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A cosmetics executive's search for eternal beauty turn her into a monster.
Upon being fired from the Honey Fresh honey bee farm company for conducting personal experiments on wasps, chemist Dr. Eric Zinthrop offers his trial results to Starlin Enterprises, a cosmetics firm. Zinthrop explains to company chief Janice Starlin that he has discovered that enzymes from queen wasp royal jelly reverses aging. Having represented her company in advertising for eighteen years, Janice and her board have concluded that the firm's recent drop in sales may have to do with her aging appearance. Interested in Zinthrop's project, Janice asks her own chemist, Arthur Cooper, for his opinion, but he cautions her that queen wasps are dangerous and deadly. After witnessing the transformation of old mice into young ones after Zinthrop's injection, however, Janice hires the chemist and authorizes complete freedom and secrecy in his experiments. Zinthrop is taken aback when Janice insists that she be his next test subject, but ultimately agrees. At the next board meeting, Janice introduces Zinthrop, announcing that he will work on a project that will revitalize the company. Later, board member Bill Lane confides in Janice's assistant and his girl friend, Mary Dennison, that he suspects Zinthrop may be a charlatan. When Cooper tells the couple he believes Zinthrop is a dangerous quack, Bill asks Mary secretly to report Zinthrop and Janice's actions to him. After several weeks of accumulating the amount of royal jelly necessary, Zinthrop meets with Janice for the first injection, advising her that it may take time for the results to become apparent. Zinthrop recommends that after the test results are positively confirmed, Janice and Cooper should develop the product as a facial cream which would take longer to work, but likely raise profits for the company enormously. Janice takes the injections for three weeks and is dismayed when they have no results. Meanwhile, under pressure from Bill, Mary searches Janice's office and finds the original proposal letter from Zinthrop outlining his wasp experiments. When Cooper examines the letter with Bill and Mary, he expresses surprise that Janice would involve herself in so risky a project. Frustrated by the lack of results from the treatments, Janice, unknown to Zinthrop, begins sneaking into the lab at night to give herself a higher dosage of the injections. After several days, Janice arrives at work rejuvenated and beautiful, prompting amazement from her staff and management. Janice and the board enthusiastically devise a new advertising campaign to "grow younger with Janice Starlin" using the new product. A few days later, Zinthrop arrives in the laboratory and to his horror finds a cat that he has injected with the serum has partially transmuted into a wasp-like creature. The wasp-cat creature attacks the scientist, who is forced to kill it. Dismayed over this unexpected turn, Zinthrop falls into despair and, walking out into the street, is struck by a car. Frustrated by the continued secrecy of Zinthrop's work, Cooper breaks into the laboratory and discovers the chemist's notes. Later, Janice becomes aware of Zinthrop's absence when she seeks him out to mention having constant headaches. When the chemist cannot be located, Janice hires a detective to find him. That afternoon, at a local hospital, the detective finds a "John Doe" matching Zinthrop's description suffering from serious head injuries. Janice arranges for expert medical care and secretly continues to inject herself with the wasp royal jelly serum. Having studied Zinthrop's notes, Cooper believes he has found something unusual and returns to the lab, where he comes upon Janice, who has mutated into a wasp figure that attacks and kills Cooper. A couple of days later, Zinthrop comes out of a coma and Janice, now in human form, has him transferred with a nurse to the Starlin building, dismissing mounting concern over Cooper's continued absence. The next evening, Janice discovers to her dismay that the wasp serum has run out. Later, a night watchman mysteriously disappears near the laboratory. The following day, concerned over Cooper's disappearance, Bill tells Mary he must visit the lab and she insists on accompanying him. Increasingly overcome by severe headaches, Janice goes to the semiconscious Zinthrop and, breaking down, confides that "something strange" has occurred to her that she cannot control. Although the chemist remains dazed, Janice pleads with him to develop more serum. Hearing the agitated discussion, the nurse enters Zinthrop's room and is terrified to see Janice, whose trauma has triggered another transformation. Zinthrop revives long enough to see the wasp woman attack and kill the nurse. Meanwhile Bill and Mary find Zinthrop's notes and Bill speculates that Cooper and the watchman have been murdered. Suspecting Zinthrop is the key to the deaths, the couple visits him in his room, where the hysterical chemist incoherently struggles to describe the attack on the nurse. Bill sends Mary in search of Janice, who has fled to her office, confused and maddened by the continuing headaches. Mary finds Janice, now in human form, and excitedly insists they call the police, but Janice refuses and instead takes Mary to the lab. Zinthrop has calmed down enough to tell Bill he must get Mary away from Janice, when the men hear screams. Bill races to the lab and Zinthrop follows slowly. When the chemist arrives in the lab, Bill is struggling with the transformed Janice. Zinthrop grabs a bottle of carbolic acid and, warning Bill, hurls it at the wasp woman who, burning and in pain, tumbles out of the window to the street forty-four floors below. As Zinthrop collapses, Bill finds Mary safe and unharmed.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1959||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Allied Artists Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||The Filmgroup, Inc.|
|Duration(mins):||66 or 73||Country:||United States|
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A Cautionary Tale
disinterested spectator 2014-07-20
This movie is about what happens to people who do not accept their lot in life and just accept the fact that they are getting old, which makes those of us...
To Alice, who wrote the review above. I agree with you. I love the 1950's sci-fi/horror the best. My thanks to TCM for bringing us these movies....
a good thing
Wasp Woman has been called a "typical 50's horror movie". That may be so. But, give me any or all of those 50's horror movies which...