Wasp Woman, The

1952. THE WASP WOMAN (1960-usa). WITH Susan Cabot, Fred (Anthony) Eisley. Produced and directed by ROGER CORMAN. Legendary independent filmmaker Roger Corman is the man behind this most entertaining horror movie, which offers food for thought as it effectively builds up tension. As the film opens, a minor character notes that a wasp “can sting a man to death,” an observation which serves as a harbinger of things to come. As in the best horror films, there is an obsessed scientist named Zinthrop. He’s a researcher who has been exploring the possibilities inherĂ‚ent in “royal jelly,” a substance produced by wasps. To his frustration, everyone writes Zinthrop off as an oddball, even as he is on the verge of a “great discovery.” It’s a process allowing him to extract the jelly from the queen wasp (which, it also is not so subtly noted, is carnivorous and eats its mate alive). The result, Zinthrop exclaims, is that he has learned how to “slow down the process of aging. Soon, I shall be able to reverse it entirely.” Cut to a Big City cosmetics firm. Once a million-dollar business, sales have lately been dropping and Janice, its founder, is none too pleased. Janice has built her empire on youth and beauty, but now she is past forty, scared to death, and “intent on holding back time.” Zinthrop comes to her with his formula; she volunteers to act as human guinea pig; and, soon, she shows up at her office looking “23, maybe 22…It’s like a dream.” Only trouble is, what about side effects? That, of course, is where the film’s title comes in. There is a moral of sorts lo all this: it’s not nice to tamper with Mother Nature! 74 minutes. Horror-Suspense