FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 6, 2022

SHOCKtober Day 6

Everybody knows that animals run amok and disaster movies are two chaotic tastes that taste *chef's kiss* perfect together, and no single movie demonstrates this quite like The Swarm. It's absolutely everything I could want in a disaster epic of any ilk, never mind one about killer bees!

It's director/producer/disaster king Irwin Allen going way too far, creating a bloated messterpiece that pushes the boundaries of common sense in every respect. The endurance test of a run time is a whopping 157 minutes but it feels more like a good three weeks or so. Romantic subplots are so ill-fitting that they come off as crammed into the proceedings with a crowbar. Terrific character actors (Ben Johnson, Richard Widmark, Fred MacMurray) and trash cinema icons (Cameron Mitchell) go toe to toe to toe with enough Oscar-winning actors to fill the entire Shrine Auditorium several times over. Lee Grant, Patty Duke, Henry Fonda, José Ferrer, Michael Caine, Olivia goddamn de Havilland...all of the scream, yell, and/or worry about bees and I could not be happier about it. 

Children die! Elders die! A (model) train rolls down a hillside and explodes! The Gulf of Mexico is set on fire!

Characters say things like "Houston on fire...will history blame me? Or the BEES?"

With all of the too too way too much-ness in The Swarm, how am I to choose only one favorite character? Hell, the whole movie could be my favorite character! 

But after I calmed down a little bit, the answer became obvious, and so today's spotlight rains down upon...


The Swarm is a movie overstuffed with patent absurdity, but still the big bee stands hovers alone in ridiculous. You see, the bees in The Swarm are a mutant strain of Africanized killer bees, which--along with the Bermuda Triangle and quicksand--were a very big worry back in the day. The Swarm does its best to play into the public's fear (and mild xenophobia) over these bees and so unlike their real-life counterparts, these movie bees are super deadly. You probably got that thanks to the "killer" right there in the name! 

4-5 stings will take you right the fuck out (to Heaven), but if you only get stung a little bit, you'll get sick and...hallucinate giant bees. Thank you, The Swarm, for this. It is so stupid. Thank you.



matango said...

My nominee would be the card at the end: "The African Killer Bee portrayed in this film bears absolutely no relationship to the industrious, hard-working American honey bee to which we are indebted for pollinating vital crops that fee our nation."

Some wonderful person put up a great highlight reel on YouTube many years ago:

Stacie Ponder said...

Yes! I suppose they wanted to prevent people smushing honeybees out of fear but the jingoism is really something. "American bees would NEVER, okay *fingernail polish emoji*"

Rochester Swift said...

The great irony of this film is that there have been loads of officers and NCO's in the USAF with an even bigger stick up their ass than any of the blue suited ass clowns in this bloated train wreck. ...Curtis Lemay, for example, or my first CO at my first posting... ugh, the whole unit despised that Napolean Complex afflicted creep. Bradford Dillman's character has always reminded me of USAF officers that everyone I knew in the other branches loathed. So in that regard, this clunker has a bizarre dash of realism.