"Miss Starlin is not a human being any longer. The enzymes have changed her--she will destroy the girl as a female wasp would destroy her enemies, and then devour the remains!"
- Zinthrop (Michael Mark) to Bill (Fred Eisley)
Description by OLDIES.com:
Professor Zinthrop (Michael Mark), a renegade scientist offers an aging beauty, Janice Starlin (Susan Cabot), eternal youth by administering injections of wasp enzymes. The experiment goes haywire and Starlin transforms into a hideous, carniverous half-insect creature bringing death and destruction to all those who cross her path. Made economically in less than a week by Roger Corman, The Wasp Woman, a Filmgroup Production, marked the beginning of Corman's most prolific and creative period. The film features Corman repertoire players Susan Cabot, Barboura Morris, Bruno Ve Sota, William Roerick, Frank Wolff (also seen in Wasp Woman's co-feature Beast >From Haunted Cave) and Roger himself making unbilled cameo appearances as a doctor and a policeman.
This fun, intelligent cheapie from King of the B's Roger Corman ranks as the first feminist horror film. Susan Cabot stars as aging cosmetics mogul Janice Starlin, who injects herself with an experimental wasp enzyme in order to restore her fading youth and save her company from going broke. Eccentric scientist Dr. Zinthrop (Michael Mark) first tries the serum on cats, but when they later sprout wings and stingers, he realizes the formula might not be market ready. Unfortunately, he winds up in a coma before he's able to warn Starlin of the ghastly side effects, and before long she's buzzing around the building at night, attacking and devouring her enemies. What's admirably feminist about the film is how Starlin is portrayed as intelligent, powerful, and sympathetic while her male underlings are condescending buffoons who first dismiss her serum as mere wishful vanity and later find themselves smitten by her newly restored beauty (and later bitten by her wasp alter ego). Barboura Morris plays Starlin's worried secretary, and Bruno Ve Sota is an unlucky night watchman. Cabot is splendid in the title role, reverse-aging beautifully. Carolyn Hughes and Lynn Cartwright add comic relief as a pair of gossipy receptionists.
Mad Doctor |
THE WASP WOMAN was shot in less than a week on a budget of $50,000.
Though the film takes place in Manhattan, the exterior shots were filmed in Los Angeles.
This film was remade in 1996 for cable television.
"I think that was the most fun part I ever had. To be able to go from a forty-year-old character to a twenty-two-year-old one was a challenge. Then to be a monster--one of the very few female beasties in movies-- was great fun."--Susan Cabot, on the making of THE WASP WOMAN
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