It Jumps, It Squeeks,
It Reviews Strange Movies
THE SWARM (1978)
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If the FBI is really all that concerned about people making "unlawful duplicates" of The Swarm, it's no wonder that they still haven't caught the Anthrax Guy.
In a leap of incredible imagination, the theme song has a string section playing like bees! Because The Swarm is about insects, and not chiggers or pube crabs, no no! Appropriately, the brass sounds like it's farting. Because this movie is one big, gassy stinker.
The credits roll with the all-star cast. Michael Caine! Katherine Ross! Fred MacMurray! Slim Pickens! Patty Duke Astin! Henry Fonda as Dr. Krim! "Anytime a cop's beatin' up on a Krim, I'll be there!" Zack Norman as Sammy in Chief Zabu! Under the credits, the Air Force sends a crack team of asscracks to a missile base. These are rifle-armed dudes snappily dressed in bright orange jumpsuits with matching crash helmets. If this is camoflague, possibly they expect to go into combat with the Great Pumpkin.
Screenplay by Sterling Silliphant. Oh, Babar, you are such a silliphant! The festively-dressed troops go into the missile base, in a scene so full of tension and suspense that it's like you're in line at the DMV. You know, you're tense because it's boring, and it's suspenseful because you're afraid that it'll never end.
Room full o' dead guys! As we already are sure that they've been kilt by bees, director/producer/dipshit Irwin Allen gives us a series of close-ups showing the corpses without a mark on them. Maybe instead of stinging them, the bees...I don't know, crawled up their nostrils and suffocated them. Slipped them Bee Roofies. Did the hypnotic magic bee dance of sleepy-sleeps. Maybe the bees told the guys that they were in an Irwin Allen movie, and they died of embarassment.
A soldier takes off his crash helmet and it's SWEATY DILLMAN! Bradford Dillman, who kinda takes the whole "all-star cast" thing down a notch in quality. He is sweaty! Like he dunked his head in a bucket of vaseline. I think that this is fake sweat. "Red Two to Top Kick," he mumbles into his walkie-talkie-sweatie, even though he looks more like Number Two, if you follow me. "RED TWO REPORTING IN!" screams a guy in a helicopter to General Richard Widmark. (Please note: The first guy we see is sweaty, the second line of dialogue we hear is screamed. These are important thematic elements)
After they send in the Pumpkin Men, they send in the Green Berets. Wow, since the Green Berets are the best, I wonder how good you must have to be to become a Pumpkin Man! Since Sweaty Dillman seems about to pass out over the non-carnage in the missile base, maybe all it takes is a weak stomach. He almost shits his jumpsuit when Michael "Anything for a Paycheck" Caine appears. "How did you get into the complex?!" yells (theme!) Dillman sweatily (theme!). "It's a complicated story--it starts a year ago--but let's skip that." says Caine. Now, I'm me and not Michael "Whore" Caine, but Me would find something different to say when I walked into a room full of unstung corpses and screaming sweaty gaily-dressed Pumpkin Men pointing M16s at my coconut. Like "I didn't sting those dudes! In fact, since bees DIE when they sting, here's a bunch of bees in teeny weeny body bags!" And even if I didn't, I wouldn't say the line like Caine does. You know that tone of detatched, disinterested irritation you get from the people at the DMV? Say his line aloud in that voice. Then, say it again, but after you've had 2 hours sleep in 9 days after downing a case of Bud and some Qaaludes with a mouth full of peanut butter while thinking of your grandparents having sex. Then tone it down a peg. Yes, Caine's a good actor when he wants to be, but he devotes THAT much enthusiasm into this role. He's doing it for the paycheck, but he knows that the paycheck's gonna be giving him paper cuts all movie long.
General Richard Widmark, whom I will refer to as General Dick from now on, as that's what he generally is, comes in and starts screamin'. Radar techs spot an "enemy force" moving away from the missile base "at 7 miles per hour." "Whatever it is, it's big!" says the radar guy. So big it's not really discernable on the radar screen they show us. General Dick dispatches a flight of helicopters to intercept them.
Allow me a moment to talk about Irwin Allen. In 1978, he was Big Time. He wasn't regarded as any kind of genius, but his films were huge money-makers. He was coming off the crest of The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno. His specialty was the "all star cast disaster movie"--hell, it was a genre that he personally invented. Killer Bees were an actual hot topic back then, and when he announced that he was making a movie about them, there was concern that the movie would cause a panic. The pre-movie hype and massive advertising assured us that the bees would be scarier than Jaws--and "they're for REAL!"
When I first saw this movie many years ago, I thought that it might be pretty intense. Then the helicopter scene came, with this classic dialogue:
*ping*ping*ping*ping! Oh, now I geddit! The missile base's giant TV doesn't go "sqeaky squeaky squeak" like Space Ghost's monitor, it goes *ping*! It rolls down and General Dick holds out his right arm and declaims "Citizen! Are you getting enough oxygen?" With his left hand, he taps some blue cards on his desk. "What are your superpowers?" Cr/aine rubs his clawlike hands together and says, "This SUCKS! Gimme me some gum!" Dr Ross raises her left arm in mild alarm, and sings "She's a sweet and simple girl, my LINDA! A lovely lava lass you see--" "SHUT UP!" yell Dick and Cr/aine. "Yeah, we hate you!" Sweaty Bradford Dillman holds his hand up and yells "HELLO, my name is BRAAAAAD!!" ALL HAIL BRAD!!
No, fuck you. If you can't stand the refs, get out of the kitchen!
General Painintheass says that Cr/aine, on the orders of the President, is in charge of "this whole operation." "What are the limits to my authority?" The general sighs more dramatically than Al Gore did in the first Presidential debate, and says "None." Cr/aine gives General Dick a significant look, and then straps on a giant greasy dildo. Painintheass tells Dick, "YOU will give Dr Crane the full equipment! Whatever manpower he needs!" Cr/aine looks General Dick up and down, thinking "fresh meat!" "Without question!" General Dick looks aghast, and asks "Without...question?!" as Cr/aine waves a French maid's uniform in his face. Nooo subtext!
The big screen TV goes back up, but only with one *ping* this time, and Cr/aine looks at Dick, then looks at Dillman, who looks uncomfortably away. For the first time, I realize that Dillman's orange jumpsuit has zippers over his nipples. Not pockets, just zippers. Dillman looks more uncomfortable than ever, although I will admit, less sweaty. "I would like my leather pouch," says Cr/aine. Okay, now I'M uncomfortable. "The one with the sunflower seeds!" Oh, what a relief! He's Johnny Sunflowerseed, about to spread the magic joy of sunflowers all over the missile base! Crimeny, but this base needs a little brightening, what with the BLiMs and the fact that the WHOLE DAMN MOVIE is taking place on ONE set. Oh, jeez, Cr/aine wants to make it his headquarters. How convenient for Irwin Allen's set budget! Cr/aine gives the General a list of people he wants contacted: "Just tell them that the War I've always warned them about has begun." Then, in a shocking development, he MOVES HIS HANDS AWAY FROM HIS BACK!
WHOA! That was wierd! I tried to click on another open window, and XP restarted the computer. This is a sign from GOD (ie, Gates) that I should stop typing about this awful movie and do something enjoyable! Well, at least that's how I'M reading the sign. G'night!
In the missile base's infirmary, we hear peedoo!...peedoo!...peedo! Yes, Irwin Allen didn't even spring for "the machine that goes *PING*!" He had to settle for "the machine that goes peedoo." And Cr/aine's holding his hands behind his back again. Is he trying to stop himself from racing off the set and strangling Irwin Allen?
Dr Ross yells, "They've killed all the Durant family, except for PAUL!" "We must go to him," monotones Cr/aine in a tone of...extreme...alarm..."And collect my paycheck."...ZZZ....I'm sorry, but I must've dozed off there, what with the extreme...alarm...in Cr/aine's...YAWN...voice...zzzz...WHAT?! Did she say that bees killed all of DURAN DURAN?! GOOD WORK, BEES! "And I'm hungry like the Africanised killer bee!" If you play "Girls On Film" backwards, it says "Turn me on, dead Simon le Bon killed by bees while you were sweating and a yacht was falling on you." YES WAY, dude, really it DOES!
If you were watching this video with me, you'd notice two things: I don't share my popcorn, and there hasn't been a sweaty person for a whole 2 minutes, and Kill Kill is asleep on my Penthouse magazine rack. Wait, that's three. And ruthless efficiency! FOUR, four things! And if we have learned anything about The Swarm, it's that I took a sock off to trim my toenail and now I can't find it! The SOCK, dopey! It's not like I could LOSE my TOENAI--What? Oh. I'm sorry, but this movie is so riveting, that it's like your attention is a rivet and this movie is a sock. And socks don't rivet, if you follow the gist of my nub.
Let's try again. There hasn't been a sweaty person for a whole 2 minutes, and if we have learned anything about The Swarm, it's that there's always a bee around the corner and a sweaty guy screaming.
In other words, that damn kid Paul's back.
"WEEEAIOU!" screams Paul, making sure that he uses all the vowels. "WEIAU UMMA BEE N'YAR!" And, well looky there, a gigantic BEE is floating over Paul's hospital bed, licking it's chops or wiping it's ...bee whatevers, and if you find this horrifying scene from the realm of nightmare funny, BAHAHAHAHA! Me too! Giant blue screen bee! Oh, that's just silly! And Paul is so sweaty, that--well, let's just say that some Japanese porno makers saw this scene and invented bukkake. Eww!
