(director: Jim Wynorski; screenwriters: from the screenplay by Leo Gordon/Guy Prevost/Daniella Purcell; cinematographer: Michael Mickens; editor: Dan Holland; music: Terry Plumeri; cast: Jennifer Rubin (Janice Starlin), Doug Wert (Alec), Daniel J. Travanti (Dr. Zinthorp), Melissa Brasselle (Mary), Maria Ford (Caitlin), Richard Gabai (Nick), Gerrit Graham (Arthur), Jay Richardson (John Talbot); Runtime: 90; Showtime/New Horizons; 1995)

“It’s a dull and unbearable work, all the fun from the original was taken out and the film was left with no sting.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A made-for-cable remake of Roger Corman’s 1959 AIP campy horror film, The Wasp Woman. Corman was co-producer of this version. It’s a dull and unbearable work, all the fun from the original was taken out and the film was left with no sting.

Janice Starlin (Rubin) is an aging model for the cosmetic company she owns. Her boyfriend Alec (Wert) is also her photographer. After working on a photo shoot Alec’s assistant Nick (Gabai) comments to his friend that Janice reminds him of his mother — as he’s unaware that she heard his insensitive remark.

Janice’s sneaky right-hand man, Arthur (Graham), has lined up an investor to buy into her privately held company, John Talbot (Richardson). Arthur gets a kickback if the sale goes through. Talbot suggests that since the fortysomething woman is losing business recently because the public can’t accept her aging, that she hire a younger model to be the company’s trademark. Under pressure from her board of directors, a young attractive blonde, Caitlin (Ford), is hired.

This gets the vain Janice very jealous, especially when she sees that Caitlin is also attracted to Alec.

Janice’s loyal assistant, Mary (Brasselle), goes to the library on her boss’ orders and researches info on wasps. Janice, looking for any solution, visits a research scientist, Dr. Zinthorp (Travanti), who is doing radical experiments with wasp hormones. He has produced an untested serum to stop the aging process and can even reduce one’s age. Janice convinces the reluctant scientist to make her the first human guinea pig.

The good news is that the serum works and restores Janice’s beauty. She now miraculously looks like a 25-year-old. The bad news is that the serum has a side-effect: Janice turns into a psychopathic monster killer, looking like a giant wasp with huge breasts.

The best killing takes place when Janice gets revenge on Arthur for double-crossing her and acting as a spy for Talbot: she bites off his genitalia while suited-up in her silly looking wasp outfit.

The acting was limp, the script was horrid, the directing was flat, and the film was schlocky. There’s an art in making these sort of B-films that Corman had, but this filmmaker doesn’t show that skill.

The Wasp Woman Poster