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The Deadly Bees (1966)

Stupidity reigns in The Deadly Bees, from the opening scene, when an unnamed government ministry gets a letter from a nutter threatening to unleash hordes of killer bees on an unsuspecting public (they throw it in the bin, despite it not being the first missive from said nutter - who has even given his address!).

Quite why they don't take him seriously is anyone's guess - although plot expediency might explain it, I suppose.

Next up you get an impromptu appearance by pop group The Byrds (birds and bees - geddit? Oh, please yourselves) who get through an entire song before someone on the production team remembers they're supposed to be making a film, not Top Of The Pops, and kick starts the script again. After all, Amicus swings like a pendulum don't, as the middle aged men in charge of the company proved again and again...

With the band ushered out of frame, it's time for a solo spot - but the girl due to start lip synching seems a tad upset about something. She manages to get through the song (just) before collapsing in front of the cameras. It turns out this emotionally drained young lady is Suzanna Leigh (who would later crop up looking much less 60s in Hammer's Lust For A Vampire). Anyhoo, she recovers and her doctor recommends a period of convalescence on, you guessed it... Ibiza!

No, Seagull Island, actually. But I had you going...

Of course, on arriving on the island it transpires that there are two blokes who keep bees living there. I wonder which one could be the letter-writing psycho. Is it the obvious red herring, or the slightly weird one? I'll give you a tip - in films like this, it's a safe bet to go for the cardigan wearing one and discount the hunky, shirt-open-to-the-waist one immediately.

Of course, the next thing to cross your mind (after noting that Hammer's main publican Michael Ripper is back behind a bar) is "where are the bees?". Don't worry, here they come in a hail of not very convincing SFX - next thing you know, the dog's dead. The next to buy the farm is Mrs Hargrove, the wife of the hunky red herring - who's also busy knocking off Michael Ripper's daughter. Keeping up? It doesn't matter, really.

For some reason the blokes at the ministry discount the report of a woman being stung to death on the same island as the bloke making the bee-related threats as pure coincidence (is it any wonder our rail system is in such a shambles?).

There's a bit more running about, and at one point Mr Hargrove gets to shout at Ripper: "His bees killed my wife and attacked your daughter - don't you understand? He's a homicidal maniac!" Which raised a smile.

The film ends with Vicky (our heroine) setting fire to not one but two houses (value for money there, then), the ministry man turning up too late, and the comment: "I suppose the pop world will seem quite dull after Seagull Island..."

It will the way she sings, mate.

Director: Freddie Francis Writer(s): Robert Bloch H.F. Heard (novel A Taste for Honey), Anthony Marriott

Cast: Suzanna Leigh - Vicki Robbins, Guy Doleman - Ralph Hargrove, Frank Finlay - H.W. Manfred, Michael Ripper - David Hawkins, Katy Wild - Doris Hawkins, Catherine Finn - Mary Hargrove, Maurice Good - Vicki's Agent, John Harvey - Inspector Thompson, Tim Barrett - Detective Hargrove, Anthony Bailey - Compere, James Cossins - Seagull Island Coroner, Alister Williamson - Seagull Island Police Inspector, Frank Forsyth - Seagull Island Doctor, Michael Gwynn - Dr. George Lang, psychologist, Greta Farrer - Vicki's Sister, Gina Gianelli - Secretary, Kim Gardner - Himself, member of The Birds, Pete McDaniel - Himself, member of The Birds, Ali McKenzie - Himself, member of The Birds, Tony Munroe - Himself, member of The Birds, Ron Wood - Himself, member of The Birds

 

Last updated: February 22, 2010

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