Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, May 9, 2008

THE WASP WOMAN (1959)


THE WASP WOMAN (1959). Director: Roger Corman.

Very entertaining low-budget horror pic with a terrific lead performance from Susan Cabot as Janice Starling, the head of a troubled cosmetics empire. 40-year-old Starling, who was spokeswoman and chief model when she was younger, figures the answer to sagging sales is to get her youth back, which she does by employing wasp enzymes cultivated by Eric Zinthrop (Michael Mark, who appeared in everything from the original Frankenstein and sequels to Letter from an Unknown Woman). Unfortunately, the injections have the unforeseen side effect of turning her into a hideous, clawed monstrosity with a thirst for blood. Bruno VeSota of Attack of the Giant Leeches fame is one of the victims, and there's a nifty scene when The Wasp Woman attacks a screaming nurse. Anthony (Fred) Eisley is one of the board members and Barboura Morris is appealing as Starlin's secretary. Lynn Cartwright is fun as a receptionist named Maureen who is always bitching about her boyfriend, Irving (she was one of the Venusian gals in Queen of Outer Space). When Janice starts losing her youth you almost start to feel sorry for her. Fred Katz's musical score is effectively jangling.

Verdict: Cheap but zesty. ***.

2 comments:

Neil A Russell said...

Just a trivia tidbit for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea fans, in the boardroom scenes of "Wasp Woman" there's a character that never speaks. He's Phil Barry who played the sailor "Phil" (what a stretch) onboard the Seaview for all 4 seasons.
He never spoke a word there either.

I can't prove it but I swear he has a bit part in 1975's "The Sunshine Boys" too.

Non speaking of course

William said...

I have a number of actor friends who had a similar type of career.

Well, at least they're on camera!