Invasion of the Bee Girls (Denis Sanders / U.S., 1973):

"Sans qui l'Amour meurt ou s'endort," concludes Valéry's famous poem, not a patch on this apiary's own proclamation of Eros-Thanatos: "We balled and we balled and we balled, until he dropped dead." The arid little California community (cp. Arnold's Bachelor in Paradise) battles boredom with "a lot of sex games," abstinence is vainly recommended amid a spree of dead horndogs. On the case are the government square jaw (William Smith) and the tawny egghead (Victoria Vetri), all clues point to the underground radioactive honeycomb operated by the slinky entomologist (Anitra Ford). "A few seconds of ecstasy, and then... oblivion. Just think about it, boys—coming and going at the same time." Denis Sanders' matter-of-factness serves Nicholas Meyer's screenplay, a swinging joke on Twain's bee-stung bull pointed toward The Stepford Wives. Its fulsome erotic amusements rest with Ford's marvelous villainess, who enjoys a little coffee with her sugar and hides inky prismatic peepers behind oversized Jackie O glasses. (Her glowing grin floats in the darkened pat where she plays Salome to a hairy-backed lecher, intercut with documentary footage on the mating habits of insects.) The unforgettable centerpiece might be a lost segment from Behind the Green Door: A bare novice is coated with pasty honey and engulfed by bees, the cocoon cracks while Ford pulls the levers and henchwomen rub themselves through scientist coats. "Goddamn! You got all that?" Buzzing-ululating at the close gives way to Zarathustra, getting a smile out of Meyer and Makavejev. With Cliff Osmond, Wright King, Ben Hammer, and Anna Aries.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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