The Deadly Bees

1966

Action / Drama / Horror / Mystery / Thriller

1
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 11%
IMDb Rating 3.5 10 1459

Synopsis


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Cast

Frank Finlay as H.W. Manfred
Katy Wild as Doris Hawkins
720p 1080p
598.94 MB
1280*720
English
PG
23.976 fps
1hr 24 min
P/S 1 / 0
1.26 GB
1920*1080
English
PG
23.976 fps
1hr 24 min
P/S 6 / 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Chris. 7 / 10

Gripping Hammer horror style mystery

A London pop star suffering exhaustion is sent to convalesce in the country-side where she encounters a toxic mix of deranged ambition and a hybridized strain of killer bees that threatens not only her fragile sanity, but also her life. Leigh is a relative lightweight amongst her accomplished co-stars, with Doleman as the no-nonsense farmer and Finlay as his eccentric neighbour jostling for position as the dominant bee keeper. It's a rather unusual premise on which to base a complex whodunit, but provides a surprisingly strong basis for the mystery to unfold. Doleman's strained relationship with his apparently invalided wife, and the curiosities of relationships in an isolated rural community serve as an intervening backdrop to the troubled Leigh and her increasing concern at the strange events she witnesses.

Veteran Hammer-horror director Francis has crafted an eerie little mystery, lacking none of the essential ingredients of a conventional mystery, with the notable exception of an impartial investigator. Most of the detective work is done by the protagonists, drip feeding the naive Leigh with twisted facts to conjure alibis and implicate the culprit. Francis does a fine job of concealing the mystery, carefully playing the doubt card, and tempering clues with red herrings and faux staging.

Opening to the groovy fusion of art-house pop culture, Leigh's character is framed as a victim of excesses in a progressive London scene (there's an implied drug addiction, but it's vague) and from there, the film juxtaposes to the opposite extreme - an ultra conservative, socially incestuous rural setting, a deep isolation both geographically and socially for the central character. It's an engaging tussle between old-fashioned values and an emerging modern liberalism.

Slated by critics, the film almost cheats itself with its bold title, because it's not ostensibly a movie of this genre. The bees are present as a vehicle only, and certainly they have comparably little to offer by way of shock value. But the intrigue that the many layers build, is compelling. Try it from a different angle and you may like what you find.

Reviewed by ShadeGrenade 8 / 10

Skullduggery on Seagull Island!

Most of the I.M.D.B. reviews of this film appear to be of the 'Mystery Science Theatre 3000' comedy version, rather than the original. With all due respect, I fail to see how anyone can objectively comment on a film when all they have seen is a send-up. It would be like someone who's never viewed 'The Elephant Man' ( 1980 ) looking at a photograph of John Hurt as he is in real life and trying to guess what he looks like as 'John Merrick'!

'The Deadly Bees' ( 1967 ) is one of Amicus' lesser offerings. Based on the novel 'Taste Of Honey' by H.F. Heard ( a title they could not have used then as Rita Tushingham would have had something to say about it! ), it was written by Robert Bloch ( author of 'Psycho' ) and Anthony Marriott ( who wrote for 'The Avengers' amongst other things ), and directed by Freddie Francis. Susanna Leigh is 'Vicki Robbins', a pop singer who collapses in the midst of a 'Ready Steady Go' type show ( which curiously lacks a live audience ). Suffering from nervous exhaustion, she is ordered to take time off from her hectic schedule. She goes to Seagull Island, where it seems only five people live ( including Michael Ripper as a pub landlord ). She moves in with the Hargroves ( Guy Doleman and Catherine Finn ). Hubby Ralph is a creepy type who keeps bees, and strangely makes no attempt to have his way with Vicki. She decides to investigate his furtive behaviour ( such as using a syringe to extract blood from a horse ), and suspects he may have perfected a way of controlling swarms of bees so that they can attack people. Another beekeeper, 'Manfred' ( Frank Finlay ) befriends her. Several bee attacks take place, and Vicki herself becomes a victim...

Leigh is a lovely lady ( who put me in mind of Wendy Craig ) who appeared in several '60's films, including Tony Curtis' 'Boeing, Boeing' and 'Deadlier Than The Male' ( both 1966 ). She's no great shakes as an actress, and the part does not require her to do more than clean her teeth and look scared. The then-unknown Elkie Brooks dubbed her singing voice. Doleman is best remembered as the dour 'Colonel Ross' from 'The Ipcress File' ( 1965 ) and its sequels, while Finlay later headlined notorious '70's dramas 'Casanova' and 'Bouquet Of Barbed Wire'. Tim Barrett appears briefly as a pompous Whitehall official who has received threats from the mysterious bee master.

