Roger Ebert said of Invasion of the Bee Girls, at the time of its 1973 release, “[it] is the best schlock soft-core science fiction movie since maybe The Vengeance of She." Wow. And did Ebert invent a genre there?
In writing about this movie, which is my personal top 10 all time favorite cult films, I don’t want to get bogged down with a long rundown of its plot. For one thing, anyone reading this could get that from IMDB or 20-30 other places on the web. For another, people who haven’t seen the movie, and want to, should experience it the way I originally did: with only a vague sense of what it is about. Let it surprise you.
But, for some reference, here are a few particulars: the tale is set in a place called Peckham, in California. It’s a small town that’s home to a scientific research complex. Men, both inside and outside of the science center, are dying of heart failure. And none of them had cardiac conditions before. Autopsies reveal that they were all into some intense nookie at the time of their passing; or, as one character states, they were “coming and going at the same time.” Because the research center is government-sponsored, the feds get interested and send in one of their agents to investigate.
The cast is ideal. Anitra Ford, one of the original “Barker’s Beauties” models on The Price is Right, portrays a sultry, remote, dangerous lady scientist. 1968's Playboy Playmate of the Year Victoria Vetri is another researcher, and is the good-girl sexy scientist, to balance out Ford’s bad girl-sexy scientist. William Smith, who has an acting CV that goes on forever and who had played badass motorcycle dudes prior to Bee Girls, is the federal agent. That trio makes up the main players, but there are several enjoyable side characters.
Smith, who was gracious enough to answer a few questions of mine about the movie, describes how he came to take on the role of the hunky agent Neil Agar.
Editor's note: Just in case you weren't sure yet... like many other theatrical releases of its era, this film contains abundant skin and frankly sexual references.