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Monday, March 5, 2018

The Savage Bees (1976)




I knew that we would eventually circle back around to some killer bees. Just like Bigfoot insects running amok were another favorite subject of the made for T.V. movies, with Bees showing up many times. I’ve already reviewed Killer Bees but now it is time for The Savage Bees! You know I’m very excited because this movie has had some good buzz around it… Couldn’t help myself.

Things start off with an accident at sea just off the coast of New Orleans. A smaller cargo ship is rammed and sunk when it strays into the path of a much larger vessel. Initially they think that there must have been a sickness that disabled the crew, but soon enough discover that it was actually an aggressive hybrid African Killer Bee strain! Though not right away. It is up to a local sheriff who finds his dog dead and the assistant coroner who conveniently has an ex who is studying insects to sort things out. 

The first attempt to destroy the killer hive, with the help of an expert from Brazil, goes horribly wrong when some drunks show up and get killed. But when that happens the bees swarm on the nearest red object, a VW Beetle driven by the coroner’s ex. So, they decide to drive the swarm into the Super Dome to freeze them. But she is almost out of gas and the bees keep getting in the engine! Will she make it? Can the air-conditioning in the stadium get things cold enough? Will they get them all?

Michael Parks was such a great actor!
The answers are no, but they push the car with a police cruiser. Yes, because all the bees fall asleep at exactly 45 degrees. No because we see a bee and there is a sequel! Well questions answered so I’m done here. Okay just kidding. Truth is I still like this movie, though not as much as I used to. The idea of the bees swarming and stinging someone to death used to scare the hell out of me. Unlike the ants from the previous review this doesn’t affect me as much as it used to. That said this is still a solid movie. The pacing is brisk, we get to the bees fast enough, and there is plenty of them to make things seem dangerous.

The cast has some familiar faces with the legendary Ben Johnson playing the sheriff whose dog is killed. He gets a decent amount of screen time and does a solid job. James Best has a small role as the deputy mayor and also does a good job in the few scenes he is in. But for me the best part about The Savage Bees is Michael Parks, whom most of you will recognize from his later work with Tarantino and Kevin Smith. Same delivery and gravelly voice in a much younger actor. He carries much of the movie and is great. He alone is worth spending an hour and a half with this one.

This is a decent movie that honestly is probably better than Ants! but doesn’t play to me personally because bees don’t freak me out like that. Still Parks is awesome, and you get to see a giant swarm of actual bees being used by the filmmakers. No CGI back in the day just lots of bee wrangling. The link above should take you to a YouTube landing page where you can watch The Savage Bees, so your only investment will be some time.



© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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