As weird as it may seem, 1973’s Invasion of the Bee Girls was the first film venture of Nicholas Meyer (he wrote the script), the man who would go on to direct two successful Star Trek films, as well as movies like Time After Time and The Day After. The movie was directed by Denis Sanders and can be categorized as a science fiction flick or a horror flick, although I prefer to tag it as simply “weird.”
The story centers on scientists working at Brandt Research, a company with heavy ties to government agencies. Most of the male scientists are brilliant, but they also happen to be sex maniacs, humping whoever they can convince into their beds. Unfortunately, more and more of these scientists are being found dead. The possible cause of death? The men died of sexual exhaustion that led to congestive heart failure.
Anyway, that’s what security agent Neil Agar (William Smith, the “Marlboro Man”) must find out, as he goes to California to investigate the deaths. Working with the local sheriff (Cliff Osmand), Agar also gets to know the firm’s head librarian, one Julie Zorn (Victoria Vetri).
It turns out that a female scientist, an entomologist by the name of Susan Harris (Anitra Ford, best remembered as one of the original models on television’s “The Price is Right”), is the queen of a group of women who are “bee girls,” as they have mutated into bee-like creatures (most noticeable in their eyes, which are compound) and have supposedly adapted bee-like habits, such as killing their mates (not accurate, as drones commit “suicide” when mating with a queen only).
Agar eventually tracks down Harris, after some twists and turns (including a homosexual subplot). Their first encounter proves futile, although Agar knows more than he lets on. In the meantime, Harris converts another woman into a bee girl (the process involves white, marshmallow-like goo and gamma radiation), which must be seen to be believed.
Agar tries in vain to convince the department heads of the company of the situation, but he is scorned by several key scientists. When Julie herself is selected as the queen’s next conversion victim, it falls on Agar to stop the menace once and for all.
Although not a stellar film, Invasion of the Bee Girls is a guilty pleasure, securing points for its lovely collection of buxom bee girls, some solid performances, a fun and well-written script, a hilarious soundtrack, and deft direction by Denis Sanders (a two-time Oscar winner—this was his last directorial stint). There are Russ Meyer qualities to this flick that make it fun to watch, although not all fans of the weird will enjoy the ride. Hardcore fans of science fiction and horror will also find little that will appeal here, as the “science” is much too wonky and the sets and effects much too cheap. If you catch the “buzz,” however, you may want to add Invasion of the Bee Girls to your collection.