Bee-lieve it or not GEDDIT THAT WAS A BEE PUN, there is no giant bee! Paul was hallucinating over a doctor who is wearing giant goggles and banging Paul's head against the wall because doctors need to dress like bees and beat up kids in the Bug Trauma Lab and...umm...Well, I have no idea why he didn't just dress up like the Simpson's Bumblebee Man and stab the kid with a needle while yelling "AY CARUMBA!" But then again, I'm no doctor! Paul subtly says his lines, "AUUGGHH! gettim AWAY thereza BEE in here OOOh wee, eee--a bee! --help!" Direct quote, my Liddle Kadiddles, direct quote. Nice LAYdee, make with BEE going AWAY, FROINLAIVIN!!! wee, eee!
The bee-like doctor is about to start jumping up and down on the hospital bed while screaming "I'M NOT GOING TO JUMP ON YOU!" when Dr Cr/aine says "Paul, Paul, listen to me--there is no bee!" A giant bee appears over Cr/aine, right above his snazzy brown turtleneck and snappy earth-toned leisure suit with the big brown leather patches on the shoulder and elbow pads. "eee, no no no, nice LAYdee, horrible LEISURE SUIT! wee, eee, help!" screams Paul. "No, Paul, there is no bee! It's only a nightmare, like this movie! Reach out! Yes, reach out! It won't hurt you! Reach out! Further! Like Depeche Mode said, Reach out, Touch Faith! Your Own--Personal--BEEJESUS!" Ha ha! I made part of that up! Guess which part!
"Thank you, Doctor!" says all-star caster Alejandro Ray (who?). "I tried everything to make his imaginary giant bee go away! Dressing like a bee! Smacking him around while dressed as a giant bee! Making buzzing noises! Smearing him with honey! Doing my special ass-shaking dance to tell him how far it was to the next pollen source! Taking him to the morgue to see his parent's corpses while humming Rimsky-Korsakoff's 'Flight of the Bumblebees--THAT KILT YOUR PARENTS!' I wonder where I went wrong! Well, I've got to run down to the children's burn ward and light my farts, and then to the kids' leprosy clinic to play 'I got your thumb!'!"
"Gotta go!" says Cr/aine, ND dROSS whoops! Hit the caps lock! And Dr Ross thanks him. Cr/aine gives her his Bedroom Eyes, or what passes for them in The Swarm, as in any other movie they'd look like mild gas discomfort. No wonder Cr/aine leaves the room so quick. Silent--but deadly!
WOW! This is GREAT!
I found my sock!
I didn't post about The Swarm last night, as I faced off with the first scene in the movie that didn't suck. Note that I didn't say "was good." Henry Fonda arrives as Dr Krim, and suddenly the film had a second actor who neither underacts like Cr/aine nor overacts like Paul the Wee, Eee, A Bee! Boy. It's a sad comment on the acting that the other good actor is Bradford Dillman! He actually reacts to other character's lines as they say them, rather then just waiting stone-faced for the other actor to finish.
Dr Krim is an immunologist, here to find an antidote for the bee's poisonous stings. His wheelchair has a wheel which squeaks loudly and often and, of course, only when the Foley guy remembers to make the sound effect. Krim hasn't oiled it because he's "studying yoga, and with a couple hundred years of practice, I should be able to levitate!" Which is about as close as this movie's going to flirt with wit.
Cr/aine leaves Krim and Dillman in a room filled with the body bags of the bees' victims. Dillman makes a sneering comment about Cr/aine being upset to be around the corpses, which is pretty stupid, given that if Cr/aine showed any less emotion in the scene someone would be stuffing him into one of those bags.
Next scene: Slim "Dr Strangelove and nothing else" Pickens goes toe-ta-toe in nookular combat with the General! At first I really thought that Slim was packin' him some chaw in his cheeks, but then I realized that he's just done got him some chipmunk cheeks a-goin' on. His "stupid" son is on the base, and he wants to see him! Since we already saw Dr Krim a-checkin' out his son's toe-tag, he ain't so much stupid as all daid and stinky and showing as much emotional range as Cr/aine. By an interesting and very believable fluke, Slim has the power to shut off all the water to the base, immobilizing it. "Yew won't have enough water to flush yer toilets when Ah get through with yew!" Wow, I really woulda thought that a NUCLEAR MISSILE BASE wouldn't be vulnerable to an INSANE REDNECK just because he's a PLUMBER. All the Soviet Union had to do was send in some KGB agents to flush Tampax down the terlets, and they could've launched a first strike! I would also think that it'd be illegal to threaten to shut down a NUCLEAR MISSILE BASE during a major emergency, and also just ever so slightly INSANELY DANGEROUS too, but since The Swarm has been virtually a documentary ever since the bees shot the helicopters down, I guess that Professor of Nuclearology Irwin Allen knows best. And General Dick lets the raving mad blackmailing redneck waltz right into the NUCLEAR MISSILE BASE. There's another thing that we're lucky that the Commies were never smart enough to try. But at this point, It looks like the Commies could've just knocked on the door of the NUCLEAR MISSILE BASE wearing a shark suit and said "Candygram!"
After Slim gets through the base's incredibly tight security by walking through the same cheap chainlink fence that people use to keep very small dogs from running away, Cr/aine walks into the UCD,HWIS! (Unrefrigerated Corpse Depository, Hoo WHEE It Stinks!). Krim the Magnificent, which would be a good name for a kids' magician, birthday parties my specialty, covers up the white, unstung face of a stinky corpse named "Slim Junior." Again, this is because the screenplay says "Cr/aine is HORRIBLY REPULSED!" while Caine himself shows the same deep inner turmoil I show when I'm staring at the wall to avoid eye contact while riding in an elevator.
"Anything?" Cr/aine montones. "The toxic content in their tissues is the highest I've ever seen!" crows Krim crabbily. "It's even more virulent than the Australian brown-box jellyfish!" Which is a line that made the audience nod its collective head and say "The what?!" Maybe the Australian lunch-box jelly sandwich is very toxic, but you know...What the fuck is it?! He couldn't say "Ten times as virulent as a king cobra!" or "Twenty times as smelly as the underwear of a really sweaty guy who eats Taco Bell every night!" or "About one-tenth as virulent as the love child of Eminem and Ann Coulter!" Great. Now I'm going to spend the rest of my life afraid of going to the toilet, a-feared that there'll be an Australian brown-box jellyfish in there once Slim Pickens won't leave me enough water to flush! THANKS, Professor of Virulent Toiletology Irwin Allen!
Time for some dialogue peanuts! CR/AINE: "We've been fighting a losing battle against the Insects for 15 years! But I never thought that I'd see the final face-off in all my lifetime! And I never dreamed--that it'd turn out to be the bees! They've always been our friends!!"
And this is where the movie lost its battle in the theater. Back then, it was considered incredibly rude to talk during a movie, or even laugh inappropriately. Dammit, we paid $3.50 to get in, we deserved to watch the movie in peace!
But "The Bees have always been our friends" line...Well, the 3 stoners began laughing, and there must've been other stoners, as they started laughing too. And then so did the straight people. The Swarm had officially crossed the line between "scary" and "ludicrous." In theaters across the country, this was the line in the sand. The Swarm was now a comedy. For the wrong reasons.
Slim is in the HOUSE! The house full of corpses anyway. He finds his son, hugs his reeking corpse and overemotes his tearless crying, and tries to lug his kid out of there like he was a sack of garbage. "You can't do that!" says General Dick. "The only way yew can stop me is to shoot me, and I'd be mighty obliged if yew did!" ME TOO! Oblige the man already! General Dick looks at Cr/aine with a total "DOY?" expression. Cr/aine looks at Krim, who Cr/aines him back with a blank look. "Michael, if you're not gonna act, I'm not either!" Cr/aine looks blankly at Dick. Dick looks blankly at Slim. Their acting really seems to be along the lines of, "SOMEONE in this elevator just farted! But NOT ME!" Slim totes his rotting young'un out the door. Yeah, let's not wait and find if the Bees are more toxic than the Australian brown-nosed duck-billed flying wombat fish that crossdresses because they're carrying some VIRUS, let's just let the senile ol' coot with a mouthful of twenty chaws of Red Man drag the festering corpse around town with him and prop him up in the booth at McDonalds while he has lunch.
General Dick stares at Cr/aine with a look that says "How much are they paying you? General Dick's not getting paid enough to stay in this stinking pile of bee poop!"
Tomorrow: RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN arrives!
(It's not all that significant, I bet, he just got there before I turned the VCR off)
RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN arrives! And he's "here reluctantly." Irwin Allen must have some secret sex tapes involving Richard and Paul the Wee, Eee, I See Richard Chamberlain's Pee-Pee! Boy. "RUDE son of a bitch!" says General Dick. "He didn't even introduce us!" and I so wish I had a video capture device, as the General closes his left eye and scrunches up his mouth and he looks like somone who couldn't make up their mind as to whether he'd go to the Halloween party as Popeye or Jonah Hex or Some Dude With His Face All Fucked Up Who's Also Constipated.
