Monday, February 16, 2015

Not the Deadly Bees!

Because having wings, stingers, and a venom that can apparently kill Britteny Spears, Drew Barrymore, and Macaulay Culkin's character in My Girl, does not mean that a bee ain't short.

Quick Plot: Pop sensation Vicki Robbins has a mental breakdown on live television (today, we'd put an 'exhaustion' diagnosis and move on to the next Mariah), prompting her doctor to order her to rest up in a quiet little rural community known as Seagull Island.

In theory, it should be very easy to catch up on your rest at Seagull Island, since there are exactly five people living on it. Unfortunately, there are also killer bees.

Isn't that the rub? You've found a lovely little cottage where a grumpy couple moodily hosts your stay, a happy dog follows you around before being attacked by killer bees, and a kindly neighbor offers you tea at every moment. Only, you know, the couple is super grumpy, the killer beers kill a happy dog, and the kindly neighbor REALLY wants you to have his tea.

Don't worry though: if at all you get confused and forget what happened during the 85 minute runtime of The Deadly Bees, not one but TWO montages will refresh you on all the key plot points.

The Deadly Bees is an Amicus adaptation of a mystery novel and, well, it's a rather dull affair. I can forgive silly-looking bee attacks filmed in 1966 if they had any real narrative weight. If you're curious what a bee attack filmed in 1966 might look like, follow me along:

Closeup of character getting scared


Closeup of character swatting a bee


Closeup of character scratching at a toy bee glued to his or her face


Character superimposed in front of SWARM!

I'm a forgiving genre fan: that process didn't bother me in the least. What bothered me was how an 85 minute film could feel like Lawrence of Arabia.

The film starts off promisingly enough, although yes, I most definitely say that because it includes extreme closeups of a Beatles-like band called The Birds (but not The Byrds). Aha! I smiled, feeling smart. I GET IT! The Birds because this movie is about BEES! It's just like that time I realized the Chipmunks and the Chippettes each had a character named for a Roosevelt and thought that making that connection made me the smartest person in the ninth grade.

Except, I dunno, maybe the band was just named The Birds.

The Deadly Bees is a mystery film, but because the suspect pool is so tiny, it never holds much suspense. The resolution is as simple as spilling an open jar of liquid out of stupidity, despite this happening to a character that had just proven itself to be exceedingly smart. Ah well. At least the dog was cute.

High Points
Man, what a wonderfully embittered middle age wife Catherine Finn played as Mrs. Hargrove. The actress inject so much disgust towards her husband and life in general that I genuinely longed for a spinoff one-woman show where she sings Elaine Stritch numbers on a cigarette ash-coated piano

Aside from Finn, you know who worked hardest? That super angry instrumental score, that's who!

Low Points

Lessons Learned
When smoking out killer bees, remember not to smoke yourself out as well

When smoking out killer bees, remember not to smoke yourself out as well 

(yes, Ijust said that, but since the character in question did this twice in a row over the course of ten minutes, I figured it warranted repeating)

I don't recall the MST3K episode on The Deadly Bees, but I'll just make a blind recommendation to say that if you HAVE to watch bees sort of attack a bunch of dull Brits, do it in the company of Crow T. Robot. 


  1. Theodore and Eleanor! Oh my God, you're right! How could I have been so blind all these years?

    I remember the MST3K episode being very funny (obviously), especially with that guy who suddenly arrives over the end credits-"Hello, I'm here for the movie. Am I late?"

  2. I really need to track down the MST episode. I know I've seen it--because I've seen every episode--but I have no memory in my old age.

    The Chipmunk Roosevelts was something I discovered around the age of 14. I thought my 8th grade history teacher would be so impressed. He was not.

  3. You've seen every episode of MST3K? Wow! You're certainly a better MST alumni than I!

    By the way, on an unrelated note, have you ever seen the fantasy movie Ink? I just reread your Lo review, and you mention Ink in the comments. I'm thinking about getting it, and was curious if you had an opinion on it.

  4. I was a hardcore MSTie back in the day. I still have boxes of VHS taped Turkey Day Marathons!

    I have seen Ink, and it's DEFINITELY worth it. Very different little film with a lot of originality and heart. Great performance by a child actor. I'll be excited to hear what you think of it!