18 April 2014

The Deadly Bees (1967)
83 min.
Directed by Freddie Francis.
With Suzanna Leigh, Frank Finlay, Guy Doleman, Catherine Finn, John Harvey, Michael Ripper, Anthony Bailey, Tim Barrett, James Cossins.
A sturdy little Amicus horror flick based on the novel A Taste of Honey by H.F. Heard.

Pop singer Vicki Robbins (Leigh) suffers a nervous breakdown. On the advice of her doctor, she decides to spend a few weeks vacation on remote Seagull Island, boarding with farmer Ralph Hargrove (Doleman) and his wife Mary (Finn).

But unfortunately, rest and relaxation won't be on the menu for Vicki. Seems oddball Ralph raises numerous hives of live bees on his farm. And as swarms of them begin attacking helpless folks in the area, it just might be that Ralph's buzzy critters are savage killers! Or is there more here than meets the eye?

Scripted by PSYCHO writer Robert Bloch and directed by Hammer Studios regular Freddie Francis, this British horror effort is pretty solid stuff. Leigh makes for a fetching lead, and she alone maintains interest throughout.

There are also some decidedly nasty moments of ruthless terror in Deadly Bees, most notably Finn's stinging demise. The pastoral setting is nicely used, and the whole thing is likable enough that you'll forgive the slightly loopy ending.

All in all, this would make a great double feature with the exceptional 1976 TV horror The Savage Bees.

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