Cr/aine listens to the tapes of the missile base being eaten by bees. This is subtly introduced by several lines of dialogue and a close-up of a speaker playing the tape back. Folksy white trash dialogue:
On repeated listenings, Bradford Dillman speaks with a British accent before he launches into full-blown Suth'n hick, with a big smile on his face. Again, this makes no sense. It really looks like Dillman was just goofing around, expecting Irwin Allen to yell "Bradford, cut that out!" and reshoot the scene. Guess ole Dillsy wasn't counting on the fact that Irwin didn't care. There's nothing in this movie to suggest that any scene was shot more than once. Irwin "One-Shot" Beaudine!
(Digression: William "One-Shot" Beaudine was a legendarily bad Hollywood hack director, famous for never reshooting scenes, no matter how bad they came out. Low budget producers loved him; he was always under budget. The only film I've seen by him is Billy the Kid vs Dracula. Now I know that you're reading that title and thinking "I'll bet THAT was a good movie!" but it really wasn't. I remember one scene where Drac walks around a stagecoach verrrry slowly, and you can see a fat, t-shirted member of the crew perfectly reflected in the stagecoach's window. He stands there until someone must say offscreen, "Get out of the shot!" and he looks startled and walks away. How much effort would it have taken to reshoot a scene that lasts a minute? A minute's worth, but that was too much for ole "One-Shot." end digression.)
Cr/aine hears "something" on the audio tape that buzzes loudly and makes guys scream and die, but he's not sure what it is. YES, he's been screaming or monotoning about the terrible Bee Threat all movie long, but he's really not sure what BUZZES and KILLS. Maybe it's man-eating AM radios!
Meanwhile, a pair of kids on bikes ride with a bike between them, on a major road where every car (and every one a Ford) is doing 2 miles an hour. Yes, it's time for Paul the Wee, Eee, It's a Bike! Boy to return. And guess friggin' what, he's sweaty already. The kids are gonna bust him out of stir, namely the hospital. Paul the Wee, Eee, I'm Wearing a Lovely Pair of Burgundy Cordouroy Pants! Boy manages to sneak out of the hospital by closing the front door verrrry slowly. There is no scene showing him sneaking past any hospital staff, but I assume that they were all put into a trance by his sweaty musk. The kids race off on their Schwinns with monkey bars, pausing to say hello to...umm, the Engineer Cowboy who wants to get his freak on with Olivia "Human Bean Bag Chair" De Havilland. He's wearing a lovely deep red cordouroy leisure suit with a cowboy hat. Did I mention that this movie's from 1978? He's got him some roses to give to Olivia in the movie's enthralling romantic subplot involving slurp Hey I finished my beer, I'm gonna get another one, as no man alive is strong enough to face this movie sober. Anyone want anything while I'm up? 'Kay. *pop* fizzz Where were we? Somewhere GOD DAMN ENTHRALLING, I betcha.
Ben Johnson! That's the cowboy with no fashion sense's name. He goes into a diner/sody-pop fountain and talks to Rita, who's depressed and very pregnant. It's Rita from the missile base tape, get it? This kind of makes you almost feel an emotion, so Irwin cuts away to--
That's so close to--
Whew, now I'M sweaty. Okay, since Kerwin Allen had a scene that almost worked for a second, he instantly forgets lovely Rita pregnant maid, and instead we get who-frickin'-cares dialogue between Ben and the diner owner. Do they talk about the mass slaughter right up the road? Nope, it's all about Ben's chances with scoring with the school marm. The weirdest thing about this scene is that they're drinking big cups of coffee that obviously, and I mean distractingly obviously, don't have coffee or any other liquid in them. The hell? Really, why are they pretending to drink? They couldn't have put ice tea or something that'd look like coffee in the cups? Did the movie's budget for cordouroy go over by a dollar? Maybe Irwin decided that his movie needed to cut across all the disciplines and include the beloved art-from of Mime. Ben leaves to continue his wooin' of Olivia Oyl, but he gets stuck in an imaginary box.
Fortunately, he pulls himself out with an imaginary rope, and delivers the most heart-breakingly beautiful lines of romantic dialogue I've ever heard that also include someone's resume: "Maureen...I'm not too good with words. But I am a retired master mechanic! And my education--Well, it's all in these hands! And you know--what I know--I want to say!" Maureen looks tenderly into his eyes and says, "Yes, Ben! You want a hand job!" HAH! "Your roses speak most eloquently," is what she says, in the most drawn-out drawl in history, "And Ah'm mindful of it!" You're what? Mindful?! Who talks like that?! Who EVER talked like that?! Fiddle-dee-dee, Rhett Butler, but apparently screenwriter Sterling Silliphant hasn't left his house in decades.
Back at the missile base, and boy is Irwin ever getting his $100 investment on that set back, a radar dude says "I'm picking up a massive swarm!" Then he scratches his crotch fiercely while asking for some RID. General Dick wants to send out some choppers with bug spray to kill the Swarm, because it was SO SUCCESSFUL the last time they used helicopters. "Bees, bees, millions of bees! We'll gas 'em all with DDTs!" "Let's talk--ALONE." says Cr/aine, and Dillman looks like he's going to cry. Why doesn't DILLMAN get to talk about bees?! Cr/aine and the Dick have a nice quiet discussion over bee-killing tactics. In the center of the room. Screaming their heads off.
Paul and his Wee, Eee, Kill the Killer Bees! Boys are back at the site of the killing by the killer bees of Paul's parents who were killed by killer bees and Kill Kill is playing "kill the toy mouse" as I type these killing words and I'm soon to be Google's top choice for searches for "kill" and "killing"! (I'll put in "kil" "killimg" and "killibg" just to be safe) Why do they go there? To KILL killer bees by KILLING killer bees! With killer Molotov cocktails. I guess Paul the Wee, Eee, I'm Killing Killer Bees! Boy stole Steal This Book, since there was no Internet back then to learn Molotov cocktail recipes from. (For killing!)
They lug up a big bucket of bombs, which has apparently appeared by magic, throw the Molotovs at the bee-tree simultaneously but the bombs land several seconds apart. Paul the Wee, Eee, This Movie has No Continuity! Boy and his anti-bee co-conspirators run as fast as their cordouroy pants can go wiff wiff wiff, and hide under 3 handy trash cans. Paul is instantly covered in sweat, and this time it's just gross. There's huge drips hanging off of him. This is the first movie ever made where the entire cast was self-basting.
ping! ping! go the angry bees as they slam into the metal cans, which would work better if Irwin hadn't decided to keep cutting away to show the bees crawling on the surface. Maybe they're actually tapping out Morse Code! "zzz, zz! Paul, why did you fire-bomb us, zzz? We bees have always been your friends!!"
Paul's grand plan is so successful in killing 9 of the 40 million bees that the remaining 39,999,991 decide to go kill the entire world. If Ren were here, he'd slap Paul and scream "You BEE-diot!" THAT WAS MY SECOND BEE PUN!!
This is a good time to point out that the Bees are really Corn Puffs. The cereal, blown by wind machines. This is why, when they attack those garbage cans (there's a metaphor for this movie in there, I think) they fly in and then just fall to the ground. And then, when they realize that no 39 million bees can ever hope to defeat man's proudest creation, the trash can, they "fly away" just like the film's being run backwards.
Cut to the Mystery Machine! Freddie and Daph--err, Cr/aine and Dr Ross--are racing in a van to find Paul the Wee, Eee, Sorry About the Unleashing Armageddon Thingie! Boy. Yep, world's about to be et by bees, and Cr/aine's out to find Paul. Way to prioritize! But has he an ulterior motive? Yes, it's the NEXT totally-enthralling/gag-reflexing love subplot! "I really like you." monotones Cr/aine. The kind, loving, psychotic non-look on his face, in any other movie, would be the hint that the rape/murder is about to begin. Dr Ross just nods like a bobblehead and says "I like that! I really like that!" Yes, we now know what project the guy who wrote the great romantic dialogue for Bad Guys moved onto next. But where's the male/male nipple-rubbing?
One thing bad movie lovers will instantly notice about this scene is that they really aren't in a van, but the front end of a prop van that has stagehands making it wobble. And, unlike any other vehicle ever made, it has curtains draped behind the front seats. Ha ha! How dumb! NO van ever made has curtains there! This is just a really cheap way to hide the fact that they didn't build the whole van! Why, it's as ludicrous as putting a shower curtain behind an airplane cockpit, and how incompetent a filmmaker would you be to stoop THAT low?!
It hit me what Dillman's English-to-Southern accent meant--He was making fun of Olivia de Havilland, an English actress faking a Southern (but not Texan) accent. Well, she gets points for trying. The only other people with accents are using their own, so that almost everyone in rural Texas sounds like they're from L.A. It still leaves no explanation besides incompetence why Irwin left Dillman's joke in the movie.
The make-believe tea party with the empty coffee cups--at the end of the scene, the diner guy takes a sip of nothing and makes an "Mmm, mm, good!" expression. If this was Twin Peaks, he'd say "That's some damn fine air!"
A more important question: Why have they spent the entire movie trying to track down the bees when they're right where they were when they killed Paul's parents? And it's not a question of "Maybe he didn't tell them," as they recovered his parents' bodies. Did the 40 million bees in 1 tree somehow escape their attention?
Well, the cat's out of the bag and the bee out of the tree now. Cr/aine spots the bees and yells, "They're headed towards Marysville!" Which is an interesting observation, as there's 4 seperate swarms heading in 4 different directions. Welcome to Marysville, the continent.
