Film: Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973) Review

Last night on a whim, goaded on by my partner, and with the inclusion of some adult beverages, I watched the infamous Bee Movie. Be it the booze, the riffing, or the possibly decent writing, and a great voice cast I can honestly say I very much enjoyed it. Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie is significantly better than it has any right to be. But this review isn’t about that memorable masterpiece, this strange movie with interspecies sexual tension so thick you could cut it with a knife got me thinking of an exploitation movie from the era that can make the worst concept entertaining the 1970s. It’s time to talk about the invasion.

Invasion of the Bee Girls, or as I call it ‘Hot Trouble,’ is a 1973 Sci-Fi Horror Sexploitation flick staring Anitra Ford, Victoria Venturi (of Rosemary’s Baby fame), and Will Smith (not that one). The story opens with an investigation with one of my favourite opening lines, a cop played by Cliff Osmond with the best bedside manner investigating a suspicious death by asking the grieving new widow, “did your husband have any previous history of Hot Trouble?” moments after the smiling corpse is dragged away. Yes, you read that right, a man died naked in a motel room, and all signs point to death by humping. It’s essentially the Amazonian episode of Futurama disguised as a police procedural.

If you’re still with me, we follow the best the government has to offer, special agent Neil Agar (played by the less famous Will Smith but who is just as slap-happy), sent to investigate this string of bizarre deaths. His first stop is to interview Julie Zorn a research assistant at the local college who had a relationship with one of the decedents and as she put it, they “balled, and balled, and balled until his heart gave out,” placing her under suspicion though leaving her a red herring to the overall plot. Agar follows to discover she’s just a normal girl, unmalicious and vulnerable, her innocence is quickly proved as the body count keeps building. With more dead, a town meeting is called that asks the citizens to agree to total sexual abstinence, and that goes over as well as you would expect.

While this failed meeting is happening the widow Mrs Hot Trouble receives a phone call from a mysterious woman offering her information on her husband’s murder. Thus, the Sci-Fi crux of the story commences. We find the local entomologist, Dr Susan Harris Played by Ford, in a process that can only be described as covering oneself with marshmallow fluff and letting a swarm of bees go to town on the sugar within a grass tube surrounded by a Tesla Coil, has successfully allowed her to put in her Sclera blackout contacts (as a person that cosplays, I can confirm that all of that is necessary to put in that type of contact). These contacts denote she has spiced herself with a bee, why? She just really likes bees; honestly, I couldn’t tell you any other reason. The problem with this experiment is that instinctually she, as a queen bee, now has an insatiable desire to reproduce. Hence the death by exhaustion of the town’s men. The experiment has also rendered her sterile from the radiation or some other pseudo-science jabberwocky so to get around this and to fulfil her new biological imperative of procreation, she is contacting the widows of Hot Trouble and performing the Fluffernutter metamorphosis on them, building an army of Bee Woman to take over the world.

The movie is stupid. It’s well acted, funny how serious the actors take the plot. The action is a bit lacklustre. The fact that they start like a police procedural is intriguing. The mystery for the first half is fun. The ending was by far my favourite, as Neil and Julie are triumphant at stopping the planned takeover they celebrate the only way one can, the ball, and the camera pans away outside. We focus on a flower. We zoom in to see a bee pollinating all while a blatant rip of the 2001 Space Odysseys Theme Richard Strauss’ Thus Spoke Zarathustra reigns in the credits. I did however learn something, Fords Dr Harris is asked how many times a queen bee mate and she responds with ‘once; it can last for hours or a day with dozens if not hundreds of partners but she only mate for one period in her life,’ and immediately I called bull-shit. I google that and son-of-a-bitch they knew what they were talking about. Queen bees mate only once.  With all that said, I say give it a shot. Maybe with a shot as well…

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