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      The Savage Bees

      1976 1h 39m Horror List
      Reviews 31% Audience Score Fewer than 50 Ratings When a boat from Brazil turns up in New Orleans with a crew of dead men aboard, local authorities are perplexed. Not long after, Sheriff Donald McKew's (Ben Johnson) dog turns up dead, too, and the local coroner (Michael Parks) identifies the culprit as killer bees. Realizing that the swarm must have come in on the boat, McKew and his entomologist girlfriend, Jeannie (Gretchen Corbett), race to find the hive before the bees can disrupt the Mardi Gras festival. Read More Read Less

      Critics Reviews

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      Mike Scott Times-Picayune An un-self-consciously preposterous made-for-TV flick ... it endures for all the wrong reasons, but that kind of makes it enjoyable as empty-calorie, guilty-pleasure fun. Rated: 1/4 Jul 14, 2023 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy Fairly decent. Rated: 2.5/4 Aug 7, 2022 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Josh G You've seen Jaws, now see the bees or don't like jaws we don't see the shark, and people talk but the conversations aren't interesting. The actors are given a boring script and tension that left when the channel changed on this Tv dud. There is a sequel I will watch it and hope the suffering is less. This movie is so disappointing the description and credits rule though...... Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 12/20/22 Full Review Audience Member My Maw Maw and sisters were stars in this award winning film. Fond memories. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/29/23 Full Review Audience Member Decent movie. Apparently it was a made for television one, so I don't think it'd be possible to find a high quality version anywhere. Supposedly there was a video made for Europe though. The plot is pretty good, it's the standard killer bees from Africa rap that every bee movie seems to use. This one is more serious, and I actually liked the concept of an assistant mortician being on the scene. Of course, there was a mandatory romance between the main young guy and young girl. I also liked that the setting was different, in New Orleans. I feel like you never see movies there. If you were watch this movie, I would say to not have high expectations, since it is B grade. But in my sincere opinion, I think that it really is good, especially for a 70's tv movie. Worth a watch, even if it's just once. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/25/23 Full Review Audience Member 1976 TVM (in USA): A deadly swarm of Africanized bees attacks New Orleans during the Mardi Gras season. A sheriff, a substitute coroner, three doctors, and two cops work to try to get rid of the threat. This movie deals more with the planning of the bee extermination than actual bee attacks themselves. Nice TV-movie that keeps the interest up and hands us a bizarre, yet suspenseful climax. Above average for its type. Doesn't hurt to have Ben Johnson and Michael Parks in the cast. Stars: Ben Johnson, Michael Parks, Paul Hecht, Gretchen Corbett, and Horst Buccholz. James Best (pre "Dukes of Hazzard") appears in one scene. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/12/23 Full Review Audience Member Why the hell were we so afraid of bees in the '70s? I'm sure there's some sort of reason, like reports of killer bee attacks somewhere that resulted in the sudden declaration by various media factions that KILLER BEES ARE ON THEIR WAY TO YOUR TOWN AND CANNOT BE STOPPED UNLESS YOU WATCH THE KTEL NEWS AT 10, but like more recent reports of rampant child molestations, Bird Flu or rainbow parties, they just proved to be random news occurances that spiraled out of control. While the killer bee film has situated itself nicely now as an occasional Sci-Fi channel staple, the '70s made them into a subgenre of their own, ranging from the low budget [i]The Bees[/i] to Irwin Allen's amazingly overblown [i]The Swarm[/i] to the TV-movie [i]The Savage Bees[/i], which fits nicely into this week's New Orleans theme. Yes, years before real New Orleans was hit by a real natural disaster, fictional New Orleans was plagued by a much sillier fictional natural disaster that only the combined forces of small town sheriff Ben Johnson and subtitute coroner Michael Parks can handle. It all begins as Johnson discovers his dog Zif (?) dead in the yard of his small towny home, located a ways away from The Big Easy. Thinking he was poisoned, as he's apparently got loads of enemies, he takes the dog to the big city for an autopsy (he's got lots of time on his hands as well, apparently) despite hitting the