Whether you choose to enjoy the sexual satire in Nicholas Meyer’s cheeky screenplay or just kick back with Big Bill Smith and a bevy of beautiful naked women, INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS offers a decent level of fun nearly commensurate with its outrageous title.
Why are the middle-aged men in a California town dying of heart attacks during sexual intercourse? Because the first victim worked for Brandt Industries, a local thinktank with a government contract, the Pentagon sends agent Neil Agar (William Smith) to investigate. He and the local law, Captain Peters (SWEET SUGAR’s Cliff Osmond) are flummoxed by the escalating body count, which he and Brandt scientist Julie Zorn (Victoria Vetri, WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH) soon attribute to a race of insatiable bee women (!) led by the sublimely sexy mad scientist Susan Harris (luscious Anitra Ford, who was also in STACEY! the same year).
Despite the title, BEE GIRLS isn’t campy, though it has humor. I’m not sure director Denis Sanders really “got” Meyer’s script, as the movie, in general, plays straighter than I believe the writer intended. The actors, though, particularly Anitra Ford, appear to be in tune with the screenplay’s tongue-in-cheek spirit and sexual politics.
And as much as I like him, Smith is also miscast as a straight hero type, and an incongruous rape scene feels as though it were improvised just to give him a chance to beat someone up. He plods after clues and romances Vetri for the first few reels, as if he was in a police procedural. It isn’t until we see how PRICE IS RIGHT model Ford creates her bee girls at the end of the second act that the movie really kicks in. The sultry Ford, looking unearthly in a pair of Foster Grants, is a formidable and certainly attractive foe for Smith, and both sell the story’s absurdities.
BEE GIRLS is hit-and-miss and ripe for a modern-day retelling. Also with Wright King, Ben Hammer, Katie Saylor (FANTASTIC JOURNEY), Beverly Hills, Andre Philippe (BLACK BELT JONES), Cathy Hilton, Susan Player, and Rene Bond. Director Sanders previously made documentaries (ELVIS: THAT’S THE WAY IT IS), shorts, and some TV shows, but not much after this. The MGM Midnite Movies DVD excises Hills’ nude scene using an egregious jump cut.