Invasion of the Bee Girls

What’s your Bee-Q? Take our quiz!
Released: 
1973
Director: 
Denis Sanders
Starring: 
William Smith, Anitra Ford, Victoria Vetri, Cliff Osmond
The Setup: 
Nefarious Bee Girls are fucking men to death!
Discussion: 

There is a hidden menace in our society. And knowledge is [well, and guns are] the only means we have of preventing it. An enhanced level of Bee Girl awareness may mean the difference between life and death. Therefore, before we begin, please take our easy quiz of your Bee-Q. Simply answer this: How many Bee Girls can you identify in the photos on this page?

Calculate your score!
0-3 Bee Girls: You are a Bee Girl Buffoon and stand a real danger of being fucked to death by a Bee Girl. If you’re straight.
4-6 Bee Girls: You possess moderate to partial Bee Girl identification skills. You may live or die, it’s all up in the air.
7-8 Bee Girls: A Bee Girl Bravo! You can spot the odd Bee Girl in a crowd… but can you avoid being ensnared in her deadly snatch?

Do you remember long ago, in like the 70s or early 80s, when Siskel and Ebert had this daytime show where they would give various film appreciation stuff, like a survey of noir or whatever? I forget what it was called. But one thing I saw was just a very short glimpse of this movie, like literally four seconds, showing one of its women with the huge Jackie O. glasses and black eyes, and I HAVE NEVER FORGOTTEN IT. A year ago I tracked down a copy of this on VHS, but gave it to a lesbian friend of mine [for reasons that will become clear later]. But, seeing it is now on DVD [for real cheap, too], I thought “You know, maybe I should invest in that.”

The movie opens with a maid at a hotel finding a man’s corpse. It would seem that he had a massive heart attack sustained in the act of sex. Before you know it, there’s another one, and Sergeant Peters, the fat, mustachioed cop with the comb-over, is on the case. He is soon joined by William Smith [AKA The Biller] as a federal agent put on the case. The Biller was apparently legendary for biker movies and other trashy things, and came to my attention in the charming sensitive biker flick Run, Angel, Run. There he had a HOT stache for the first hour, and for the first hour here, whenever he was on screen, I would be compelled to yell: “Grow a mustache!” He didn’t.

The Biller goes to this mysterious California institute where they perform all sorts of sex rituals and experiments. There he meets this sensuous blonde, the one who was with the first victim when he died. She says that she and the dead guy “balled and balled and balled until he dropped dead,” to which Bill replies: “Can I take you to lunch?”

Yes, there is a lot of talk about how GREAT it would be for a man to be fucked to death. Many men in the movie express this sentiment, and how if they only KNEW which women were Bee Girls [WHY are they so hard to spot?], they would be first in line. It’s kind of like a male death drive. You see, this film is widely interpreted as being a statement [a really stupid statement, but nonetheless] against the rise of feminism and women taking control of their own lives and being anything but pleasure toys and beer-fetchers for men. And as such, it quite clearly reflects the zeitgeist of the period: Men's very potent fear that if feminism were ever to take root in society, women might quite possibly start fucking men to death! You have to love how the terrible plague that overtakes society here is in fact a male fantasy itself. Of course, the men don’t come out of it so well either, as it is assumed that NO man could ever just say “no thanks, Bee Girl.” They are all just mindless slaves to their winkies.

I am reading this book right now: The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis, by Barbara Creed, which is about the horrifying female figures of cinema, and how they reflect societal fears about women and their sexuality. I would love to have an added chapter on this film, because in this movie the men’s available object choices are either a) grumpy, dowdy women who don’t want sex, or b) hot, alluring women who want sex, but will kill you.

Anyway, next we see a couple getting all naked and ready to get it on when they find a corpse in the room! THAT’LL give someone some intimacy issues. Then there’s a town meeting where some expert tells the town that there could be some kind of venereal disease going around, and institutes a curfew and tells the town not to have sex. This causes this fellow in the audience to stand up and say there’s no way he’ll give up “the little pleasure I get out of screwing my old lady—or anyone else for that matter.” That’s this guy above in the yellow shirt, in the quiz pictures, by the way.

We then join a married couple getting ready for bed. You can tell immediately from the woman’s short, Carol Brady-type hair and pissed-off, dour demeanor that she is NOT a bee girl. She blows her nose QUITE extensively, then sticks her Kleenex-clad fingers right up her nostrils and performs some deep excavation! It really is rather shocking. Then the husband says something to the effect of “well, forced abstinence doesn’t effect our marriage,” and the wife replies “if I was positive it would kill you, I would do it.” Can this marriage be saved?

