The Wasp Woman (1959)

Sixty-one years ago today, the film The Wasp Woman premiered. Specifically designed to scare teenagers at drive-in movies, Susan Cabot did a great job. You have to see this movie.

Title: The Wasp Woman
Directed by: Roger Corman, Jack Hill
Produced by: Roger Corman
Screenplay by: Leo Gordon
Story by: Kinta Zertuche
Starring: Susan Cabot, Fred Eisley, Barboura Morris
Music by: Fred Katz
Cinematography: Harry Neumann
Edited by: Carlo Lodato
Production Company: The Filmgroup
Distributed by: Allied Artists Pictures Corporation
Release date: October 30, 1959 (United States)
Running time: 73 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $50,000

In Hill’s prologue, a scientist, Dr. Eric Zinthrop (Michael Mark), is fired from his job at a honey farm for experimenting with wasps.

The founder and owner of a large cosmetics company, Janice Starlin (Susan Cabot), is disturbed when her firm’s sales begin to drop after it becomes apparent to her customer base that she is aging. Zinthrop has been able to extract enzymes from the royal jelly of the queen wasp that can reverse the aging process. Janice agrees to fund further research, at great cost, provided she can serve as his human subject. Displeased with the slowness of the results, she breaks into the scientist’s laboratory after hours and injects herself with extra doses of the formula. Zinthrop becomes aware that some of the test creatures are becoming violent and goes to warn Janice, but before he can reach anyone, he gets into a car accident. He is thus temporarily missing and Janice goes through great trouble to find him, eventually taking over his care.

Janice continues her clandestine use of the serum and sheds 20 years in a single weekend, but soon discovers that she is periodically transformed into a murderous, wasp-like creature. Eventually, Zinthrop throws a jar of carbolic acid at her face, and another character, using a chair, pushes her out of a high window, the impact killing her.

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