The Wasp Woman (1959) is a nice little horror film by Roger Corman and starring Susan Cabot
Rough Scrip The Wasp Woman (1959)
Welcome to today’s show, my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follows the links to social media in the podcast show notes. You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts.
I had such a good time putting together the October films and I hope you did as well. I think I’ll just continue with a few more horror films. Besides Mrs. Snarky Movies says I have to clean the DVR.
Susan Cabot played the main role of Janice Starlin. Cabot was born in Boston and was raised in foster homes. She joined the drama club in high school. After finishing school she was singing at night and illustrating children’s books. During this period she was cast as an extra in Kiss of Death (1947) and began working in local television.
She was spotted by a Columbia Pictures talent scout and was cast in On the Isle of Samoa (1950). She signed will Columbia but her roles were mostly confined to westerns and harem tales. She was even cast as an Indian woman in Tomahawk (1951) with Van Heflin. While she was working with the leading men of her time such as Jeff Chandler, Tony Curtis, and Audie Murphy the roles made her want a change and she left Columbia.
Roger Corman got her to come back to Hollywood for the lead in Carnival Rock (1957). She made five more films with Corman. One of the better of these is Machine-Gun Kelly (1958) where Cabot was cast with Charles Bronson and Morey Amsterdam. If you don’t know who Morey Amsterdam is? Look him up. You will be surprised.
Another that sounds interesting but I can swear I have seen it YET is The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent (1957).
In 1959, Cabot had a public affair with King Hussein of Jordan. Her movie career seemed to end at this time.
In 1986, she was murdered with a pipe by her son. He received a three-year sentence.
Anthony Eisley played the role of Bill Lane. Eisley wanted to be an actor and took drama as an easy major in college. After college he began working in a stock company. He had a few films such as Operation Pacific (1951), Fearless Fagan (1952), and Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971) but this guy was really a television actor. I would more expect to see him on Perry Mason than in a movie. He died in 2003 at the age of 78.
Michael Mark played scientist Eric Zinthrop. Mark was born in 1886 in Belarus when it was part of the Russian Empire. In all, he had 150 credits going back as far as 1928. His roles included among other Son of Frankenstein (1939), Tower of London (1939 uncredited), Return of the Fly (1959), House of Frankenstein (1944), and Hello, Dolly! (1959). Most of his roles were small and many were uncredited. He died in 1975 at the age of 88.
Barboura Morris played the secretary Mary Dennison. Morris was a classmate of Roger Corman and as a result found a lot of work in B-movies. She was known as the “mystery woman of low-budget pictures.” Morris was cast in Sorority Girl (1957) with Cabot as well as in The Wasp Woman (1959). Morris is also for her role in A Bucket of Blood (1959). She died in 1975 at age 43, supposedly of cancer.
This movie is named the wasp woman and the credits roll over bees in a hive. A in a beekeeper suit, a real one, is walking around looking for something. The man is Dr. Eric Zinthrop (Michael Mark). He spots what looks like a hornet’s nest and smokes them out before capturing the swarm. Zinthrop walks back to where a commercial bee operation is taking place. The beekeeper Renfro (Aron Kincaid) and Zinthrop talk about the wasp he has collected.
A Ford version of an El Camino shows up with Mr. Barker (Gene Corman) from the company HQ. After telling Renfro what a good job he has done they go to see Zinthrop for not reporting in. Just to jump off track for a minute Zinthrop is not too far from translating as Arabish and Renfro would be a better name in Transylvania than California.
When Barker gets to the shack Zinthrop explains that he has been extracting royal jelly, the stuff that makes queen bees, from wasps instead of from bees. He says he can stop aging and soon will be able to reverse it. He shows a puppy and a dog. He says the although the two dogs are the same age the little one has been injected with Zinthrop’s serum. Barker fires hit then and there.
The scene switches to New York where a fairly plain look Janice Starlin (Susan Cabot) is chewing on the staff of Janice Starlin Enterprises concerning declining sales of their beauty products. Bill Lane (Anthony Fred Eisley) says he will explain the fall. Of course Janice now feels she is not pretty enough to be on the product. He tells her that when Janice took her face off the products sales having been falling. Janice’s secretary Mary Dennison (Barboura Morris) that she has an appointment with Zinthrop.
Janice takes Arthur Cooper (William Roerick) in her office to discuss the healing effects of royal jelly. She asks about wasp jelly he advises her to forget about it because the queens are killers.
