The Wasp Woman
Leo Gordon and Kinta Zertuche
Susan Cabot as Janice Starlin
Fred Eisley as Bill Lane
Barboura Morris as Mary Dennison
William Roerick as Arthur Cooper
Michael Mark as Eric Zinthrop
Roger Corman has had a very prolific B-movie career that includes either writing, directing, producing or acting in (sometimes all of the above) dozens of films including The Little Shop of Horrors (1986) and a special thanks from Quinten Tarantino for Death Proof (2007). Corman also produced, directed and played a small acting role in The Wasp Woman.
The Wasp Woman follows the desperate saga of Janice Starlin (Susan Cabot), the founder of a successful cosmetics company. The secret to her company’s success is that Janice is not just the CEO but also a client, and provides all of the modeling shots for advertising and publicity. Unfortunately the years are beginning to show on Janice’s face and sales are faltering.
Dr. Zinthrop may have the answer to all Ms. Starlin’s problems. He has been experimenting with enzyme extracts from wasps and discovered that a serum made of wasp goop, when injected in small animals, reverses the clock and makes them appear younger. Well, not just “appear” younger, but actually revert to infancy as grown cats become fluffy kittens right before your eyes.
Janice Starlin, seemingly unconcerned about the possibility of becoming a girl of four unable to run a company at all, decides to subsidize Dr. Zinthrop’s research with one condition – she gets to be the test subject. You know the title of this movie, so I don’t have to tell you that the “youth serum” has some shocking side effects.
This is the stereotype of a B-movie that is really silly and dumb. The effects are…well, what effects? I think there was a set of mini angel wings strapped on a “wasp-cat” and a black bodysuit with pipe cleaner antennae and “eyes” that look like those strainers found in your kitchen drain to create the waspy woman, and that’s about it for effects. The acting, on the other hand, is actually not bad considering this is an old, low budget and cheesy B-movie from 1960.
Obvious weaknesses aside, I LOVE The Wasp Woman. Like the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven, this movie brings on a feeling of comfortable nostalgia. I am transported back to Sunday afternoons as a child, wrapped up in a blanket on the couch with rain pouring down outside, watching old horror on TV. The movies I saw years ago on TV remain some of my favorite movies to this day, not because of the films’ inherent genius but because the memories of watching them are so perfect. Perhaps you have these memories too – and if so then The Wasp Woman is guaranteed to bring them all flooding back for 73 wonderful minutes.