Janice Starlin sees that the sales of her cosmetics company are slumping as her customers see that she appears to be (shock horror) getting older (!) Dr Eric Zinthrop, a scientist, finds that he has been able to extract chemicals from royal jelly that can reverse the ageing process. Starlin agrees to become a human subject regarding this but when progress is too slow for her liking she takes additional doses of the chemical. This has disastrous results as she starts to transform into a half-woman, half-wasp type hybrid.
This 1959 film is a fantastic piece of Roger Corman goodness. It’s also a film that I had seen the poster for many many times but had never actually seen. Until now.
I’m pleased to say that it was worth the wait. Not only is it a fantastic piece of 50’s horror that must have truly shocked and astounded audiences when it was released but it also has some perceptive things to say about the role of beauty, youth and cosmetics, particularly regarding women who are held up to more stringent standards regarding these issues than men.
The film’s commentary reminded me of Georges Franju’s masterpiece Les Yeux San Visage and also the episode of the TV show Tales of the Unexpected and the episode called Royal Jelly.
A brilliant time capsule of 1950’s drive-in Americana that tackles wider issues that are more than still relevant today.