The mystery at the heart of this story is not terribly difficult to solve. The island is too under populated for that. The bee attacks - though crudely done - are nevertheless effective. Had Amicus ever made a 'Journey To The Unknown'-type anthology series ( as Hammer did ), this would have been perfect for inclusion.

Things To Look Out For - a cameo from chart-topping group 'The Byrds'!

Another reviewer said this made 'The Swarm' look good. I disagree. Nothing in this film compares to the sheer stupidity of Richard Chamberlain and Jose Ferrer flapping their arms in slow motion as the bees invade a nuclear power station. And here the bees look real ( though a little over-sized in some shots ) unlike the Styrofoam pellets thrown at the camera lens in Irwin Allen's notorious 1976 stinker!

Reviewed by Paul Andrews ([email protected]) 7 / 10

"My wife doesn't seem to realise the amount of work involved in bee farming." I quite liked it actually.

The Deadly Bees starts in London where Inspector Thompson (John Harvey) of some unnamed Government Ministry receives a letter from a nutter who says he will release 1000's of deadly killer bees on an unsuspecting public, he has a quick laugh about it & throws the letter into the bin despite the nutter even giving his address on the ominous sounding 'Seagull Island'... Pop singer Vicki Robins (Suzanna Leigh) has been working far too hard lately & collapses while performing in a TV studio, her agent (Maurice Good) suggests she spend a couple of relaxing weeks with a friend of his on, yep you've guessed it, Seagull Island. Vicki arrives on the isolated Isalnd & meets up with Ralph Hargrove (Guy Doleman) & his wife Mary (Catherine Finn) who welcome her into their home, Vicki quickly learns that Ralph is a bee farmer & the next person she meets Mr. Manfred (Frank Finlay) is also a bee keeper. The people of Seagull Island seem to have bees on the brain & they come up in the conversation more often than one would expect, however it's not long before Vicki finds herself embroiled in a scheme involving killer bees that can be controlled to do their owner's evil bidding...

Produced by British studio Amicus The Deadly Bees was directed by genre veteran Freddie Francis & I have to say I quite liked it despite it's daftness & somewhat predictable storyline. The script by Robert Bloch & Anthony Marriott is based on the novel 'A Taste for Honey' by H.F. Heard & the central premise is rather silly & takes itself a little too seriously, why does someone want to develop a swarm of killer bees in the first place? The plot which tries to keep the villains identity a secret & then surprise everyone at the end, well I can assure you now that you would have to be pretty dumb not to see where The Deadly Bees is going as the script tries it's absolute hardest to convince you one way with unconvincing red-herrings that you just know there's more to it. I also found the bizarre sub-plot about Mr. & Mrs. Hargrove having the hump with each other somewhat puzzling & we never find out why they dislike each other so much or why Mrs. Hargrove is so rude to Doris (Katy Wild) the hired help! The villains speech at the films climax is also worth a mention as it feels & sounds like something out of a Scooby-Doo episode with the villain explaining it all nicely complete with flashbacks & how they did it. Having said that at only just over 80 minutes it moves along at a nice pace I was never bored, I found it quite fun & entertaining on a dumb level. There are only a few bee attacks & they are not graphic so don't expect a high body count or lots of gore.

Director Francis can't do much to liven things up unfortunately but does a decent job with the material at hand, the bee attacks themselves are poorly realised with some terrible special optical effects where the bees are super imposed over the actor who has to react & seem afraid to nothing, there are also a few plastic bees stuck on people but they don't move or anything. There is one cool scene though where the camera has a bee in close-up on someone's skin & we see it fly off without it's sting as it comes off in the wound. I really liked the 60's look to the film with the dated hair styles, clothes, furniture & the horrible garish wallpaper colours! Did people really choose to have wallpaper those colours?

Technically The deadly Bees is solid throughout with nice photography, location shooting, music & production values although those special effects won't impress anyone these days & some of the 'exterior' shots are obviously studio bound. The acting is OK but nothing special, I have no idea why but the IMDb cast list credits someone named Percy Edwards as the voice of Tess the Dog! I can promise you now there are no talking dogs in this film so why did he provide the voice? Why couldn't the filmmakers just record a normal dog barking?

Despite it's flaws & silliness I liked The Deadly Bees, it had a certain charm about it & it entertained me for 80 odd minutes which at the end of the day is all I ask for. Personally I think it's worth at least one watch.

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