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The Deadly Bees


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An ailing starlet is sent to a remote island to recover and little does she know that she is about to stumble into...a Hive of Horror! A diabolical neighbor has discovered the smell of fear and is using it to control a lethal swarm! Featuring over the top performances and very "special" effects, The Deadly Bees is late night drive-in fare at its campy best.

Review

Amicus, the British company that was Hammer Film s chief rival in the 1960s and early 1970s, produced a plethora of interesting (and sometimes not so interesting) horror and science fiction programmers, many using the same personnel as their competitor. Directed by legendary cameraman Freddie Francis, The Deadly Bees was released a full decade before the killer insects craze swarmed cinemas, and it was actually scripted by Psycho author Robert Bloch (who had an ongoing relationship with Amicus), based on the novel A Taste of Honey by H.F. Heard, but re-written by Anthony Marriott at the director s demand. In the U.S., Paramount released the film on a double bill with the laughable (and MIA on DVD) The Vulture, and Legend Films here presents its home video debut with an excellent looking disc.

Exhausted pop singer Vicki Robbins (Suzanna Leigh) collapses on stage while lip-synching her latest hit on a Top of the Pops type TV program. Her physician recommends a few weeks of rest in the country, prompting her to visit the quiet and remote island farm, Seagull Island. There, Vicki lodges with a middle-aged couple, Ralph Hargrove (Guy Doleman) and his wife Mary (Catherine Finn), who are constantly bickering. Mr. Hargrove seems more interested in his bee cages more than anything else, and is suspected when swarm of killer bees offs the family dog and then Mrs. Hargrove. Peculiar neighbor Manfred (the great Frank Finlay) also has an interest in bees, and befriends Vicki (who just can t seem to get any peace and quiet) to get to the bottom of things.

[...] Suzanna Leigh is a charming enough leading lady, but she would give better performances in Hammer s The Lost Continent and Lust For A Vampire. In one sequence, she is pursued indoors by the pesty insects wearing nothing but a white bra and slip, and this sexy image was utilized for the exploitive advertising campaign. The supporting cast is another who s who? of British character actors, including Hammer Films perennial Michael Ripper, Katy Wild (Evil of Frankenstein), James Cossins (The Anniversary), Michael Gwynn (Revenge of Frankenstein), Maurice Good (They Came From Beyond Space), Alister Williamson (The Oblong Box) and Tim Barrett (The Mummy s Shroud).

Making a brief appearance early on in the film is the British rock group The Birds (not to be confused with the American hitmakers, The Byrds). Although they never had a record contract, their appearance here is notable as you get a glimpse of a very young Ron Wood, who went on to play guitar for The Jeff Beck Group, The Faces and of course, the legendary Rolling Stones, which he has remained a member of for over 30 years now. In his recent autobiography, Ronnie, Wood makes mention of the film: The film was called The Deadly Bees, and we were extras playing a band in the background. A very forgettable scene. It was years later before I actually saw the film, and there I was, wearing a horrible polo neck, holding a guitar decorated with Fablon (a frightful sticky plastic covering). But who cares, the Birds were doing their best.

Legend Films has done a splendid job with their DVD release of The Deadly Bees, which is framed at 1.78:1 with anamorphic enhancement. The image is sharp, clean and displays a nice level of detail, with colors being strong and fleshtones looking natural. Paramount must have kept the film s element in very good condition, reflected in this transfer which exhibits very few age related blemishes. The mono English audio track is free of any noticeable distortion, with dialogue and music being cleanly reproduced. There are no subtitle options, but the disc is close captioned. --George R. Reis of DVDDrive-In.com


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Suzanna Leigh, Frank Finlay, Guy Doleman
  • Directors: Freddie Francis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Legend Films
  • DVD Release Date: October 1, 2008
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001DAIVXE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,073 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Deadly Bees" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

This movie is camp at it's best.
PG
The level of acting is sufficient (but arch); no one steals this movie from the bees and the perfectly awful bee FX.
Einsatz
Well worth the time it takes to watch.
David W. Barsness

