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The Bees (1978) - Blu-ray Review

4 beersCorporations largely suck.  On that point, we can probably all agree.  Corporations smuggling killer bees into the United States; however, suck a little bit more than the rest.  Insanely goofy with random bee attacks and superimposed bee swarms causing planes to crash, The Bees is one of those rare suckfest flicks that truly is so bad it’s good.

Killer bees were a hot item during the making of this one.  Yes, it rips from Irwin Allen’s monstrously awful The Swarm without a second thought and, yes, its science is flawed, but so what?!  This flick is stupid fun, complete with stock footage of bees and people running to and fro screaming as they brush bees away from their blistering faces.  You get John Carradine talking to bees in one moment and John Saxon wooing Angel Tompkins, who has snuck in some killer bees via airline to show him, with science babble about his nether region to boot.

This is the b-movie territory of The Bees, a 1978 eco thriller from director Alfredo Zacarías (Demonoid).  It is both awful and side-splittingly hilarious.  Opening with villagers up in arms about the endless bee-stinging of a small boy and his father, a group descends upon a local bee scientist’s property and demands justice.  Their chant of killing the "devil bees" he harvests is refuted by the scientist in a broken accent of simple english usually reserved to talking with dimwitted people.  It's awful to witness and awfully hilarious, too. 

When their chanting drowns out the lanky scientist, they break in his house and trash it, eventually setting fire to the property and locking his wife in a closet.  Thus, the thunderous swarming of devil bees – with a swanky and largely inappropriate Latin-flavored score to guide it – begins.  Thankfully, though, they are only in Mexico...for now.

What follows is a hilarious onslaught of stock footage, bad acting, and tons of preferred recreational activities being disrupted by hundreds and hundreds of bees.  The swarms of angry bees torment men, women, little boys and even little doe-eyed innocent girls.  Whether fetching a lost ball or in a parade to see President Ford, the bees show civilians no mercy and no favoritism at all.

Released by Roger Corman’s New World Pictures and mainly shot in Mexico, The Bees has everything from corporate espionage to kung fu and, as we get nothing answered by the loopy plot, it remains one of the better examples we have of authentic weirdness in 1970s cinema.

Vinegar Syndrome presents the Director’s Cut of The Bees in all its drive-in glory with a newly restored (in 2k) print from the original 35mm interpositive.  This disaster film has never looked as good as it does here.

No one is safe from The Bees!


[tab title="Details"]

The Bees (1978) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG.
83 mins
: Alfredo Zacarías
Alfredo Zacarías
John Saxon, Angel Tompkins, John Carradine
: Horror
They prey on HUMAN FLESH!
Memorable Movie Quote: "There's been a mutation. A new strain. Well, it's out of control."
Theatrical Distributor:
New World Pictures.
Official Site:
Release Date:
November, 1978
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 23, 2016
Synopsis: Evil corporations have smuggled a deadly strain of South American killer bees into the United States and now the entire world may be on the brink of imminent destruction! As cities tumble, body counts rise, and mass hysteria ensues, scientist John Norman (John Saxon) thinks he might have discovered the secret strategy to stop THE BEES!


[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

The Bees (1978) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Newly scanned and restored in 2k from 35mm camera negative

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray
- February 23, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray/DVD Combo
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

The new transfer from Vinegar Syndrome is presented in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.  While the film uses and abuses stock footage, the material shot especially for the movie is blistering with detail.  Shadows burst with layers and defined edges, too.  The locations are as seedy as they sound and the dirt on the ground in the opening can, in fact, be felt and tasted.  That’s how expressive the new transfer is when it comes to detail.  While there are noticeable limitations in some of the make-up and other effects, the 1080p transfer punctuates the good parts of the b-movie, too.  So many pretty, pretty people for the bees to assault.  The sound is presented in an adequate DTS-HD track.



  • None

Special Features:

The Blu-ray/DVD Combo features an interview with director Alfredo Zacarias, the original theatrical trailer, and reversible cover work.

  • Alfredo Zacarias Interview
  • Original Theatrical Trailer.


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[tab title="Art"]The Bees (1978) - Blu-ray Review