UNDEREMPLOYMENT CINEMA — Wasp Woman (1959)

Janice Starlin (Susan Cabot) runs a cosmetics empire that has taken a dip in sales and one of her male employees has the temerity to tell her to her face that her FACE is the reason sales are down–she’s getting older! Around the same time, an older man who seems pretty reasonable about extracting the jelly of queen wasps for cosmetic purposes shows up and he only wants a private lab and credit for his creation.

By the way, Susan Cabot gives a performance in that board room that reminded me of Faye Dunaway yelling “Don’t fuck with me, fellas!” in the Pepsi board meeting scene in Mommie Dearest, and the scene played out here is the same era as Joan Crawford at Pepsi. She even seems to channel the older Crawford a bit.

Well, the miracle youth serum turns a guinea pig into a pup again and it also turns a cat into a kitten. Now it’s HER turn! Hmmm… you think they might want to study this a bit more but Janice suddenly looks 22 again after one injection (in reality, all they did was take off her too-small glasses and make her smile a bit). She gets addicted to the stuff and starts injecting herself, ignoring the horrible headaches she’s been having. And then there’s the scientist, who gets hit by a car before he can warn her about how the cat went nuts and tried to kill him.

In what must be the best healthcare plan in the world, Janice pays all of the scientist’s hospital bills AND moves him into a fully ¬†furnished hospital room in her New York City offices, complete with nurse–until she kills the nurse when she turns into Wasp Woman.

There’s also some hilarious office banter among the secretaries, one of whom is very “hoity toity” but get her mad and she unleashes her Flatbush accent.

Roger Corman directed and produced this one; TCM showed it before The Fly.

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