STARRING: Susan Cabot, Fred Eisley, Barboura Morris, William Roerick, Michael Mark, Frank Gerstle, Roy Gordon

1959, 84 Minutes, Directed by: Roger Corman

Janice Starlin (Susan Cabot) was the face that sold a million cosmetic products, but now – 18 years later – her cosmetics business faces declining sales as she has grown older. Walking right in from the streets is the eccentric Dr. Eric Zinthrop (Michael Mark) with a miracle solution that’ll reverse the effects of ageing, namely an extract taken from a queen wasp’s jelly.

Zinthrop is a loony all right, but the vain Starlin is desperate enough to become a human guinea pig for his experiments. Initially the queen wasp jelly seems to be working, but Starlin grows impatient, and injects too much of the stuff and turns into “a lusting queen wasp by night” as the movie’s tagline has it. Or at least a killer in a hokey Halloween mask and some gloves – after all, The Wasp Woman was directed by the legendary Roger Corman, who wasn’t legendary for being a director, but instead for being such an incredible cheapskate.

Yup, this cheesy late-1950s Black & White horror movie is Mystery Science Theater 3000 fodder all right, but it needn’t have been this way: actress Susan Cabot cuts a surprisingly sympathetic figure as one gets to empathize with her plight and why she is so desperate to subject herself to the unexpectedly benign Zinthrop’s experiments.

Cabot is sure one classy dame, but unfortunately stuck in a movie that is so ineptly put together that it is all rather embarrassing to watch, especially when her killing spree finally kicks off.

For connoisseurs of bad movies only.



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