So back to the Biller. He and other men speculate that men have a secret sort of death drive that makes them WANT to die during sex. Then his female friend endures a fairly violent near gang-rape, then the Biller is investigating this house, and finds a Scooby-Doo-type secret passage in a bookcase, that leads to a hidden little pleasure den. Then this rather corn-fed looking fellow in the Glen Campbell mold comes out to attack him, but it’s soon revealed that this guy owns the pleasure den and is GAY! It was such a refreshing surprise, as gay guys when presented in the 70s are usually really frail and lisping little nellies. Anyway, this dude is some kind of Hollywood Hunk for Hire, and his main contribution is to say that some guy who died during sex couldn’t possibly get it up with a woman.

By now The Biller has begun to suspect that somehow insect sexual behavior must be tied up in all this. I’m sure you can easily see how, when presented with a number of men who die during sex, it wouldn’t be long before you’d surmise that insect sexual behavior had something to do with it. In the Biller’s case, he says he was put on the case because someone mentioned that the men were “dropping like flies.” So he and his blonde assistant watch a movie that is supposedly credible, and yet makes a statement that females killing males is common in the insect world, and uses black widow spiders as an example.

Anyway, the bee girls call the widow of the last guy they’ve killed [“Call From a Bee Girl,” what a fabulous title for a sequel or piece of fan fiction!], and demand to meet with her. Turns out they’re going to turn her into a bee girl, her transformation being one of the highlights of the movie. First they beam some lights on her, then they strip her naked and smear her with what we are supposed to believe is royal jelly, but actually looks like marshmallow fluff. They smear her entire nude body with it, paying special attention to her breasts, then put her in the bee chamber, where they release bees that cover her body completely. Once the bees have gone, the women peel off the now-hardened fluff, and the wife has become a full-fledged bee girl. This causes all of the women in the room to become really aroused and rub their breasts and moan. I think now you can see why I gave my original copy to my lesbian friend.

Next Sgt. Peters goes to visit this wife, simply not noticing that she is now wearing giant Jackie O. sunglasses. She doesn’t seem phased in the least by the news that her husband is dead, and comes on hard to Peters. Now, comb-over or no, I wanted to watch Peters getting it on, but was pleased to see that he is in fact the one man in the whole town with the sense to just say no to bee girls.

By now The Biller has convinced some scientists that there just may be something to this thing about human/bee genetic mutation, but unfortunately too late for one of them; the guy with the wife who gave her nostrils a thorough scraping earlier. Then the bee girls take the blonde love interest of The Biller, and he goes to save her.

SPOILERS! > > >
So she’s there in the lab about to be transformed, when The Biller comes in and it’s one of those things where a single gunshot causes the entire lab to blow up. Biller saves his woman, and the rest of the bee girls get overexposed to radiation, which, rather than transforming them into real giant bees [which would have been cool] they rip the flesh off their faces and die. I also think it would have been cool if The Biller had gone in afterwards and found nothing but a bunch of giant dark sunglasses on the floor, but you know, no one asked me. Then Biller and his lady enjoy some sensuous lovemaking, while an ominous final series of shots show us that there are bees outside! Holy fuck, there’s still bees out there! The true menace of this is conveyed by playing Thus Sprach Zarathustra [aka 2001 music] on the soundtrack.

So, what? It’s one of those movies that is just so patently ludicrous that it remains fun throughout. How the bee girls originated or what their evil plan is never gets explained. I guess they’re turning women into lesbian bee girls and killing men, who they no longer need? The other thing that provides constant amusement is how NO ONE notices anything odd about the fact that these women are wearing these massive black sunglasses, even indoors. HOW could they possibly identify the bee girls in their midst? This, along with the unsettling intimations of this male death drive that makes them want to expire during sex makes this a thought-provoking film that may in fact remain not fully understood until several years in the future.

My DVD of this also includes another movie, The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant, which stars Casey Kasem as the monster. Haven’t watched it yet, but watch these pages for a full report.

Should you watch it: 

Sure! Especially if you just can’t get enough of the sight of fabulous women vamping in Jackie O. sunglasses, or are attentive to the sensual possibilities of marshmallow fluff.