The Bees (1978)

the bees poster 1978 movie
1 Overall Score
Story: 1/10
Acting: 1/10
Visuals: 1/10

Not much

Dull, plodding, bad characters

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Bees

Studio:  Estudios Churubusco Azteca S.A./Panorama Films

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  October 1978 (Sitges Film Festival)/November 24, 1978 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG

the bees swarm

Kids, that is either a swarm of killer bees or smog

Dr. Miller (Claudio Brook) and his wife Sandra (Angel Tompkins) are studying the danger of killer bees in South America.  When Dr. Miller is killed, the bees continue north.  Sandra teams with her uncle Dr. Sigmund Hummel (John Carradine) and his associate John Norman (John Saxon) to continue the work on studying the bees.  The swarm seem to have a plan, and the attempt to eliminate and control them isn’t working.  When corporate agents try to use the bees for profit, the problem multiplies…but Hummel is noticing something strange about the swarm, and they could change mankind forever.

Written and directed by Alfredo Zacarias (with additional scripting by Jack Hill), The Bees is an eco-horror movie.  Developed with Roger Corman, the film premiered at the Sitges Film Festival and later was released in the United States to poor reviews.

the bees john saxon angel tompkins

Killer bees are swarming around our car and your husband recently died…let’s makeout!

Killer bees were going to destroy the world when I was young.  They were invading from South America, and they would sting everyone to death.  While they still exist and they have continued to spread, the wave of “killer bees” just never compared to the films…and this film is a byproduct of the paranoia.

The story starts out rather typical of these type horror movies.  There is a natural threat that is augmented by man, and the force is unstoppable by natural means.  In most cases, there is a corporate involved that sees profit despite the danger, but then the movie goes completely sideways.  Similar to big-screen adaptation of Empire of the Ants, insects get the upper hand and have humanity under their thumb…turning it into a weird sci-fi type ending.

The cast is led by John Saxon who is introduced after the opening scenes.  He even gets to demonstrate some of his karate in a fight scene, and he is a really odd leading man.  He’s teamed with Angel Tompkins who is potentially the worst wife who quickly abandons her dead husband for Saxon and has a rather strange relationship with her uncle played by horror vet John Carradine.  The movie features a lot of actor interactions that just don’t seem to connect or feel real throughout the movie.

the bees united nations ending john saxon angel tompkins

We now serve THE BEES!!!

The visuals of the movie are also poor.  There is a lot of close up footage of the hives, and the “swarm” of bees is just superimposed over people fleeing the insects.  A lot of the movie feels like stock footage and the “horror” of the swarm isn’t very horrific.  The movie does use real bees for scenes but the stingers were removed for the safety of the actors.

There were a lot of eco-horror movies coming out at the time, and The Bees feels like a minor addition.  With a rather bland plot, poor acting, and poor execution, The Bees is a movie that isn’t even “so-bad-it’s-good”.  It isn’t much fun, the plot is often nonsense and despite a relatively short runtime, it crawls…no buzz with this one.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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