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Bee Afraid: A Review of Horror Movies With Bees

Stung

Wasp goo.

Spooky pumpkin

Photo by Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash

It’s That Time of Year

It’s All Hallow’s Eve. Samhain. Halloween. For some of us (me), it’s our favorite holiday of the year and it’s a time to celebrate. I like to indulge in horror movies. Every year I’m on a personal quest to find quality horror movies. You know, solid acting, a plot that makes sense, dialogue that doesn’t make you cringe. This year, I decided to find the most notable examples of horror movies with bees and review them for you. 

Bees are frequently used as a plot device in movies, a source of fear for the characters and the audience alike. Insect phobias are one of the most common phobias and you probably know somebody who is afraid of bees. I’m personally terrified of yellow jackets (who are wasps, not bees, just to be clear.) They are super disrespectful of personal space and I’m not about it. 

Why Bees in Horror Movies?

While bee stings are somewhat common in the warmer months, bees are not terribly aggressive unless they feel threatened. Kind of like most living, breathing creatures. They seem like an easy target for horror movies because most people know the unpleasant quality of a bee sting and because they are often misunderstood. Kind of like sharks. 

Did you know shark attacks are actually pretty rare? 

It’s kind of like how horror movies use violence against animals to hit people right in the emotions. Does that bother you too? There’s a website for people like you and me.

Back to bees: I decided to compile a list of the most notable uses of bees in horror movies through the decades. We start in the 1960s and go through the 2010s. We have examples of movies based entirely around our fuzzy little friends and movies that just have one or two scenes dedicated to pollinators. 

Keep in mind, these movies are not child-friendly, so please don’t let your kiddos peruse our Youtube links. 

Let’s get spooky. 

 

The Deadly Bees (1967)  

The plot of this movie is bonkers. It involves an “exhausted” actress, evil science experiments, and, of course, bees. Apparently it’s based on a book that was in the style of Sherlock Holmes and it does have a “big reveal” part of the way through the film. 

The Deadly Bees

Weaponized bees. I wish I were kidding.

Cringe factor: Lots of swooning.  

Visuals: Cartoonish flying bees.

Accuracy: Weaponized bees and the “smell of fear”? No, no. 

Recommended: The Island of Dr. Moreau Lite. 

 

The Savage Bees (1976)

This movie has scientists. Fighting bees during Mardis Gras. Plus, it won a freakin’ Emmy Award for Best Sound Mixing. This movie takes a different approach than our last which embellished science (to say the least.) This one focuses on incorporating much more accurate information about bees in the context of killer bees who scooted across the Atlantic to terrorize the Big Easy. 

The Savage Bees

A man in his stylish bee suit.

Cringe factor: A swarm of bees attacks a man who fights back with a plastic pirate sword.

Visuals: Moon man looking bee suit. 

Accuracy: I guess they talk about bee anatomy a lot? 

Recommended: If you’re into science. There are multiple laboratory scenes. 

 

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

This famous horror film is not centered around bees like our first two examples but is a slasher-type film that involves multiple death scenes. Surprise: one of the murders involves a beehive. This film is pretty brutal, so it’s not recommended as casual watching. 

Bees in the bathroom

Cringe factor: The guy dies on the toilet.

Visuals: They really got into their stage makeup with this one. 

Accuracy: If you shake and then drop a hive, it will probably piss off the bees. 

Recommended: Apparently, the plot twist at the end of this movie absolutely SHOCKED people at the time. It was like the precursor to The Sixth Sense

 

Candyman (1992)

Continuing the slasher-theme, this film from the ’90s was based on a short story set in Liverpool, England and adapted to the Cabrini-Green neighborhood in Chicago. It centers around the urban legend of an African American artist who was murdered by the father of a white woman he was in love with. It was death by bees. He comes back to haunt the neighborhood and macabre events take place.  

Candyman

Don’t worry, he has a mouthguard in.

Cringe factor: Minimal. This is the most well-regarded film on this list. 

Visuals: Infamous. 

Accuracy: Baby bees were used in key scenes (see above) so they were less aggressive and less likely to sting the actors. Plus, it was largely filmed in the neighborhood it was set in.

Recommended: Watch this classic before the Jordan Peele remake comes out in 2020.

 

Wicker Man (2006 remake)

Originally made in 1973, this remake was a gigantic theatrical flop. However, it gained a cult following due to Nicholas Cage doing what Nicholas Cage does best: overact. It’s one of those horror movies that you watch to laugh, not to be afraid. Plus, it has a ridiculously over-the-top torture scene with bees. 

Wicker Man (remake)

Just one part of a ritual sacrifice scene.

Cringe factor: The screams of Nicholas Cage.

Visuals: So much CGI. 

Accuracy: I don’t think human sacrifice will be a method we use to restore honey production.

Recommended: If you didn’t like Midsommar, you ain’t gonna like this. 

 

Stung (2015)

Our most recent pick technically has wasps as the enemy, but I couldn’t find much else from this decade. It’s like it’s too close to home to pathologize bees when we are seeing such a steep decline in their populations. Wasps, however, seem to be fair game. I don’t think you need to know much plot here because it’s basically a wasp-takes-over-human-body sort of deal. 

Stung

Wasp goo.

Cringe factor: There’s a character named Caruthers. 

Visuals: Lots of goo. 

Accuracy: As far as I know, no human has ever given birth to a wasp, but prove me wrong! 

Recommended: Only if you’re bored and there are no other horror movies available. So, no. 

Bees in Horror Movies: The End

That’s it. Our Halloween Bee Movie Roundup 2019. 

If you enjoy exploring the inner workings of fear, check these movies out, but remember, Hollywood isn’t known for its accuracy, but rather its exaggeration; bees are not coming for us in our sleep, they really just want to keep their hive functioning well and gather nectar from the tastiest blooms. If you want to learn more accurate information about bees, be sure to check out our e-courses!  

 

See Also:

Honey Bee Breeds and Their Attributes

Bee Movie Review

Caitlin Knudsen
Caitlin Knudsen is a content writer for Beepods with a passion for lifelong learning and psychology. She is an avid gardener, grower of houseplants, and does recipe development and food photography in her spare time.

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