The BEES are about to kill everyone, so cue the Huckleberry Hound music! Doo-DOO-doot-doot, doo-DOO-doot-doot! Fred McMurray has flowers for Olivia at the school. In a "hilarious" interlude, he's made to wait outside her office while a kid with a huge lollipop and a Dorothy Hamill haircut stares at him--licking, licking, ever licking his lolly OF DOOM! Doo-DOO-doot-doot, doo-DOO-doot-doot! In her office, Olivia ends a phone call with "That'll be all right!" and instantly hangs up, without saying "Goodbye" or even waiting for the caller to say "Yeah--ALL RIGHT!" It's one of those little touches that master auteur autisitic Irwin uses to totally destroy any shred of "This is not a movie" atmosphere.
Fred has flowers for Olivia, and we're back to the SO INTERESTING intense romantic rivalry over this old chubster. I guess that she's the only member of AARP in town that gives blow jobs. She remembers Fred "in short pants," which either means when he was young enough to not wear Depends, or she's having difficulty breathing. "Well, I'm willing to beg now!" says Fred, apparently referring to that time when Oilivia was dressed as a dominatrix. The phone rings, she says "Hello? [1/16th-second pause] Yes, blue will do!" and hangs up. That so reminds me of every 2 second phone conversation I've ever had about colors! Hey, Irwin, I gots a new word for you: VERASIMILLATUDE. Yes, it's long and has more syllables than you're used to, so let me boil it down: "If you're trying to give the illusion of real life, SHIT SHOULD MAKE SENSE."
Fred asks her to marry him, and she claims to be "already married to this school!" Oh, GREAT. Like there isn't enough bad acting, now someone's channeling SHATNER and his old speeches about the Enterprise. Fred says, "I know people just think of me as that old man behind the aspirin counter!" Yes, we do think that, so long as drop "behind the" and "pirin counter" and spell it "ass." Wow, that was a pretty labored joke! I feel like such an aspirin!
ACTION NEWS TEAM CENTER comes to town, in their very hip earth-tone leisure suits. Ace reporter chick Ann says, "There's more to this than just a family killed by bees, I can sense it!" Yeah, there was the whole NUCLEAR MISSILE BASE being wiped out, but I guess NO ONE KNOWS THAT, as the good retarded folk of Marysville didn't think it was worth anybody's attention. Sorta like the Tree of 40 Million Bees they decided wasn't worth checking. Imagine the interviews with the local yokels: "Yeah, Slim Pickens had his dead son in a bodybag at the MickeyD's from that NUCLEAR MISSILE BASE that was wiped out, and Tina at the diner's preggers by another guy kilt at the NUCLEAR MISSILE BASE, and the BEES shot down them heli-chopsters, and you know what? Take a look at this! My dog done ate a whole box of Crayola! 64 shades of dog shit, ain't that worth puttin' on your network news? Oh, sorry, I said 'ain't that worth puttin' when I meant to say 'isn't that worth putting.' That's how we talk here in rural Texas, which is nothing like how they talk in L.A. Do you have the latest copy of Variety and a cup of raspberry nutmeg vanilla chai?"
Cr/aine races down the same street Paul the Wee, Eee, Am I Still in this Movie? Boy raced down, honking his horn just like Paul did! WOW, that musta been foreshadowing or some shit! "THE AFRICAN KILLER BEES ARE COMING!" screams Cr/aine in his loudest screamy-scream voice yet. And, if you've seen King Kong Lives, and boy have I ever, you know what this means: Everybody runs in a different direction at once. The policeman yells "You call the park, you call the ballfield, I'll call the school!" which are apparently the only important parts of planet Marysville. (Foreshadowing from me: Maybe they should've called the local nuclear power plant)
"DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?!" yells Cr/aine as air raid sirens wail and everyone runs like nutty-nut-heads, "THE KILLER BEES ARE COMING! THE ONES NO ONE OUTSIDE OF TOWN KNOWS ABOUT, DESPITE THE WHOLE NUCLEAR MISSILE BASE MASSACRE!!" I remember laughing hysterically over his line "TAKE YOUR CHILDREN WITH YOU! IF YOU DON'T HAVE ANY CHILDREN, TAKE THEM IN!" But just now I realized that he says "If you see any children on their own, take them in!" Man. Now I really hate this movie! It destroyed a cherished teenaged stoner memory!!
Olivia the Overaged Beefy Sexpot is on the mike! She warns the schoolchildren to run inside from the killer bees, and--yes--She forgets that she's from Klanstown, CSA, and uses her natural English accent! In the second sentence, she kinda recovers, but she uses both English and Southern accents in one sentence! Then goes to Southern, then back to English! Bradford Dillman, you are a comic genius!! Kerwin Allen, you are a FUCKIN' RETARD, as you left in not only the part where Brad made fun of Olivia's goof, but left in her multiple goofs that inspired it, too.
Now, if you're like me, right now you're smearing barbecue sauce in your hair while fucking a dead camel and thinking, "Sure, The Swarm is the greatest movie ever since the time I camcorded my toilet backing up after I flushed 8 weeks of poop and vomit after eating live roaches, but it's missing just one little thing. Puppies being set on fire? No, that's not it. Someone eating their own intestines? Nah, but close. Oh, wait! What this movie needs to make it a totally giggle-icious funfest and gay lark in the park is--"
"8-YEAR-OLDS BEING KILLED BY BEES!!"
"WOW, THERE MUST BE A GOD, CAUSE THERE THEY ARE!!! Wow, GOD, thanks for the DYING CHILDREN! In SLO-MO!!!"
It'd been really revolting if this was filmed in a way that it wasn't obvious that the slo-mo was being used to hide the fact that the Corn Pops were being blown by wind machines and that the kids were obviously listening to a second (or hundredth)-set director yelling "Now! Fall down from the Corn Puffs and die NOW! Tiii-MMY! I said DIE from the flying cereal, not EAT it!"
We get a close-up of one of the dead Dorothy Hammil-headed children, and bees are crawling on a giant lollipop.
THAT'S what you get for messing with the SATANIC BEE POWERS of FRED MACMURRAY, you little bastard! And the mad panpipes of Hell sing "Doo-DOO-doot-doot, doo-DOO-doot-doot!"
NEXT: Bees attack a refrigerator! BEE THERE!
Helpful advice from Fox's upcoming special When Bees Attack:
NEXT: WILL Cr/aine, Dr Ross and Patty live to see losing control over a hot dog? WILL the Guy in the Freezer Who's Name I Haven't Bothered to Look Up survive his Freezer Guyness? Or will everyone start falling prey to the Bees' most horribilest of powers--ACCENT DRIFT?!
The VCR had a heart attack yesterday. I had to pull the plug on it (literally) to get it to work again. As much as The Swarm sucks, it would suck harder if it ate the tape and I had to buy another. Talk about throwing good money after bad...
If you were worried about the fate of the guy in the freezer--Sorry. We never find out his fate. He's probably still in there today, wimpering and clutching his empty cup of coffee.
In a sign that thing's ain't gonna improve in this movie, Krim starts yelling his dialogue off of cue cards and Cr/aine starts sweating that mysterious, clingy goo. Dr Ross is gooey, tooey! But she's okay, despite being stung. She's the love interest, why wouldn't she bee? Umm, be.
There's 216 dead from the Marysville Bee Attack, but we know that things ain't gonna improve in this hospital room: Here comes Paul the Wee, Eee, Bukkake Boy. Here we get an interesting side-by-side comparison of the movie's fake sweat versus its first fake tears. Sweat justs glistens on Ross' face; it never moves down her cheeks like real sweat. Paul's crocodile tears do move, but like little slugs, slowly and disgustingly. What is this stuff? Glycerin mixed with Vaseline, or some mutant clear version of molasses?
"It's all my fault!" says Paul as a slug crawls down his face, and another races it from the other side. Like slugs race, slowly. "I firebombed the swarm!" Dr Ross says "Oh, Paul! Paul." in a molasses tone of voice. Maybe she's confused as to what he said: Was it "I bombed the swarm!" In that case, she'd say "You were responsible for TWO HUNDRED DEATHS?!" and then beat him to his sweaty death with her bedpan. But maybe she thought that he'd said "I bombed The Swarm!" in which case she'd ask, "Please tell me you killed IRWIN!"
Here's the most exciting and also only picture on the back of the video:
It might as well be the only picture, as this is EVERY THIRD SCENE IN THE MOVIE. YES, 5 whole minutes has elapsed, so it's time for Cr/aine and General Dick to start screaming again. This particular exchange is notable for Dillman going all crazy-craze with his mugging. He contorts his face like an India Rubber Man. He's either very upset that Cr/aine and Dick never get along any more and may be getting a divorce ("Stop yelling! I hate it when you yell!"), or he's really, REALLY gotta go to the Dill Man's Room, or he's trying to see how goofy he can be to see if Irwin notices. Perhaps Dillman just wants OUT of this idiotic movie, or maybe he's realized that he's in a Modern Classic of Crap Cinema. I hold with the "needs to use the john real bad" theory.
