If you were at the drive-in theater in the 70s, you might have seen this film in all its glory. The movie is now out of copyright, and there are only two versions available: the 'cheap' version copied from VHS tapes, and the nicer MGM product taken from the original film, but missing parts of at least one well-loved scene.
Many people associated with this film went on to have... interesting careers. It was written by Nicholas Meyer (Wrath of Khan) – his agent talked him out of removing his name from the credits!
As the movie begins, an older man is found dead in a local motel, his face contorted. He turns out to be Dr. Grubowsky, a scientist from the Brandt research facility. Cause of death? Sexual exhaustion!
Local police detective Captain Peters (played by long-time character actor Cliff Osmond) is soon joined by State Department agent Neil Agar (William Smith, who worked everything from Batman to Rockford Files to Red Dawn) to find out what is going on, and to protect government-sponsored research at Brandt! Is it time to call in the National Guard? Will the townspeople rise up?
As men continue to die, who could be behind it? Is Brandt's chief bee researcher really in Europe? What about 'ice cold' Dr. Susan Harris (Anitra Ford, who would go on to be a model on The Price is Right gameshow), his assistant? Or Brandt chief Julie Zorn (played by Victoria Vetri, former Playmate of the Year, who would later serve time for attempted murder), the last one to see Dr. Grubowsky alive?
And why are the widows transforming into such beautiful women? (Katie Saylor, who plays the widow Grubowsky, would go on to play the part-Atlantean, part-alien Liana in Fantastic Journey.)
The movie is an odd blend of styles, as if the movie can't decide whether to be serious or campy. The Bee Girls' idea of seducing men is to take their clothes off… so yes, there's a lot of female nudity in this movie. And sex. The laboratory scene in which a Bee Girl is created is remarkable. There's a gay subplot that's poorly explained and borderline offensive. The attempted rape scene is regrettable and lame, as is the ending.
Anitra Ford is the stand-out performer in this film, both in terms of talent and a major nude scene; Victoria Vetri is surprisingly good as an aloof administrator who eventually shows her cute nerdy side, but the script doesn't give her a lot to do; and there are some fun performances from character actors playing scientists and actresses asked to transform from 'dowdy' older wives to sex-bombs in low-cut black dresses!
Can you game it? Well, the movie does have five trucks' worth of troops in it, but the type of conflict is not really suited for the miniature wargaming tabletop.
It certainly wasn't the movie I expected. If you like sci-fi/horror with lots of scantily clad women, this might appeal to you.