Zinthrop goes into Janice’s office and tells her he can give her time. They go to the laboratory where he injects a an old guinea pig and it turns into a young rat which I guess some people might believe are young guinea pigs. Janice is amazed and Zinthrop injects the second animal. It also turns into a rat.
Janice Starlin is convinced. She agrees to give him a lab, a percentage of sales, and full credit for the work. He said the serum may not be ready for humans. She then says “Janice Starlin will be your next guinea pig.” She lets him know that the business is in trouble if the formula does not work.
At the next staff meeting, she introduces him as Mr. instead of Dr. Zinthrop. The members of the staff seem skeptical. They show a montage of Zinthrop working in the lab and staff members making faces.
Bill and Mary have a talk and Bill says he thinks Zinthrop is a conman. The pair head out for a dinner date. Bill asks Mary to spy on Janice and Arthur walks in and agrees. But Arthur says Zinthrop might be a quack and could kill someone.
Some time later the secretaries are jabbing it up when Zinthrop walks in and ask for Janice to come to the lab. He gives the elevator eyes to one of the secretaries.
When Janice get to the lab Zinthrop shows the test results on a cat. It is now a little kitten. He believes the formula is ready and he gives Janice her first injection. Back in the office Janice tells accounting to pay whatever Zinthrop wants. He has spent the rather large sum of $2,300 on enzyme extract. Mary calls Bill and relays the news.
After 3 weeks Janice is losing wrinkles but she wants it to go faster by increasing the dosage. He says he has a stronger version but it should be a topical treatment only. While Janice is away Mary rifles through the bosses desk and finds the original letter from Zing. She meets with Bill and Arthur and they explain the whole proposal.
One night Janice goes to the lab and injects herself with the stronger formula. She comes in the next morning and she is young and beautiful again. She shows the staff her new look and explains the new campaign for her cosmetics.
When Zing gets to the lab, the cat has gone crazy. The cat attacks him and Zing kills it. And man it looks real. That is sarcasm. He now knows the formula is not ready by he doesn’t know Janice has been hitting the serum. Bill, Mary, and Arthur are still plotting to save Janice. Zing leaves for lunch is a state of shock as Arthur uses to the time to break into the laboratory. Arthur’s hides when Janice comes to the lab. After she leave he finishes his snooping.
Zing jaywalks across the street and is hit by a car and hurt badly. When Zing does not come back from lunch Janice hires a a pi Les Hellman (Frank Gerstle). Janice looks for the letter for the PI and finds out that it is missing. They bring Mary in and she cracks under interrogation and confesses to stealing the letter for Bill and Arthur.
The PI combs the city in the best Dragnet fashion the then find Zing in the hospital. The doctor is played by Director Roger Corman. The doctor says he has brain damage and Janice demands that they spare no expense saving him.
Zing was in a coma for three days and Janice says Arthur can take over the lab in two more days. Janice goes to the lab and gives herself another treatment. Arthur takes over the lab and sees that the veils are almost empty. Arthur is attacked by a woman with a wasp head and she drains the blood from his neck. The blood seems to bring her back to normal and she injects herself again.
At the next meeting, Janice gets sick and you see that she is addicted to the formula. Janice moves Zing into her office with a private nurse. Betty and Bill ask about Arthur but Janice plays it cool.
That night the night watchman is attacked. Zing hears it but the nurse convinces him it was a dream. In the morning Janice is told about the missing watchman and again she plays it cool.
Bill and Mary break into the lab and find Arthur’s pipe. Janice tells Zing about her problem. Zing’s brain doesn’t work well enough to help her. Janice turns into the wasp woman and kills the nurse. Zing passes out in his bed.
Bill and Mary go to Zings room as Janice heads down to the lab to take the last shot. After a warning from Zing Mary goes Janice’s office and Bill stays with Zing. Janice gets all the information out of Mary and then Janice wasps out and drags Mary off to the lab to be eaten.
Bill heads up the stairs to the lab and Zing takes the elevator. The two men attack the wasp woman. Zing hits the wasp woman with carbolic acid and Bill shoves her out the window with a stool. Mary is dazed but okay.
They show a close up of the wasp woman’s face as it slowly dissolves to an image of a bee colony. Why bees?
World-Famous Short Summary – bee woman or wasp woman she will still kill you and suck your heart out.
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Beware the moors