Dick is mad. Dunno why; possibly something to do with Cr/aine's excellent crisis management skills and the fact that they're wading in corpses. General Dick seems to think that Cr/aine has done nothing up till now, which is one of those points that you don't want to bring up in your script where the hero HAS done nothing. "I'd evacuate the area," screams the General, "set up roadblocks, and spray the HELL out of every tree and bush from here to the Gulf!" Which, let's face it, makes a mite more sense than "Call up Doctor Krim and then go look for Paul." "Let's take that piece by piece, shall we?" says Cr/aine. "Why EVACUATE?!" Dillman shifts painfully from foot to foot, thinking of those dozen burritos he ate last night, and says, "Oh GOD, please don't say 'evacuate' again!" "EVACUATE?!" yells Cr/aine. "Where would we GO?! I mean, when you GOTTA go, you gotta GO, but that's a BIG LOAD! We can't FLUSH the bees out just by MOVING our ASSES!" The General screams, "We could GO to the BIG DUMP near the FUDGE FACTORY downtown!" "EXCUSE ME!" yells Dillman, and he runs away really urgently.
The next dialogue peanuts are real:
NEXT: Things Get Worse!
Well, I don't KNOW that they do. But I think that it's a safe bet.
As if Marysville wasn't already in Hell: Cr/aine drives past the movie theater, and it's showing The Towering Inferno. By Irwin Allen.
He drives by rows of bodybags while the soundtrack goes "POUND POUND POUND." Gather ye rosebuds for ye flower festival while ye may, Marysville, for tomorrow you may be dying!...Ah, crap. They ARE dead. I should've said that yesterday.
Dr Cr/aine joins Doctors Krim and Kildare (who would bee Richard Chamberlain, for those of you who didn't get the Patty Duke jokes either) at the Bee Annoying Room. Here they don space suits and piss off bees, evidentally General Dick's "little friends who've been taken captive" from a scene they didn't bother to film or explain. The bees are taken from silly glass jugs and shaken over "The Grid," which is this thing that you drag a dental pick over and it makes sparks. WOO, they spent so much on this special effect that it was found in a dumpster behind Krim's Science Fair in 1929. "I'll stir them up!" says Cr/aine as he does nothing, which isn't surprising as NOTHING is all he's done all movie. That's the whole scene; I guess it's supposed to be (an adjective that doesn't mean "exciting") that we see Cr/aine and Krim and Kildare wearing these suits around bees that aren't Corn Pops. Then they go into some sort of airlock and use their Magic Bee Combs--YES, their Magic Bee Combs--to brush the DEADLY MONSTER
NEGRO AFRICAN BEES away, but then they just open the fucking door so that these pissed off and brushed-off bees can kill everyone outside the airlock, but the bees don't, but maybe because the airlock has a RED LIGHT, so the bees are killed dead or become prostitute bees, I don't KNOW, this movie is starting to get all King Kong Livesy on me now.
"Can you get your Poison Pellets ready by tomorrow?" asks Cr/aine of Kildare. "I can't see how! The rabbits die when I feed them the rushes of this movie!" Then it's up to Krim to make his antidote from the venom they'd collected in the Bee Annoying Room. "Smells like BANANAS!" says Krim of the venom, prompting one member of the audience to say loudly "Smells more like this movie--SHIT!" Which got a few laughs but was kinda rude to the other moviegoers but the guy was a teenaged stoner, so forgive m--Err, him.
And now comes the most useless and embarassing scene in a movie that's like a giant Lego castle built of blocks of embarassment and uselessness. That's like saying that John Belushi kinda used drugs, or that Nero kinda burnt cities.
Dillman confronts Dr Ross about the horrible fact that Cr/aine is an incompetent put in charge of the operation only because of his Washington connections, a man who did nothing about the bees, a man who couldn't find 40 million bees yards away from Paul's dead parents, a man who decided that it was more important to find a runaway boy than protect everyone from the bees, and failed to find the boy anyway, a boy who was then directly responsible for the 232 dead in Marysville, and who encouraged the boy when he found out that the boy was responsible for the deaths.
I'M KIDDING! Dillman reports that General Dick is upset that Ross and Cr/aine are ABOUT TO START DATING.
Couldn't make this shit up if you tried, folks.
You'd really have to see this scene to understand how bad it is. Ross and Dillman are clearly walking to big Xs on the floor, and both of them seem to be directing more anger at their dialogue than each other. And Dillman has Accent Drift! He delivers his first line in LA dialect, then does a pretty good Texan accent for the rest of the scene. This has really become the most interesting thing about the movie: Is Dillman in open revolt against the corrupt reign of Irwin? How could any director NOT notice that one of his lead actors is repeatedly changing accents? Is Dillman trying to see what he can slip by Irwin? Hell, is Irwin even ON THE SET? Is ANYONE looking at the daily rushes? Or is there just a trained monkey with a rubber stamp signing off on the footage?
And beyond that, let's just look at this scene as to how it relates to the movie: Since the Cr/aine/Ross "relationship" has progressed exactly as far as the relationships of most NINE YEAR OLDS, the "I Like You Exchange," why does Dick care? It's like Cr/aine's entire term as Head Bee Killer--He hasn't done ANYTHING. It's not like they're having sex on top of the bodybags. If they were, then it'd be a huge change from Cr/aine doing NOTHING. Have they decided that the big threat isn't the BEES but COOTIES?!
I told you that it'd get worse.
NEXT: It gets MORE worse!
The entire town of Marysville is being immediately evacuated. Apparently no one owns a car, so they're all taking the train. Rita the Pregnant Lady is about to get on when she goes "OOF!" and the TV reporter woman cuts off her live broadcast to help her into a squad car so that she can be taken to the hospital. So I guess the entire town's being evacuated, except the hospital. Leave the sick and wounded and pregnant behind!
The highly unerotic senior love triangle of Fred, Olivia and Ben is on the train, which winds its way through the famous Texas Mountains (Whatever, Irwin, whatever). The train's engineer/old coot is eating an apple, and a BEE flies in! "Don't get him mad!" says the guy in the Choo-Choo Charlie hat. "Maybe he wants the apple!" says the old coot as he delightfully spits huge chunks of masticated fruit out of his mouth. The BEE lands on his hand. "NOW what do I do?!" he shrieks. "Don't do anything! Stay calm!" which is good advice, but maybe Choo-Choo should've added, "And stay calm for more than the next second." Coot makes a weird colicky-baby noise and begins whomping on the BEE rather spastically while going "MEEMPH! MEEMPH!!" For God knows what reason, 39 million bees magically teleport in from Beesville and attack the engineers. Choo-Choo falls on the "Make Train Go Real Fast Lever" because you know in a crap movie like this he isn't going to land on the brake. The train races up Mount Houston and, in exactly the same way you do when when you reach highway speed in your car, everyone begins jumping up and down and rolling around. I suppose that it's meant to be them being "thrown from their seats," but it's actually pretty comical since they're just jumping up and down when the trained monkey that's directing this movie says "JUMP!" and they ask "HOW COMICALLY?" People are doing flying tackles in there, including the movie's FIRST BLACK PERSON. Uh-oh, he may be a MOLE for the AFRICANS! Then the train falls off of the scenic Cliffs of Dallas, and there's even more silly flailing about, as Irwin just tips the camera in a circle to pretend that the traincar is rolling. Of course, he shows us the car "turning over" while the passengers remain in their seats--apparently they're wearing train seat belts or the thing's turning so quickly it's acting like a centrifuge. One guy throws himself through the window, and you easily imagine the trampoline he used. I think he's supposed to be Fred, but I'm not sure. I also don't care. It's hard to work up a real emotional investment in these well-drawn characters. The train hits the bottom of Alamo Canyon, and OF FUCKING COURSE! every passenger car BURSTS INTO FLAME. They really should stop making these napalm-powered trains. I think that we're seeing the inspiration for the Flammable Bulldozers of King Kong Lives here. And everyone on this huge train dies except for seven people, as some televised ticker tape machine tells us back at headquarters. For some strange reason, the TV makes a teletype noise. If you count "idiocy" as a strange reason.
BEES: Two helicopters shot down, missile base wiped out, entire flower festival annihilated, train derailed, Paul's parents' stunt doubles owied. CR/AINE: Nothing. I'm kinda losing my grasp on why this guy is the hero. This would be like a Die Hard movie consisting of Bruce Willis locking himself in the bathroom until the terrorists go away.
And I'm not alone in my opinion. General Dick is fuming, and I can't blame him. "For God's sake, Cr/aine! When are we gonna stop this massacre?!" "We're planning our first drop in thirty minutes!" says Cr/aine the Ineffectual. "I've seen what you're gonna drop!" yells Dick. "And your pants aren't gonna get us anywhere!" Whoops, not pants; that should've read "Damn Poison Pellets."
The other Dick (Chamberlain) jumps and yells that "Those are my Damn Poison Pellets!" ACCENT DRIFT! Yep, now suddenly he's got a Texan accent. And Dillman is standing right behind him! He's convincing people to join the Rebellion, one by one! Now here's the true hero of the movie! Overthrow the Evil Empire, Luke Dillwalker!
Okay, since you're reading this on your computer, please follow the instructions that Cr/aine gives us: "Feed this into the computer--[which, I should point out, is of course another BLiM, or Blinky Lights Machine]--African Bees attack a train--70 miles northwest of Houston. Now--give me a revised time fix, please." YEAH. Let me do that right now! Oh, no! I can't find the "African Bees attack a Train" key! Exactly how do I program your retarded request in BASIC, anyway? Our all-powerful 0.5Mhz computer running Windows 78 should finish running the program sometime by the next Marysville Flower Festival of Death, right after we finish our secret super-advanced computer project, "PONG." Oh, and the time for your next fix of Moron Heroin is RIGHT NOW!
