Blu-Ray Review: The Bees

Published on March 1st, 2016 in: Blu-Ray, DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reissues, Retrovirus, Reviews, Underground/Cult |

By Jeffery X Martin

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Mother Nature always gives us humans a little something to be afraid of. Fire ants, hurricanes, just some little nudge to remind us that the links on the food chain are weak and interchangeable. In the late 1970s, the big scare was killer bees, super-aggressive buggers that migrated from Mexico into the United States. They attacked in swarms and wouldn’t stop, even after their prey was dead.

These bees became the subject for a few nature-run-amok movies. None of them were particularly good (see Irwin Allen’s The Swarm for some high-level bad moviemaking), but none of them were quite as earnest or weird as Alfredo Zacarias’s exploitation movie, The Bees.

If you love bad movies, all the ingredients are here for things to go south in a hurry. For instance, the entire United Nations is made up of South American actors, meaning no one has the right accent. If you can get past that, then you’ll have no problem swallowing John Saxon as a government recognized bee expert or John Carradine as a German insect researcher.

Zacarias, who brought us the immortally goofy Demonoid, really brings the noise with this movie. Bees are thrown at the screen by the tankful, like someone put a Shop-Vac in reverse and began shooting insects into the air all willy-nilly. He also managed to weasel a pro-environment message into the story, something that other killer bee movies of the time didn’t do. It’s kind of a silly message, but it’s an attempt at something higher, which deserves some respect.

The Vinegar Syndrome Blu-Ray release of The Bees looks fantastic, but is still disappointingly bare bones. There is an interview with director Zacarias, which is highly entertaining, but that’s the only peek behind the scenes we get. I was hoping for insight into the fine art of bee wrangling.

There have been killer bee movies with higher budgets and more recognizable cast members, but none of them as entertaining as The Bees. This movie may have some tongue in cheek moments, but its heart is definitely in the right place.

The Bees was released as a Blu-Ray/DVD set by Vinegar Syndrome on February 23.

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