I’ve never been accused of having an international flair. Hell, I’m lucky if I don’t knock over half my collectibles when stumbling awake in the morning. Therefore, I am thankful that reel EPIC entertainment provides a true continental experience, for everyone, by including haunted offerings from Spain, England and America in their latest terror anthology, The Horror Network, Volume 1.
Nicely, the five short subjects included are beautiful directed, filmed and acted. The production, also, sets itself apart from other offerings by allowing its fright fueled antics to originate from very real life horrors. Thus, such subjects as war crimes, pedophilia, child napping and domestic violence are given fantastical and, occasionally, true to life treatment, here.
Therefore, those expecting the goofy antics of Creepshow or old school Amicus collections may be slightly put off, but those wishing to experience some genuine and emotionally viable horror will find plenty to intrigue them with these smart and often ultra-artistic nightmares.
Indeed, 1966’s truly fun The Deadly Bees takes pop star Vicki Robbins (the exquisite Suzanna Leigh from The Lost Continent and Lust for a Vampire) from fur stained Top of the Pops settings to the green and relaxing countryside. Of course, her restorative vacation is soon endangered when a mad scientist (disguised as a kindly neighbor) starts sending his killer bees on a variety of death filled errands.
Obviously filmed long before the prevalence of CGI, The Deadly Bees does contain tons of blatantly artificial effects work. The actors, here, are (often laughingly) covered with mighty mounds of superimposed bees during the attack scenes. In fact, rumor has it that these blanketing creatures were created by dunking coffee grounds in vats of water. Mrs. Folgers must be really pissed, huh!?!
But, while this vicious entry, directed by the iconic Freddie Francis, is considered by Amicus scholars to be one of that venerable studio’s weakest efforts, time seemingly has been kind to this buzzing creation. Quaint and charming, it is enlivened by it’s distinguished British performers and the vibrant Leigh. It is truly a pleasant throwback and, certainly, as one of the first killer bees films available, a cultural artifact, as well.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!