Operation Enduring Damn Poison Pellets begins with the most dramatic music ever scored for helicopters with guys dumping bags of packing peanuts overboard. They fall on the Bees--suddenly, they can actually FIND the Bees--and Cr/aine, from a helicopter speeding at 100MPH at a height of 1,000 feet looks in his binoculars for 5 seconds and announces "THEY'RE NOT TOUCHING THE PELLETS!" in the exact same way that you can look out of your speeding car and tell what the ants on the highway shoulder are doing. Say, maybe next time we make 39,999,991 Damn Poison Pellets, we could--oh, I don't know--SEE IF THE BEES EAT THEM BEFORE WE MAKE THEM? Dunno, just a thought. I got the idea from the time I made rat poison out of big chunks of delicious rock. The rats just didn't seem to go for them.
Cr/aine, from atop the Empire State Building, reads the Bees' facial expressions on the sidewalk below: "They seem to sense that it's something that could kill them!" Chamberlain says (and I had to rewind to figure this out, as his accent's getting thicker by the minute) "Theah'ah brahter than Ah thought!" Yeah, they're at least brighter than the idiot who wrote this screenplay. Christ, those rats I mentioned were brighter. The ROCKS I fed them were brighter. Krim tops Chamberlain's line when he sighs "They always are!" Yep. That's the moral of this movie: Never underestimate the intelligence of a fucking bee.
Yeah, well, this plan didn't work in the first 5 seconds, so let's abandon it. We could wait until 8 seconds went by to see if the Bees eat the Damn Pellets, but why would we when we can be big dumb stoopy-head morons? "Maybe you should've tried bourbon and branch water and got'em DRUNK!" barks Dick, which may lend a bit of insight into how this movie turned out so gooder.
Meanwhile, back in abandoned Marysville, armed soldiers stand in front of the hospital because guns have proven really effective against bees so far, and Rita gives birth. Dr Alejandro Ray, who apparently is both an obstetrician and a bee-sting expert, tells her "You've just given birth to a beautiful, 6-and-a-half pound, beautiful HIDEOUS BEE MUTANT!" She says--and she's sweaty, natch, but also wearing a trash bag on her head--"I guess it's true what they say--That a woman sort of falls in love with her doctor at this time!" Do they say that? And there's something post-orgasmic in her delivery (HA! I mean delivery of the line) that really...kinda makes this the creepiest scene of the movie. It's like the opening scene of Fatal Attraction: Patty Adores a Minuet--And MURDER!
Looking for the ultimate accessory to your BLiM, one that will make all the other Government agencies jealous? It's MAPQUEST 1978, a giant panel with a map of Texas with MORE BLINKY LIGHTS THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE! It's Christmas every day with MAPQUEST 1978! Just look at 'em blink! Of course, that's all they do, totally at random, and a regular street map would be easier to use, but only MAPQUEST 1978 will tell you that "The Bees are turning onto Unknown Street"!
"Dr Cr/aine!" says Dillman. "Butcher, Major Baker, candlestick maker," says Cr/aine, "give us your rundown." "Well, Doctor, it started when I read the script. I mean, a paycheck's a paycheck, but Christ, it stank so bad that vultures followed me around Hollywood. I thought to myself, ' What an incredible smell you've discovered!' Then I got on the set and saw that you didn't even try to act, so I started doing unpredictable accents. Irwin never caught them, big ass that he is, so I recruited Chamberlain to the Rebellion. A Bothan spy found the plans to Emperor Irwintaine's next movie, a movie so bad that it could destroy an entire planet--" "Not how YOU got run down! The rundown on the BEES!" "Oh. Sorry. Three steel mills, 7 oil refineries, 2 beet sugar plants [?!], 8 days a week, 8 daaays a weeek, is not enough to show I care! and a NUCLEAR POWER PLANT! DUH-NUH-NUH-NUHHH!"
There were audible groans in the theater. Next, the Bees are going to destroy a NUCLEAR POWER PLANT! DUH-NUH-NUH-NUHHH! Christ. WOW, it's a good thing that there was all that worry that people might panic over this movie! Next, the Bees will cause the MOON to fall!
"46 towns, not including Houston, are in the di-rect path of thuh Africans!" finishes Dillman as Accent Drift kicks in a bit. DAMN AFRICANS! Why don't they just go back to where they came from! Ship 'em all back to Beetopia!
"Millions of people depend on that energy!" says General Dick about the NUCLEAR POWER PLANT! DUH-NUH-NUH-NUHHH! Yeah, the plant won't evacuate. I mean, the Bees have done everything but carjacking and starting Nigerian Internet Scams yet, so what's to worry? Chamberlain says "Mah ole paw down ohn thah fahm wah muh guh muh nuh nuh!" as his Accent Drift becomes Accent Devolution and he talks like some prehistoric Southern ape, or, in Human language, "I've fought them on environmental issues many times--Maybe I can jawbone some sense into them!" Hey, Samson, if that's the jawbone of an ASS, I know where it came from!
I don't know about this...While Thanksgiving is an appropriate time to talk about a turkey like The Swarm, a massive meal with extra l-Tryptophan combined with an Irwin Allen stink-fest might just push me into unconsciousness. Or insanity.
Humanity's fate now rests in the age-spotted hands of Dr Krim. If his vaccine fails, Cr/aine says "We might as well pack it in and ship off to New Zealand!" which is pretty much the advice I give about everything. We got 7 inches of snow yesterday--Auckland, here I come! Ooh, I got a hangnail--There's probably nail clippers in Christchurch!
How's the vaccine coming along? It "knocks the hell" out of the lab rabbits, meaning that it KILLS them, but Krim says "I'm think I'm on the right track!" Yeah, and so was the Marysville Express when it derailed in the mountains. I guess "dying from a train wreck or a vaccine instead of a bee" is, umm, an improvement. Like exploding is better than being suffocated by a smelly gorilla sitting on your face. I guess. This is like Krim's earlier invention, Shark Repellent made from 100% Fish Blood! "I'm on the right track, except for the part where the sharks eat you!"
More appropriate than Turkey Day to watch this movie is me Dillmanning just now (you know--evacuating. On the john). And in those few minutes I decided to give some deep thought to the whole Bee Menace. If they can make millions of Damn Poison Pellets overnight (that don't work), and are making millions of doses of vaccine (that's fatal), maybe you could instead make millions of--long sleeve shirts! With beekeeper hats and gloves! See? No one would die if they didn't get stung! They could also avoid high-risk situations like flower festivals and eating apples and hanging around Paul! Then you'd have time to make Poison Pellets that bees actually eat or vaccines that don't make you melt like the Nazi in Raiders! JUST A THOUGHT, BEE-FIGHTING EINSTEIN PATROL!!
"We need human guinea pigs!" for the vaccine that kills rabbits. "It may take 2 or 3 days to convince anyone!" says Cr/aine. Yes. One might think. Given that minor side effect of instant certain death, yes. Cr/aine himself volunteers, which makes sense, as he's been nearly dead all movie. And who'd miss him? It's not like he's DONE anything! Plus, I can't imagine anyone watching this movie NOT wanting Cr/aine out of it, either in a bodybag or on an Air New Zealand flight.
Cr/aine leaves, and somber music begins to drone. Yes, Krim's going to test his vaccine on himself. How retarded. It's like how Alfred Nobel tested dynamite by shoving a stick of TNT up his sweet Swedish ass. Remember how Christian Barnhard did the first heart transplant on himself while alone? And he injects himself with "DOUBLE the amount of venom that anyone's survived!" Since you know that getting stung by one bee just makes you hallucinate and sweat, why not inject yourself with that much and see if the vaccine gets rid of those symptoms? How about sticking with killing the rabbits with this shitty medicine?
Those questions aside, this is the only scene in the movie that works. That's entirely due to the fact that Henry Fonda can act, and unlike most people in this world of hurt, he actually does. He does an effective job of a guy dying (even while saddled with dialogue like "The physiological signs are rising to really spooky levels!") and then recovering as "The antidote works! By God, it works!" Which means, of course, that it doesn't. Krim dies. The theater audience is quiet. The only real actor in the movie is gone.
The audience is now really pissed.
Scene switch to the NUCLEAR POWER PLANT! DUH-NUH-NUH-NUHHH! It is very fake looking, and there are audience comments on this, especially when it switches to the "interior." The "power plant" looks very inspired by the SPECTRE volcano in the Bond movie You Only Live Twice, the most cartoonish of the 007 flicks. "Do you understand how disastrous it would be if I asked Washington to shut this nuclear power plant down?!" asks supermega-allstar-caster Jose Ferrer (who?). "Less disastrous than not shuttin' this hyar thang down, y'all!" opines recent Appalachian hick Richard Chamberlain. Yes, but not as disastrous as your tie. It's black with white things on it that look like Burger King logos, and it's 5 inches long and 2 feet wide. And why is Nuclear Power Planter Jose wearing a tux? The other workers are just another face in a red jumpsuit--They're all dressed like Joel from the Comedy Central years of MST3K. Our word for the day continues to be "appropriate."
