The Wasp Woman (1959)

Oh man, it's the 1950s so here comes another black and white horror film where the first hour of the movie is a bunch of talking and theorizing and then someone turns into a monster and there's a fight.

I could just cut and paste that intro into any number of horror and scifi flicks from the 50s. I probably will from now on. But for now, let's talk about The Wasp Woman.

Dr. Zinthrop has discovered a way to reverse the aging process through his work on wasps. Upon telling his boss that he has discovered the greatest scientific breakthrough of the 20th century which will change all of humanity forever, his boss chews him out for spending, like, $1000 last month man and besides they aren't paying him to change the course of human development, they are paying him to get royal jelly from wasps.

So Zinthrop gets hired by a cosmetic company in deep trouble because the founder, Janice Starlin, is way too old at 32 to be considered attractive anymore so people have stopped buying their makeup. Janice decides to be Zinthrop's guinea pig, and within weeks she looks like she's 23 (i.e. she looks exactly the same but has taken off her old lady glasses).

I don't think it's spoiling much to tell you that Janice overdoses and turns into a hideous monster, half-woman and half-wasp. Note that the movie poster is nothing but a filthy lie: Wasp Woman has a wasp head and a human body. Before you know it Wasp Woman is sucking the blood of out people. You know, like wasps do.

The biggest problem with this movie is the pacing. There are multiple boardroom meetings where they just talk about how old Janice is. I wanted to protect her, but Janice and I are fated to be star-crossed lovers since she is in movieland fifty years ago and I am an realland now. Everything takes forever. Walking, driving, looking at things. The first scene, where Zinthrop is talking to his boss about wasps is excruciating and it took all of my Dream Powers to get through it. And that is pretty much a high point bursting with excitement and high-fives in comparison to the middle part of this movie. It doesn't pick up until the lame fight at the end, which is your typical 1950s zero-choreography grappling in a shadowy lab/office kind of fight.

They should definitely remake this though, now that all the Japanese horror movies and classic 1970s and 80s slashers have all been done. If they do it, they should make the Wasp Woman like the one in the poster. That would be creepy.


Anonymous said...

I just saw this the other night on Penny Dreadful's SHILLING SHOCKERS-- I thought the actress playing Janice was really interesting looking.

As bad as it was it entertained me.
Keep the reviews coming!

newtmonkey said...

Will do!

I thought Janice was gorgeous, so I had trouble buying into the whole premise of the movie.

Anonymous said...

Janice = gorgeous-- that's why you're my bro!

newtmonkey said...

I have a thing for positively ancient 32 year old women, you see.