The Deadly Bees
Max J. Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky for Amicus
directed by Freddie Francis
starring Suzanna Leigh (singing voice: Elkie Brooks), Frank Finlay, Guy Doleman, Catherine Finn, John Harvey, Michael Ripper, Anthony Bailey, Tim Barrett, James Cossins, Frank Forsyth, Greta Farrer, Katy Wild, Gina Gianelli, Michael Gwynn, Maurice Good, Alister Williamson, The Birds (= Kim Gardner, Pete McDaniel, Ali McKenzie, Tony Munroe, Ron Wood)
screenplay by Robert Bloch, Anthony Marriott, based on the novel A Taste for Honey by H.F. Heard, music by Wilfred Josephs, special effects by Michael Collins
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After breaking down during a live TV show, singer Vicky (Suzanna Leigh)
is sent to an island for relaxation and recreation - an island where she
soon meets two beekeepers, her host, the grumpy Ralph Hargrove (Guy
Doleman), and his mild-mannered neighbour Mr Manfred (Frank Finlay) - and
the two hate each other's guts, too. Eventually, a swarm of killer bees
shows up, which kill first Hargrove's dog and then his wife (Catherine
Finn) whom he hated, and which seem to be lured to their victims by a
certain substance the victims arew deliberately made to come into contact
with. Soon enough, Vicky suspects Hargrove of the killings and hooks up
with Manfred to spy him out - and her suspicions seem to be only confirmed
when the bees suddenly attack even her (but she's able to save herself).
She leaves Hargrove's place in shock and moves in with Manfred, finding
out only too late that Manfred is the actual killer here and Hargrove was
actually investigating the whole thing. When Manfred wants to pour the
serum to lure the bees all over Vicky though, she makes him pour it over
himself instead, and thus he becomes a victim of his own creation (yup, he
has created his killerbees, but who knows why) before his house goes up in
flames, and Hargrove can only just save Vicky and redeem himself.
mediocre piece of animal horror that seems to take forever to actually
shift into gear (while the set-up gives us tons of information we don't
really need), and even then it's sloppily written and doesn't really pick
up speed until the very end. And on top of that, there is never a proper
explanation given for all that, an explanation along the lines why is
one beekeeper creating killerbees, why is the other investigating him?
Plus, the film also looks terribly
old-fashioned and dated, something not necessarily true for all of
director Freddie Francis' output. That all said, the film is not a total
disaster, it's still charming from a nostalgic point of view - but nothing