B-Movie: The Swarm (1978)

“Bees! Bees! Oh my God! Millions of bees!” I’ve never actually sat through Irwin Allen’s catastrophic coup de grace, THE SWARM (1978) until recently, because I assume any film with Michael Caine, Katherine Ross, Henry Fonda plus a dozen archetypal “stars” who could fill a series of boxes at the base of the poster while fighting off a horde of killer African insects must bee (sic) awful on general principle. Written by Stirling Silliphant, scored by Jerry Goldsmith, THE SWARM is as deliciously bad as the dialogue above. This is a one-shop, non-stop laugh fest that stretches on for over two hours on Netflix’s uncut version. Caine shouts his way through the film, chewing sunflower seeds as a quirky trait, and no doubt envisioning a fantastic vacation in Rio; I would wager that after takes, the actors laughed out loud themselves. THE SWARM came at the merciful end of the 1970’s disaster film era that profited Allen the most. Despite the large budget, the bee effects are sub-par optical work with the usual flailing stunt-people coated in the critters. He would make one more bid to scare audiences into box-office submission, WHEN TIME RAN OUT (1980) — a film so undervalued that Paul Newman fans might be surprised he re-teamed with Allen after THE TOWERING INFERNO for this forgotten volcano epic (except by Mr. Peel). If only THE SWARM was filmed in 3-B…

2 Responses to “B-Movie: The Swarm (1978)”

  1. Only it was an “A” bee movie. There’s something so much more unforgivable about a big-budget turkey.

    Most bad movies are generally boring, with a few scattered funny bits. The consistently hilarious ones, like NIGHT OF THE LEPUS, are rare. Based on your review and clips I’ve seen, this is on that preeminent level.

  2. christian Says:


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