"There's nothing here to attract the bees!" says Jose, apparently refering to the lack of apples. "The infrared rays could signal them, act like a beacon!" insists Chamberlain. Wow. You learn a little nugget of made-up bee information with every scene. I'd better throw my microwave away before the BEES notice and try to have bee-sex with it!
"See here!" says Jose and points at an OPEN GLOWING PIT with RADIOACTIVE STEAM pouring out of it in the MIDDLE OF THE PLANT with GUYS WALKING AROUND. NOT making this up! It's like a giant pile of plutonium sitting in the school cafeteria. "BILLIONS of dollars have been spent making this plant safe! FAIL safe! The odds against anything going wrong are astronomical, DOC-TOR!" screams Jose. "Umm, the steaming radioactive pile, normally we throw a tarp over that." Chamberlain drawls, "I appreciate that, DOC-TOR! But let me ask you, is there in all your fail-safe techniques any provision against an ATTACK BY KILLER BEES?!" And before you can even start laughing at that idiotic line ("And how about an ATTACK OF THE MOLE PEOPLE, ever think of that, DOC-TOR?!"), the Killer Bee Attack Alarm goes off. DUH-NUH-NUH-NUHHH! So, yeah, there's that provision.
"The Bees!" says Chamberlain, as Gizmonics workers flail about in slow-mo so that it's harder to see that they're really being buffetted by wind machines and Corn Pops. You'd think that a nuclear power plant would be airtight. The Bees, crafty devils that they are, probably disguised themselves as Domino's deliveryinsects. Maybe Homer Simpson works here; he's always doing goofy things like letting swarms of deadly bees in! "We've got to get the hell out of here!" yells Chamberlain, his newly-discovered Southern accent vanishing. "No, THIS way!" yells Jose, and you really expect Chamberlain to say "DO'H!" But they get sandblasted with cereal and Chamberlain goes "WHOAOHOHOHOH!!!" and falls on a control panel and there's electrical sparks and then the entire power plant explodes three times.
I've always remembered this scene as Chamberlain hitting a Big Red Self-Destruct Button, just like the kind that they build into your car's dashboard so that you can detonate the gas tank. Ahh, the frailty of memory. Possibly I was shutting out the shocking real truth: A nuclear power plant exploding because of contact with Richard Chamberlain's ass. "Is there in all your fail-safe techniques any provision against an ATTACK BY MY HEINIE?!"
This was just 5 minutes after Krim's death, and there wasn't a person in the theater not laughing at the movie now. Irwin Allen, Puppet-Master of our emotions! WE HATE YOU!
Immediate cut to that TV with a teletype noise, informing us that "36,422 people" are dead. Wow, they counted those corpsies fast! Especially given their general radioactive blow-uppedness. "The entire population of Armsworth, Texas" is dead. Oh. The blast ended at the city line, so they just checked the Census data. Cr/aine stares at the screen with a blank look of total horror, except for the "of total horror" part. I've watched Ron Popeil infomercials at 3AM with a more interested look. Hell, I think a normal person would have more emotion watching their burrito spin in the 7-11 microwave. Oh, and they're in the missile base still, which is really close to an exploded nuclear power plant, and no, there will be not one word about radiation for the rest of the movie. You'd think "radioactive blast" would rank just a weensy bit higher on the concern scale than the Bees. Especially since the Bees were in the HEART OF AN ATOMIC EXPLOSION. Shouldn't they be VAPORIZED or dying from RADIOACTIVITY? Like EVERYBODY ELSE?
General Dick informs Cr/aine that he's been fired! HOLY SHIT, WHY?! It's not like he's done anything wrong! Or anything, period! What's 40,000 dead in the grand scheme of things? Shouldn't they wait until the Bees burrow into the San Andreas Fault in their little miner hats and cute widdle bug pick-axes and cause California to sink into the ocean, killing 20 million? "From now on," intones Dick, "the War against the Africans will be under military direction!" You'd think that that creepy line would be sampled in rap songs, but that'd require that people actually sat this far into this hellhole.
"ESTIMATED TIME ARRIVAL AFRICAN SWARM HOUSTON SEVENTEEN HOURS" says TeletypeTV ("All Teletype, All Day!") and I was surprised that it didn't add "...ELEVEN MINUTES 44 SECONDS, OR 119 HOURS 77 MINUTES 308 SECONDS IN DOG YEARS." "Pack the oscilliscopes and meet me in Houston!" says Cr/aine to his assistant, Buddy Holly. "I haven't surrendered yet! Not that I've DONE anything yet!"
Then there's a scene where Cr/aine sits in Krim's wheelchair and looks at his glasses. The point of the scene is that Cr/aine is sad, but he just sits there stonefaced as always. Any other director would've cut the scene, but any other director would've fired Michael Caine on the first day of shooting. I mean, check this :
That's from the FRONT COVER BOX ART! Even the guy doing the painting shows Caine all disinterested! Okay, he also gave Katherine Ross a skull head, and I don't know what the hell's up with the guy holding the striped shirt man, but y'know, still.
Cr/aine drives on a deserted highway to Houston, and the radio tells us that "600,000 people have been evacuated" (in a few HOURS!!). Cr/aine is accompanied by Dr Ross, and the movie is moronic enough to put her in full uniform. Yes, she's an on-duty member of the Air Force, and they're just letting her wander off with the incompetent responsible through inaction for 40,000 deaths. Gee, I always thought that going AWOL was frowned upon. They're stopped at the city limits by an armed soldier wearing biowar gear (HEY! That was my idea from the toilet! They stole it!). "WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!" he demands. "Air Force headquarters!" says Cr/aine. "Go right ahead, Sir!" Wow, that was exciting. They have worse security than they had at the Primate Holding Division in King Kong Lives.
Yes! Houston is alive with the sound of PUMPKIN COMMANDOS! You know, the Pumpkin Men from the very beginning of the movie! They're joined by the ELITE SNOWMEN, white bio-suited guys who have flamethrowers and run around a lot. Run, Pumpkins and Snowmen, RUN! Sleep tight, and don't let the bedbugs bite! Or--THE BEES!!
The streets are heavily patrolled by Snowmen. The doors to USAF HQ are guarded by Pumpkins. Also the escalators. By "guarded," I mean "Guys that stand there and ignore everyone around them." Why put a guy with an M16 at the foot of the escalators if he's not going to ask people for ID? These Pumpkins wouldn't last a day in my liquor store! In fact, they waltz right into General Dick's office unquestioned. How do they know that these aren't BEES wearing a Cr/aine suit? They're brahter than we-all thought, remember!
Christ, did I ever pick the wrong line of work. I need a scriptwriting job with Irwin!
BILL THE SPLUT: Irwin.
GENERAL: I'm "glad" to see you're here--for the finale!
CR/AINE: Is there anything I can do?
BILL THE SPLUT: BAAAAHH-HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!! YEAH! You, DOING SOMETHING! Oh, Cr/aine, you still have your sense of humor!
CR/AINE: Bill the Splut.
"Very impressive," says Cr/aine of the exact same BLiMs we've seen all damn movie. "By tomorrow," says Dick, "There will be no more Africans!" And David Duke lights a cross on fire and does his Happy Dance! "At least not in the Houston Sector!" And Pat Buchanan looks up "Houston" on realtor.com! "This is a dress rehearsal for procedures to deal with any future African challenges!" says Dick, as he walks by the movie's SECOND black guy. Black Guy checks realtor.com for "cities where Irwin Allen movies don't play!"
"Billions" of bees have surrounded Houston, and "that's the plan!" Oh, Jiminey. The level of intelligence in the "plans" so far in this movie leads me to suspect that they're going to have Christopher Robin walk around with an umbrella saying "Tut, tut! It looks like rain!" while General Dick covers himself with mud and floats around on a balloon. "We're gonna get them concentrated in one area--and then ZAP 'EM!" Yes, I see. As being in the center of a NUCLEAR EXPLOSION didn't bother them, yes, I see how that could totally work. "I'm just a little black rain cloud, hovering over the honey tree..." Then Dillman walks in.
DILLMAN: Captain. Doctor.
Ha ha ha! Oh, it's the attention to little details like that that makes me love this movie more than I've ever loved my most open and festering of sores! General Dick screams "Prepare to use the NUTRACIDE!" which I guess is really bad-tasting NutraSweet. Well, worse-tasting. "NUTRACIDE?!" screams Cr/...Well, I mean, it's the General and Cr/aine, so it's probably not really needed for me to point out that there's screaming..."NUTRACIDE?!" casually mentions Cr/aine, horrified over the use of this made-up stuff. "But if you use THAT, nothing will grow out there for the next TEN YEARS!" So it's a pesticide AND an herbicide. Yep, sure, following you here, Professor of MakeItUpology Irwin Allen! "WHY worry about SHAVING when somebody's about to CUT YOUR HEAD OFF?!" whispers Dick confidentially. To which I lean over and mumble, "WHY worry about having NO HEAD when you GOTS NO FUCKING BRAIN?!"
Dillman (minus his recently acquired Texas accent) orders "All crews! Deliver your cargo, on target--NOW!" Maybe you should've punched up that "On target" a bit more, Brad, as we now see stock footage of C130s dumping Agent Orange over the jungles of VIET NAM. Yes, the Houston Jungle, right under the Texas Mountains. Hey, Irwin, here's five bucks, buy a fucking atlas already.
