Our world is obsessed with youth. The pressure to be young and attractive is even greater on women than it is on men. This pressure seems to be even greater today than ever before. Because it has been such a prominent topic for so long, it’s also been great fodder for movies. One of the most notable movies that tackles that pressure is the 1992 movie, Death Becomes Her, starring Meryl Streep. In that movie, Streep plays a woman who discovers a treatment that will keep her young and beautiful for eternity. As funny as it was, it wasn’t the first movie to go after the pressure facing women. One of the earliest is a B-movie headed by famed B-movie director Roger Corman call The Wasp Woman.
The Wasp Woman is one of Roger Corman’s best B-movies. As cheesy as it was, it was also really great in its own right. In this movie, beauty company head Janice Starlin becomes increasingly obsessed with her looks after a male member of her company’s board mentioned to her that the company’s sales were beginning to fall off because the company tried to use a face other than hers to market its products. So hearing this, she enlists the aid of sort-of mad scientist Eric Zinthrop (Michael Mark), who is testing the effects of queen jelly from the queen wasp in rejuvenating subjects’ youth. At first things seem to go okay. But then things go horribly wrong, leading Starlin to become the hideous Wasp Woman.
The Wasp Woman outfit is cheesy beyond belief. But that’s beside the point. It’s not really what makes this flick so fun. What makes the flick so fun is that whether or not it intentionally made commentary on the impact of the beauty industry and society as a whole, that commentary exists even in this totally funny B-flick that’s perfect for a Halloween party. That the subject behind the story is very real, it makes suspension of disbelief that much easier. And the ability to suspend one’s disbelief goes a long way toward making this movie one of Roger Corman’s greatest classics.
Now fans can watch this classic B-Flick any time they want as it’s been included in Mill Creek’s new 100 Greates Sci-Fi Classics double box set. It’s available in stores and can be ordered online at http://www.millcreekent.com.
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