent quickly suspects that the deaths may be related to research by Brandt's own Dr. Susan Harris (Anitra Ford), who happens to be doing some groundbreaking research on bees.
Invasion of the Bee Girls is practically the definition of a B-movie, a joyously low-budget sci-fi romp with ample amounts of not so graphic murder, ample amounts of brief yet playful nudity and sex, and a feminist angle that likely comes courtesy of credited co-writer Sylvia Schneble. Nicholas Meyer, an Academy Award nominee for The Seven-Per-Cent Solution script, gets a writing credit here, as well. That has to be encouraging to any up-and-coming writing - ya gotta' start somewhere and even acclaimed writers have penned their share of headscratchers.
Invasion of the Bee Girls is a headscratcher, though a strangely entertaining one that entertains in pretty much all of the ways that you want a campy, silly film to entertain. B-movie fans will recognize William Smith as a frequent B-movie presence, often as the opposing gang leader in such films as C.C. Rider and Hells Angels on Wheels, though it's worth nothing that Smith's 72-year career includes over 269 acting credits in both television and film in a wide variety of genres with a most recent credit in 2014.
While there's some fun low-budget sci-fi concepts to work with here, a film like Invasion of the Bee Girls is not one you look to if you're wanting your sci-fi backed by hardcore facts. There's silliness in abundance here, yet Meyer's script also packs the murder sequences with some impact and the characters, especially the leading ones, actually matter here and are brought nicely to life by the film's ensemble cast.
Director Denis Sanders, a two-time Academy Award winner for 1955's A Time Out of War (Best Short Subject, Two-Reel) and 1970's Czechoslovakia 1968 (Best Doc Short), keeps the film flowing at a decent pace, gives it a fun and effective sense of style, clearly enjoys toying with the sci-fi elements, and gets solid performances from both Smith and Anitra Ford as Dr. Harris. While you're not going to confuse Invasion of the Bee Girls for a masterpiece, would you really be looking at Cheezy Flicks for a cinematic masterpiece anyway?
Admit it. You want some good ole' fashioned cheesy fun. Invasion of the Bee Girls delivers.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic
The 50/50 x 2020 Pledge
The Independent Critic is proud to support Indy-based Heartland Film by committing to the 50/50 x 2020 Pledge - By the end of the year 2020, The Independent Critic will achieve gender parity in its reviews of both shorts and feature films. Furthermore, The Independent Critic also pledges support for the Ruderman Family Foundation's call for authentic representation of people with disabilities in film and actively commits to leverage its journalistic influence to effect genuine change in the film industry by calling for and actively promoting authentic and inclusive casting and hiring of people with disabilities.