Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973)

It’s hard to believe 1973’s “Invasion of the Bee Girls,” also known as “Graveyard Tramps” (Yeah, that’s a good title – rolling my eyes), was written by Nicholas Meyer, who went on to direct significant films like “Star Trek II,” “The Day After” and “Star Trek III,” but Meyer has stated that his original script was hatcheted by a girlfriend of one of the producers. He was furious and called the rewrite “dumbed-down stuff for the Paramus drive-in crowd.”

The title tells you everything you need to know about the plot: A growing group of women in a small desert town are intentionally infected by a queen bee gene (or whatever) and start killing any guy with whom they copulate. The movie plays like a typical Syfy flick, but more dull, with early 70’s décor and lots of female nudity. While there’s some “good naked” in this flick, like the motorcycle girl, it’s mostly what that Seinfeld episode called “bad naked.” Take, for instance, the housewife and her husband near the end or the housewife converted to the hive. Even Anitra Ford, who has a stunning face and full head of hair, looks too thin and un-alluring in her nude shots, but I’m sure some guys like non-curvy women. Not me. Victoria Vetri looks great, but even she has a sorta “bad naked” shot at the end when William Smith’s character saves her from the bee girls by picking her up like a sack of potatoes.

Speaking of Victoria, she plays a quality female protagonist and comes across very intelligent, as well as attractive (naturally). Sadly, this was her last film. Smith plays a great male protagonist and so does the towering Cliff Osmond as the police captain. While the aforementioned nudity might incite your interest, don’t get too excited as the filmmaking is unimaginative and the way the story plays out is tedious, especially for a film that only runs 85 minutes. I find it perplexing that notable critics like Ebert, Siskel and Maltin hail this as a “guilty pleasure” or whatever (no doubt solely due to being “breast men”). Really, it’s only fascinating as a cultural artifact.

The film was shot in Santa Clarita and Newhall, California.