The Wasp Woman (1960) – By Mark Hite

If there were a time I’d like to travel to it would be during the hay day of drive in theaters. Nowadays its seems drive ins are the thing of the past with the ones still existing few and far between. That is why I enjoy movies like the one I am about to review. They make me feel what it was like to intake all that shlock cinema in a car with the snack bar a stones throw away.

1960’s The Wasp Woman happened to be one of those films one could see in between making out with their significant other. Simple and with few plot changes to follow, it was made for perfect smooching situations.

The film starts off at a local bee hive where innovative scientist Eric Zinthrop is doing research on wasps. He intends to prove that the fountain of youth lies within an enzyme of the queen wasp. Unfortunately for Zinthrop, his employer doesn’t see it the same way and cans him.

Where one person shafted Zinthrop, another was just waiting to be lured in by his research. Janet Starlan, aging model and cosmetics businesswoman, is looking for a way to boost dropping sales for her business. Her staff informs her that ever since she took her image off the products, things have been going on a downward spiral for the company.

Luckily for Starlan, her luck seems to change when Zinthrop drops in. He introduces his special injection to her and immediately she buys into it. Zinthrop is given a lab immediately for his research and Starlan wants to be the first of the human enzyme injections.

At this point, any self respecting movie fan can see a disaster coming and indeed it does. After Starlan begins her injections, odd things start happening. Although her appearance improves, her addiction to the injections worsens. She sneaks into Zinthrop’s office to take more injection while he is away. All the while the rest of the staff is leery of Zinthrop and Starlan’s business relationship.

Zinthrop discovers one of his animal test subjects has become mutated. Before he can warn Starlan, he becomes the victim of a car accident which gives him temporary amnesia. Starlan’s transformation comes full circle when she turns into the grotesque wasp woman. She paralyzes her prey and eats them very much like the queen wasp. No one knows about this because she changes back to her normal self when she is done. By the end of the film and several deaths later, Starlan is brought down by a recuperated Zinthrop and some of the office staff.

The Wasp Woman is available on DVD for those of you who wish to relive or experience early monster flicks. It is presented in classic drive in style and accompanied by the thrilling release Attack of the Giant Leaches.

The movie itself was directed by monster movie legend Roger Corman. He is the demigod of early horror films such as The Masque of the Red Death and The Terror. Corman to this day is dedicated to bringing us more fun with a planned 2006 release Death Race 3000.

Is The Wasp Woman highly cheesy and with little to no point? The answer is yes because films like these were a dime a dozen back then and people virtually bought into anything. The special effects are bad, the acting is worse, and regardless of everything I just said: I wouldn’t have enjoyed it any other way. Early creature features are a part of Americana that fortunately will never die. I am proud to say I am a huge fan of them.