terror out of the sky

July 23rd, 2010 by Perfesser Deviant

Terror Out of the Sky   Terror oot Sky 78 dvd front 83x120 reviews horror Director: Lee H. Katzin
Writer
: Peter Nelson, Doris Silverton & Guerdon Trueblood
Release Year
: 1978

Be my hairy he-goat of love.

Doctor David Martin (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) and Jeannie Devereux (Tovah Feldshuh) are bee researchers, trying to breed a better species of honeybee that will resist being taken over by Africanized bees. Something goes wrong and it’s up to Jeannie’s boyfriend Nick Willis (Dan Haggerty) to help the scientists – who would, had this film been made in the 50s, have created the bees using grisly atoms – stop the stingee plague.

(Spoilers follow…)

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In 1978 there were three movies about killer bees made:

One was big-budgeted and utterly inept; it was called The Swarm.

One was low-budgeted and utterly inept; it was called The Bees.

One was low-budgeted and not at all bad; it was called Terror Out of the Sky.

This is a review of that third one.


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I wore a fifteen pound beard of bees for her.


Terror Out of the Sky is a made-for-television sequel to the 1976 made-for-television film The Savage Bees. Jeannie Devereux (then played by Gretchen Corbett) was instrumental in helping to stop a swarm of killer bees from killing in New Orleans, Louisiana during Mardi Gras. In this film, she’s still shaken from her experience in the previous film – it’s even affected her appearance – and constantly has nightmares about the terrifying events. These nightmares are a great way to show what happened in the previous film without the usual “last time” stuff that’s common in both television and cinema. That’s just the beginning of what makes this film better than average.


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Truck driving bees.


The protagonists use intelligence to seek out the possible location of the large swarm of killer bees working their way through rural California. When the bees are located, they could not be in a worse place. Because it’s the 4th of July, there’s a community baseball game – between a local military base and the small town – going on and the bees have chosen a spot near there. Jeannie gets a troop of scouts to help find the bees, luckily they do and find a place to hide before the bees get them. Unluckily the hiding place is a school bus that’s low on gas. Luckily, Col. Mangus (Richard Herd) believes them and tells everyone to go home. Unluckily the marching band’s noise draws the bees right to everyone. Luckily Jeannie thinks fast and uses the bus’ horn to call the bees to her. Unluckily, this means the bus is now covered with bees. Luckily, one of the scouts – the Colonel’s son Eric Mangus (Ike Eisenmann) – knows of a good place to go. Unluckily, they run out of gas so Jeannie and the scouts end up trapped in a rapidly heating bus that’s also covered with bees.


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Bee mine.


The resolution to this requires that Dr. Martin – with his mighty boots – goes to save the kids by using his beekeeper’s-outfit-protected body as a temporary hive for the bees. Since the bees have been found guilty of sucking, they’re to be gassed. Dr. Martin goes to a defunct missile testing building to gas the bees, but ends up being gassed himself when the building turns out to be less than intact after the recent earthquake. His death is sufficiently heroic to redeem his lust for his young protege Jeannie. Her bravery driving a busload of bees forces her to face her fears and come out of things stronger. Nick’s commitment to Jeannie is confirmed when he remains with her, even though he said he wasn’t going to because he was angry. This sort of thing is uncommon in a low-budget film and works because the performances are strong enough to keep the characters growth to seem silly or like parody. It’s all handled with subtlety and sensitivity, never pushing it in your face. Nice.


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Bay-bee love.


The film looks good. Real bees were used, which made everything look a lot better than usual for this sort of film. The cinematography, including some wonderful aerial shots and some good shots of the outdoors, worked. The finale in the missile complex made great use of a unique location. Even the music was subdued and allowed the actors to emote without hitting us over the head with some overwrought crap. The only place this failed was in the special effects – there’s one ghastly fake corpse – but that’s really minor.


Rating: Terror Out of the Sky   star reviews horror Terror Out of the Sky   star reviews horror Terror Out of the Sky   star reviews horror Terror Out of the Sky   halfstar reviews horror Terror Out of the Sky   blankstar reviews horror

 

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Trailer:

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