city just in time for Mardi Gras. Dr. DuRand (Michael Parks) discovers that it's not poison at all that killed the dog, but rather bees, as evidenced by the dog having a stomach full of the the little buggers. (If I ever get the chance to use the line, "Your dog's stomach is full of bees," I'll die happy.) Fortunately for the plot, DuRand's ex is a bee expert in the form of "Rockford Files" regular Gretchen Corbett, and she and her cohort soon figure out that these are African Honeybees, the same type of bees that would cause problems for Henry Fonda two years later in [i]The Swarm[/i]. This particular group seems to be headed to New Orleans, but the police commissioner can't do anything as, hey, it's Mardi Gras. It gets pretty talk from here, as the bee team rounds up some bumbling small town cops and a South American expert (Horst Buchholz) who barks orders and has a plan about switching queens on them so they breed into nice, normal little bees that pollenate flowers and [i]don't[/i] kill the entire United States population within six months. Meanwhile, Parks and Corbett have chemistry-lacking "romantic" sequences where they debate whether or not it was the bees that brought them back together. What's missing in all this? For a movie called [i]The Savage Bees[/i], it's kind of lacking in, well, savage bees. A couple bodies turn up (including a little girl, which, while off-screen, is still impressive for a TV-movie) but mostly we just see the bees minding their own business in cutaways that show them swarming somewhere vague. Maybe writer Guerdon Trueblood, scripting the first of four killer bug TV-movies, felt that he was replicating [i]Jaws[/i] in spirit so much that he copied the film's idea to not show the beast until late in the film, so as to build up tension. It doesn't really work, and it just makes things plod along like the mediocre '70s TV-movie it is. Fortunately, things pick up at the two-thirds mark, when Buchholz and Corbett manage to track the swarm down to a hot dog stand. (Look, I don't know, okay? Bees love hot dogs, I guess.) After some fine bits where Buchholz sweeps away bees looking for the queen, a joyriding couple dressed as pirates show up and get attacked by bees, leading to the awesome moment as Buchholz in a silver beekkeeper's outfit and two pirates flail around fending off bees [i]in slow motion[/i]. This is the sort of thing '70s TV-movies are all about. From there, the pace is kept up as the requisite final-last-ditch-this-has-to-work-even-if-it-seems-like-its-not-going-to-at-the-last-moment plan goes into effect, as Corbett drives her red Volkswagon Beetle covered in bees to the Superdome in an attempt to freeze them off. It's an amazingly stupid plan, but the driving to the Superdome scenes are strangely effective as Corbett begins freaking out as she has to drive down the deserted French Quarter without being able to see out of her bee-covered windows. Okay, so the actual climax of the film basically involves watching the digital temperature readout slowly go down, but the lead-up to this point works in an odd sort of way. Unless you're not afraid of bees at all. Then it's just silly. [i]The Savage Bees[/i] may be the best killer bee movie ever made, mostly due to the severe lack of competition. It only occasionally gets completely goofy, and even then it's goofy enough to be enjoyable. The cast of likeable character actors helps, as do psuedo-scientific explantions that don't seem over-involved. Sure, the middle bits are pretty dull with the severe lacking in bee attacks, but the ending pay-off is worth it. Heck, it even has one of those great cappers where-shock!-a lone bee escapes, threatening a sequel. That sequel would be 1978's[i] Terror Out of the Sky[/i], written by Guerdon Trueblood, by then well-practiced in the arty of killer buggery from his work on[i] Ants![/i] and [i]Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo*[/i]. [size=1]* -- He also directed the grindhouse classic The Candy Snatchers, which involves no killer bugs at a[/size]ll. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/25/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Movie Info

      Synopsis When a boat from Brazil turns up in New Orleans with a crew of dead men aboard, local authorities are perplexed. Not long after, Sheriff Donald McKew's (Ben Johnson) dog turns up dead, too, and the local coroner (Michael Parks) identifies the culprit as killer bees. Realizing that the swarm must have come in on the boat, McKew and his entomologist girlfriend, Jeannie (Gretchen Corbett), race to find the hive before the bees can disrupt the Mardi Gras festival.
      Bruce Geller
      Bruce Geller
      Original Language
      1h 39m