"They're coming through it!" says Dr Ross. "They've learned to live with it!" says Dillman in an accent that sounds like Scarlett O'Hara crossed with Norman Bates. They're immune to all pesticides! Yes, they must be, as we've seen them survive TEN WHOLE SECONDS. You know, if I sprayed a bug point-blank with Raid, I wouldn't be peeing my pants when it was not dead 10 seconds later. Don't invite me for dinner over these guys' houses, as they'll be serving pork chops that they've cooked for half a minute and not understanding why the trichinosis worms aren't dead. Maybe everything in this movie IS happening in dog years!
Then, the Bee Alarm goes off. Wow, but there's a lot of bee-triggered sirens in this movie. I wonder how you set those up. Do they sense honey? I'll have to check Radio Shack for one of those. Dillman gives a look that says "Oops...Evacuated again!" General Dick is equally unhappy. "So! The occupation of Houston has begun! And General Thaddeus Slater is the first officer in history to get his butt kicked by a mess of BUGS!" AH-HAHAHA! Oh, General Thaddeus "Dick" Slater, don't worry! You'll really go down in history as the officer with the greatest amount of dialogue written by retarded chimps!
Don't worry, we have a Plan Bee to fall back on! Plan BEE! Oh, you got that one, huh? This plan consists of setting fire to Houston! I'M KIDDING! No--wait--I'm not. That's the plan, the Snowmen use flamethrowers to set Houston on fire. An ambulance races through the streets, for the exact and only reason that the driver can get stung and go "AAAHH!" and then crash and it explodes. And explodes. And explodes. AND EXPLODES. Yes, it explodes four times, and bursts into flames 4 times, which is MORONIC because they're setting the city on fire anywa--Wait, that's IRonic, not MORonic...No, wait, cancel that. It's moronic.
"I can't get through to the general!" yells a Snowman with a walkie-talkie. "Too damn much interference, too many damn bees!" YEAH. Bees jam radios now, I've noticed that many times, thanks for the update, Professor of Applied DipShittery Irwin Allen. "We need reinforcements!" And they do, as there are Snowmen dropping like those insects that aren't bees. Possibly this is because they're doing really clever things like turning their flamethrowers on gasoline trucks with "FLAMMABLE" clearly marked on them and they get exploded.
General Dick stands looking over the flaming ruins of the city, while explosions go off and for no particular reason bees buzz. And here it comes, my most favoritest of lines ever:
"Houston--On fire! Will history blame me--OR THE BEES?"
Dunno. Was it the bees who came up with that "flamethrower" brainstorm, Nero?
That line is so mind-smashingly dopey that it overshadows the next lines. Would you say this, in a building about to be either burnt by idiots or eaten by bees?
CR/AINE: My compliments, General.
DICK: On WHAT?!
CR/AINE: On keeping a long-term historical perspective.
DICK: Well, Cr/aine, at this point, there's no other viable perspective!
If I was either one of these incompetents responsible for mass property damage or loss of life, I think our conversation would be more along the lines of "And which countries don't have extradition policies with the USA?"
CR/AINE: Don't give up.
CR/AINE: Thank you.
IRWIN: I had Jello today.
In the lab, Cr/aine--hard as it is to believe--FUCKING DOES SOMETHING!! "Hello, what's this? We've not seen this before! THAT'S IT!" Why, you see, it's as plain as the bee on my face! The ALARM at the missile base gives out the EXACT SAME VIBRATION as the "call of the queen bee when she's challenged by a younger bee!" Holy Bee Poop! The Bee Alarms! That's why they attacked the nuclear power plant! That's why they attacked Houston! That's not why they attacked all those other places! Umm...Hey, wait. Every one of those places ran the alarm AFTER the Bees attacked! WOW THAT'S SO BRAHT! Christ.
Speaking of bright, the Snowmen are continuing their flame war. "GET THE BEES!" yells one as he sets another Snowman on fire. There's an entire scene of these dudes just settin' each aflame. Most of them have taken their protective headgear off, so it's easier for the bees to get them. But what difference does it make, when your buddies are more than willing to turn you into a crepe suzette? Speaking of which, what happened with Patty Duke and her kid? The guy in the freezer? Paul the Wee, Eee, Who Will Be Blamed by History Boy? At least I still know where both my socks are. How was your Thanksgiving? Do you like canned cranberry sauce, or that chunky relish kind? I like the relish kind!
The Bees kill Dillman. The Bees kill Dick. The Bees kill Buddy Holly. "That'll BEE the day that I die!" Cr/aine and Ross make it, because Cr/aine throws a blanket over her. No, really, he does. Calgon Blanket, take me away!
They rush to an airport that, for Irwin-understandable reasons only, has a biplane in every shot. Possibly Snoopy will fly his Sopwith Camel against the Bees! "Fly in the sound horns and prepare the giant oil slick!" commands Cr/aine. "Won't the noise of the helicopter drown out the sound of the horn?" asks Dr Ross. "No, it's an entirely different sonic level!" says Cr/aine. I hope it's the level where Sonic fights Robotnik! And, you know, THANKS for attempting to actually EXPLAIN your insane plot for once, Irwin, but at this point all I wanted to know was what was with that biplane? It's been at the center of 6 shots already! Damn you, The Swarm! End already! It's late! "DITCH SOUND FLOATS!" Does it? Y'know, I've never been in a ditch making sounds, so I didn't realize that it fl--OH. Ditch sound floats! Throw out the floats that make sounds! Gotcha! Don't you really look forward to the pumpkin pie most of all? How come you only get it at Thanksgiving and Xmas? You can buy the filling year round. They're floats! Like the ones little kids use at the beach! I mean, why not pumpkin pie on the 4th of July? And they leak OIL! Oh, YEAH, Mr Environmentalist Cr/aine, so opposed to anything that might hurt non-bees, and here you are dumping OIL in the Gulf of Mexico! What's with my Mom and squash? Only she eats it. I mean, none of her 4 kids would ever touch the stuff, but she's been making it for 40 years now. Of course, her mother always brought yams, which no one would eat, but at least yams are fun to say! YAMS! Ha ha! Wasn't that fun to say? Forget oil pollution! LOOK at the senseless waste of Corn Pops! There's like a million boxes they're dumping! They're forming entire Corn Pop islands! They don't look like bees AT ALL! I thought Corn Pops were gross. Know what I miss? Crispy Critters. And Quisp. I mean, the oil-to-bee ratio here is really off. Atomic explosion they survived, and what was the deal with setting Houston on fire and they lived and now they're setting them on fire AGAIN? Isn't it dangerous, deep-frying those turkeys? And, man, they must taste all oily. No way! Not for Bill! Regular old turkey for me! Mom tried some Martha Stewarty thing where you put cheesecloth on the turkey today, and it almost caught on FIRE! "FIRE IT NOW, FIRE IT NOW!" yells Cr/aine and they use some rocket launching APC to set FIRE to the BEES! How do you make cloth out of cheese anyway? That must be hard to knit! Of course, pumpkin pie without whipped cream isn't as good. I wonder if Pumpkin Men eat pumpkin pie, or if that just reminds them too much of their job. I wish Dillman had lived, he was cool. Krim, too. Cr/aine, feh. Shoot the rockets at him. My nephew Matt, the only teenager, said that he plays "Extreme Croquet" and we all razzed him over that. What, when they play do they set the balls on FIRE? No, the set the BEES on fire! Burn, baby bees, BURN! Oh, come ON. The rockets explode in midair and still somehow ignite the oil! While the bombs are bursting in air, the rocket's red glare looks really fake on the blue screen behind Cr/aine and Ross. My cat is cute. I gave her some turkey when I got home. Huh? What? It's over? Bees can survive atomic explosions and fire but not fire the second time? Whoa, better carry that information in my wallet in case of ATTACK BY KILLER BEES.
Let the credits roll! Oh, how pleased these people must've been to see their names in this particular set of lights. "This movie made in cooperation with the Department of Defense." Since the Armed Forces all look like retards with randomly changing accents who set each other on fire in it, I'll bet that they learned to read the scripts first before they agreed to the next movie.
I'm glad I'm not named "George E. Swink."
"Cost Controller: George Leslie" I'll bet he swept up all those Corn Pops after every scene so that they could use them again! He probably also got that "Michael Caine gets paid by the emotion" contract. That saved a lot of money!
"Air Force Coordinator: Major John Gruchy." He's been peeling potatoes for the last 25 years.
"Opticals: Van Der Veer Photo Effects" "Van Der Veer" is Dutch for "What The Hell? Are those Corn Pops, or have we spent too much time in the marijauna cafe? DAMN! Those ARE Corn Pops! Dude, I'm like SO HUNGRY for Corn Pops right now! Let's go back to the cafe!"
"Super Special Greasy Bukkake Sweat Effects and Yelling: I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Vaseline! Slathered On Our Faces!"
"Wee, Eee: A Bee LLC"
I am SO not seeing this credit.
"THE AFRICAN KILLER BEE PORTRAYED IN THIS FILM BEARS ABSOLUTELY NO RELATION TO THE INDUSTRIOUS, HARD-WORKING AMERICAN HONEY BEE, TO WHICH WE ARE INDEBTED FOR POLLINATING VITAL CROPS THAT FEED OUR NATION."
DAMN AFRICANS! Stealing jobs from hard-working AMERICANS! Put down the KFC and get off welfare, you Africans!
NO! RASCIST! SUBTEXT!
My cat likes turkey.