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SUSAN CABOT HAS STING IN ROGER CORMAN'S 'THE WASP WOMAN'

Susan Cabot in THE WASP WOMAN Year: 1959 Rating: ***1/2

Michael Marks's beekeeper or actually wasp-keeper character Eric Winthrop has all the makings of a mad scientist, or perhaps a kind of "drone" seeking revenge against his bully bosses... 

If it weren't for the utter impatience of Susan Cabot's title character, wanting so badly to be young for her youth cream cosmetics company to keep making sense like before... when she was a true beauty... Winthrop might just have been that kind of murdering antagonist the likes of Dick Miller in another above-average Roger Corman flick that he actually directed before eventually retiring into producer, which he was much better at...

Susan Cabot in THE WASP WOMAN with Michael Marks

However, unlike A BUCKET OF BLOOD, Corman's camerawork is rather bland here and, liken to the "security camera" style footage of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, the lens basically points at the actors and actresses, who often seem like improvising an unfinished script, particularly two grumpy (and annoying) male coworkers...

Thankfully Cabot wields most of the dialogue, a truly beautiful and talented actress... and young too in the same exact year as her sexy gangster's moll reigned over and was much tougher even than Charles Bronson's death-phobic sociopath in MACHINE GUN KELLY... And she's effectively made to look not very young or attractive so that the WASP venom injections could provide the aging cure initially promised by Winthrop, her new employee...

Susan Cabot in THE WASP WOMAN

About the time she turns beautiful again, THE WASP WOMAN herself, a nightmarishly simple masked-devil-face from a child's nightmare that adults can now laugh at but still feel creeped out subconsciously, is revealed...

Yet leading up is more about the building of suspense like an attempted thriller than the horror genre's anticipated monster raging and killing folks; which she does, a little bit, eventually...

Susan Cabot catches a killer buzz in THE WASP WOMAN

What really works about WASP is the progression of what Cabot's Janice Starlin is seeking and how the side-characters/her employees react within and outside her progressively timid presence, including Corman's BUCKET OF BLOOD ingenue Barbaura Morris, also this film's friendly final girl, so to speak... 

Unfortunately more characters live than die since our stinging starlet takes until the last act to rush her shots and finally turn monstrous, which the scientific wasp-keeper, miles from mad at this point and described at one point as merely eccentric, is completely against. Making this B-movie belong entirely to the WASP.

Barboura Morris  and coworkers in THE WASP WOMAN
Susan Cabot in THE WASP WOMAN
Susan Cabot in THE WASP WOMAN
Barboura Morris and her dull beau Anthony Eisley in THE WASP WOMAN
Barboura Morris and Susan Cabot in THE WASP WOMAN
Susan Cabot in THE WASP WOMAN
Susan Cabot in THE WASP WOMAN

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