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Simon Davis on October 9, 2009
Format: DVD
I'm sure many people don't realise that almost 10 years before such killer insect films as "Ants" and "The Swarm", crawled onto our big screens menacing all star casts and alternately horrifing and sometimes unintentionally amusing us, there had already been a film released back in 1967 that created those same sort of chills, admittedly on a more modest scale. This little effort, "The Deadly Bees" was produced by the famed Amicus production company in England who along with their British rivals the legendary Hammer Studios ruled the horror field through the 1960's and early 1970's. With the possible exception of Hitchcock's "The Birds" Amicus were probably the first production company to bring such a story to the screen before the genre really took off in popularity in the 1970s when "wildlife on the rampage" was the flavour of the moment in cinema offerings. Rarely seen and almost impossible to track down until this new DVD release "The Deadly Bees" is often critised and even disowned by those that made it which upon viewing the film I feel is a totally unfair judgement. Certainly the first rate DVD presentation of the film (despite the disappointing lack of extras) indicates that someone had enough of a belief in the film's entertainemnt value to bring it out of the vault where for too long it's been hidden away. I had long wanted to see this film and I was pleasantly surprised by it and felt it had much to offer horror fans such as myself. Despite the obvious horror element of the swarming killer bees of the title "The Deadly Bees" for me was more of an intriguing mystery aided by some very good performances given by the talented cast.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ! MR. KNOW IT ALL ;-b VINE VOICE on October 21, 2008
Format: DVD
Here's an obscure film that has finally made it's way to DVD. One of the better Killer Bee movies and it's wrapped in a nice little mystery to boot! The Bee effects run hot and cold, but still deliver that creepy crawly feeling. I remember this film from Saturday's afternoon horror fest when I was a wee lad! The film holds up and is as entertaining as I remembered it to be. The DVD transfer look very good, but the titles etc seemed a little fuzzy, nothing too distracting though. It would have been nice to have some extras, even a trailer! Too bad, but it makes a fun Halloween flick!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Charles Justus Garard on May 10, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
THE DEADLY BEES is a quiet find, a small, low-budget British offering that I first saw in a drive-in with another film in the States. I am now in China, as readers of my other reviews know. I ordered this film at the same time I ordered and watched two other insect films: THE NAKED JUNGLE and PHASE IV. Both of those are about ants -- one film over ten years older than THE DEADLY BEES; the other tens years newer.

I heard the story "Leiningen and the Ants" on Mystery Radio, which I can access here in China. I listened to the under-rated WIlliam Conrad play the part of Leiningen in the radio drama, and it made me interested in see the film that I remembered seeing in my father's small-town movie theatre as a boy. In the film, Charlton Heston plays Leiningen, and WIlliam Conrad plays the lesser part of a South American official. Heston does an admirable job in the role of a tough, self-made man who boasts (maybe too often) about carving his own empire out of the jungle. Some of you may know that William Conrad played Matt Dillion in the radio version of GUNSMOKE. His distinctive voice gave a virile presence to the role of the frontier marshall, much more than the wooden James Arness did for the popular, long-running TV series in the States. Most of you undoubtedly know that Conrad went on to play a tough, but overweight, cop on a TV series, the name of which escapes me at the moment. He also directed suspense films such as TWO ON A GUILLOTINE.

PHASE IV is a science-fiction thriller which features awe-inspiring microscopic photography of the world of ants. Why Saul Bass only directed one film is beyond me, because this little paranoid apocalyptic story is certainly worthy of being added to the pantheon of end-of-the-world productions and is certainly superior to the film 2012.
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By Einsatz on October 6, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought this movie because I have fond memories of seeing it on TV way back when. It is a fun little non-thriller with not much of a mystery attached. The story features killer bees. There are two beekeepers on the same island. One is obviously a mad scientist who developed the deadly strain of bees and then figured out a means of targeting potential victims through scent. The other is just a beekeeper. That gives you a 50-50 chance of guessing who the villain is (there are no other suspects). Naturally, it takes forever for the authorities to figure out a crime has even been committed. The poor bees get blamed for everything.
There's also one and a half pop songs offered, neither worth remembering. The level of acting is sufficient (but arch); no one steals this movie from the bees and the perfectly awful bee FX. Along the way, the lead actress (Suzanna Leigh as Vicki Robbins) gets to play at being Nancy Drew. She also gets to romp about in a bra while swatting bees. As melodramas go, it's a bit dry. But I just had to have it for my collection because it's on the high side of hilarious. I love movies like this. It's suffocating in portent yet nothing grandiose happens to justify the ominous tone throughout. Some will find it a bit flimsy and long in the tooth, some might find it rapturously awful. I think it's great.
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