The Wasp Woman (1959)
Directed by Roger Corman
Stars: Susan Cabot, Michael Mark, Barboura Morris, Fred Eisley
"...Janice Starlin has built her whole life on youth and beauty. Now that she's losing it, she's scared to death."
If there is anything we've learned from horror movie history, it's that scientists are cuckoo. An intellectual mind + scientific experiments + craziness = disaster every time.
Dr. Zinthrop, not so lovingly referred to as "crackpot" by his associates, is fired from his research position after it is discovered that he is extracting royal jelly from queen wasps (?!!) instead of bees. His claim that he has developed a youth compound as a result of his work is ignored.
Cosmetics icon Janice Starlin is in a jam too. Sales are falling and she wants to know why. One executive bluntly tells her that's she's too old to be the face of the company and that is why nobody wants to buy their products. He obviously doesn't care whether he gets a Christmas bonus or not. Enter Dr. Zinthrop and his crazy jelly solution. Vain Ms. Starlin, desperate to rejuvenate her looks and brand, buys into the idea immediately. She even demands that she be guinea pig to see how the formula affects human beings!
Holy Jeckyll and Hyde, Batman...the results are not quite what the good doctor expected. Yes, Janice looks younger and more attractive. However, there is a side effect that proves to be troublesome. She also transforms into a giant bloodthirsty wasp in black high heels. Wasps are Satan's butterflies, and a sting from one is awfully painful. Imagine a 5 foot 3 wasp in pumps. Scary, huh? In this case, not so much.
Obviously a drug allegory (there's more shooting up in this movie than at the OK Corral) Wasp Woman isn't frightening unless you're afraid of needles. What makes this interesting is the time period in which it was made, watching Janice become a full tilt junkie, and the fact that this is a Roger Corman movie. Corman is required viewing for cult film aficionados. He's the master of low budget filmmaking and has launched some huge careers on both sides of the camera.
My results from this experiment are:
1. Don't inject wasp jelly.
2. People who rely solely on their looks for success are stupid.
3. Scientists are one good idea away from insanity.