INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS was released in 1973. I was in high school at the time and if I had chanced to see this film at a drive-in (which is where it really needs to be seen to be appreciated), I would have loved it. There's a fair amount of naked female flesh on display in this film which would have certainly carbonated my teenage hormones at the time. Watching it today for the first time, I could still admire the lovely ladies that populate the film but there's not much else going for this one.
Perhaps the most salient feature of INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS (besides the T&A) is the fact that the screenplay was written by Nicholas Meyer. Meyer went on write the Sherlock Holmes novel THE SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION (he also wrote the screenplay for the film version), he wrote and directed TIME AFTER TIME (1979) and he directed what remains to this day the greatest STAR TREK movie of all time, STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN. Oh well, I guess everybody has to start somewhere.
The story deals with a mad scientist, Dr. Susan Harris (Anitra Ford), who works at a California scientific research center. There's something going on involving the combination of female human and queen bee genes to produce stunningly attractive women with jet black eyes and voracious sexual appetites. The women have sex with various hapless men and all of the men die in the throes of ecstasy. As one character puts it, "they're coming and going at the same time."
The death of a male scientist with government connections prompts an investigation by State Department Security Agent Neil Agar (William Smith). He's aided by Julie Zorn (Victoria Vetri), who runs the research library at the facility.
The body count climbs and more women are turned into "bee girls" before Agar finally figures out what's going on. He smashes into Harris's lab where she's in the middle of transforming Julie into a "bee girl". He shoots his gun at the machinery, it blows up and all of the girls die.
The three main stars all had interesting careers. Anitra Ford was a model on television's THE PRICE IS RIGHT from 1972-1976. Victoria Vetri was PLAYBOY'S Playmate of the Month for September 1967 and was later named Playmate of the Year for 1968. She starred in WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH (1970) and made numerous appearances on television shows throughout the '60s and '70s. William Smith starred in dozens of films and television shows. He was Conan's father in John Milius's CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982). Smith could play both good guys and bad guys and his rugged good looks served him well over the years.
INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS is a typical, low-budget '70s exploitation film. The film stock is grainy and many of the scenes are poorly lit. The film looks like it was shot largely on location somewhere in California. The cars and clothes are vintage, retro cool and keep an eye out as Smith's wardrobe goes from suit and tie to turtleneck back to suit and tie in the space of three scenes. The closing credits steal Richard Strauss's "Also sprach Zarathustra" (which was used to great effect in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968). Here it just seems like a lame attempt at profundity.
INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS provides plenty of eye candy but very little else. Worth watching at least once if you're a fan of the genre.