Thursday, March 17, 2011

Futuristic Super Women!

I recently watched two films back-to-back, completely by accident, that dealt with the same thing: futuristic super women bent on world domination.

Invasion of the Bee Girls (Dennis Sanders, 1973) came first. Well, in the order I watched them. Now, I am all for a race of super women taking over the world, but this method is a little too hardcore for me. A loopy scientist, Dr. Susan Harris (Anitra Ford) has figured out a process to combine women with bees, and is in search of a queen. The queen bee must be fertile, so there are numerous sexcapades that end in murder. Oddly, none of the bee girls make bee babies, so they keep making new bee girls and performing the sex-you-to-death ritual.

For a bad movie this one is surprisingly good. Hammer vixen Veronica Vetri stars as Julie, a researcher that is all nerd. Vetri does a great job with it. She's got some Steve Urkel going on at times and is quite funny. While for the most part they try to play this one straight, it definitely gets its tongue in its cheek here and there. It streams on Netflix and is worth a watch when you don't know what else to watch.

You might also want to check out the review at the Movies About Girls blog.

Next came The Girl from Rio (Jess Franco, 1969), aka Rio 70, The Seven Secrets of Sumuru, Future Women, or Mothers of America. Probably numerous other titles exist. This is another Jess Franco/Harry Alan Towers film of Sax Rohmer material.

This is another high-point in Franco's career. Like Venus in Furs it has all the Franco elements at their very best. There are some truly artistic shots, and great landscape use. This is very much a comic strip movie, likely in the tradition of Danger Diabolik (I apologize for having never seen that one). These are not so much super heroes and villains as they are extremely talented people. The film is full of comic strip angles, and quirky imagery. One group of bad guys runs around in a fleet of odd-looking hearses. At times it has a The Avengers feel. That's Steed and Peel, not the comic book ones.

Sumuru (Shirley Eaton) is bent on world domination by women, and is building her infrastructure. The problem is I am not sure I ever understood what her plan was. The story is nicely complicated. It seems trite at times, then you realize there was a bit of a twist. Sure, it is likely still trite, but it is at least better than you initially thought. Maria Rohm is awesome, and I did not even recognize her at first.

This one is easy to get if you want to buy it. The Blue Underground edition is nicely restored and as usual contains an interview with Franco, as well as Towers and Eaton.

So, I am likely ready for enslavement (I am already a contractor), though being pointlessly bonked to death is, while high on my list of ways to die, not high on my list of things to hope for. Aw, what the hell? Bring it on, Futuristic Super Women. Do your worst!


Dave Tackett said...

Invasion of the Bee Girls is also available as a free download at the Internet Archive

It was the first film Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II, IV, and VI) wrote which gives it some bonus cred for a "bee" movie.

dfordoom said...

I love both these movies too. Great high camp fun.

Darius Whiteplume said...

@Dave - Cool. I would have grabbed some stills, but it is such a pain on Netflix. Re Meyer; wow, he wrote some of the better ones. Nice.

@DfD - They are both pretty sweet. Unpretentious fun.

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