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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Graveyard Tramps')

Directed by Denis Sanders
USA 1973

 

"Invasion of the Bee Girls is the best schlock soft-core science fiction movie since The Vengeance of She, ", claimed film critic Roger Ebert. And who wouldn’t be terrified by the very thought of watching these lovely bee-hived beauties love their chosen mates to death? A government inspector, that’s who. And now he alone must stop their lust for killing, before he becomes one of the Queen Bee’s honeys! This bee-witching tale stars a pair of bee-uties: Anitra Ford (The Big Bird Cage) and Victoria Vetri (When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth).

***

A classic example of the crossover genre which thrived briefly in the Sixties and Seventies, this enthusiastic mixture of invasion horror and badly shot soft porn focuses on a small American town whose menfolk are mysteriously dying, apparently during the act of coitus. From the outset, this presents us with two mysteries: why are the deaths occurring, and who would want to have sex with these men anyway? To be fair, the bad lighting and orangey colouration in this film don't flatter anyone, even the genre's better-known actresses; in places the lighting is bad enough to create an extra layer of mystery, as it's hard to see what the characters are doing. Nevertheless, this is a B-movie with a certain charm, pompous enough to be amusing even in its less salubrious moments.

The film's central mystery doesn't remain such for long, as viewers are allowed to see rather more than they might want to be of what's going on. Gratuitous nudity mingled with twee landscape photography evokes Russ Meyer whilst conveying none of his artistic confidence. Enthusiastic women lead older, uglier men into compromising situations; a buzzing sound is then heard, and the men die. Why? Because these women have been turned into half-bee creatures (sadly, Monty Python's Eric does not make an appearance).

Excerpt from EyeForFilm located HERE

Posters

 

Theatrical Release: June 1st, 1973

Reviews                                                                  More Reviews                                                          DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Distribution Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC MGM - Region 1 - NTSC Shout! Factory
Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:24:39  1:24:57 1:26:08.204
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.44 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   
1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.96 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,936,260,967 bytes

Feature: 22,956,386,304 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: SECRET KEY

Bitrate: MGM

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 1709 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1709 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles  None  English, French, Spanish, None  English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Secret Key

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 (original 1.85?)

Edition Details:

• Dr. Dildo's Secret
• 2069: A Space Odyssey
• Trailers / adverts

DVD Release Date: June 15th, 2010

Keep Case
Chapters: 17

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85

Edition Details:

• Invasion of the Star Creatures (opposite side)
• Trailer (2:25)

DVD Release Date: February 15th, 2005

Keep Case
Chapters: 16

Release Information:
Studio: Shout! Factory

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,936,260,967 bytes

Feature: 22,956,386,304 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• Photo Gallery (2:59)
• Trailer (2:29)

• Two radio Spots (0:36, 1:03)

Blu-ray Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray March 2017: The Shout! factory is over 1-minute 11-seconds longer than the MGM (and even longer than the Secret Key) - without knowing specific scenes or frames - this bodes well from the Shout! Factory possibly be 'complete'. It is probably not from the MGM source. I suppose an aficionado of the film (like Charles P. below) will let us know... Kudos that it shows more information the frame - notably the side and top edges, the colors and detail are miles ahead and, even being single-layered, it looks quite smooth in-motion although I did see a few compression artifacts. It looks better than I thought with warmer skin tones and depth present.

Shout! Factory use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel (24-bit) and it sounds very clear with some depth in modest effects and the score by Charles Bernstein (White Lightning, Stoney, Cujo, Deadly Friend, Mr. Majestyk) - you can also hear - although more discreetly Also Sprach Zarathustra and Scheherazade. Shout! Factory add optional English subtitles and the Blu-ray  disc is region 'A'-locked.

Only a photo gallery, trailer and two radio spots for this classic of 'B' sexploitation schlock. Shout! Factory could have done it up as a Collector's Edition with someone available for a commentary and modern interviews with some of the gals... still a gas.  

***

ADDITION: MGM - Region 1 NTSC - June 10': It looks like the Secret Key was taken from an open matte print - but, obviously, one in pretty rough shape. The MGM is anamorphic in the original theatrical 1.85 and we lose some information on all 4 sides. It has been stated that the MGM has a briefly cut scene (or some nudity from that scene) but the Secret Key appears to show no more... but I haven't scrutinized. After watching I actually expected the MGM to be a longer running time as it appeared to me to have more scenes. If both are cut - it is reported to be minor. Both include the attempted 'rape' scene involving Victoria Vetri.

Other notable differences, aside from the obvious (1.33 open matte vs. 1.85 theatrical aspect ratios, cleanliness, etc.) are that the Secret Key starts with the R-rated 'cat' logo and it has 2-3 scenes that are (intentionally?) color-overexposed - see the very last set of captures. I tend to think the effect was meant to be in the theatrical (who would post-invent it) but I have no idea - it seems totally out of place when it is used.

The MGM has optional subtitles (see sample below) and shares the single-layered, dual-sided DVD with only a trailer and has 'Invasion of the Star Creatures' on the opposite side of the disc.

Big difference here and the MGM , beyond everything else, is significantly cheaper - get it while you can - some of these Midnite Movies tend to go out-of-print.

NOTE: Charles P. sent us this in email: "The MGM DVD looks and sounds the best, of course, but it is also missing footage here and there, especially at reel changes. The most egregious bit of missing footage that I noticed (there many be many more deletions, perhaps some very tiny due to damage - I didn't notice) is almost an entire scene! If you watch the scene on the MGM DVD, there is a noticeable cut and jump in the logic of the scene. Some of the footage on the MGM version is extremely cropped on all 4 sides, which is why I went back to the PD version for those shots as I believe a different incomplete source was used to try to cover that gap of missing footage, perhaps a 16mm print that was already cropped to some degree. I don't believe the scene was edited for content, though I can't explain how MGM has the elements and apparent rights to the film and only have a worn, incomplete theatrical print in the vault from which to work.

I uploaded the scene in question HERE, though I don't think it will be up long because of the nudity and this website's "no nudity" policy, so check out this clip while you can! The deleted footage starts at 1:20.
" (Thanks Charles!)

***

ON THE SECRET KEY DVD: Firstly, the Midnite Movie Edition at 1.85:1, available HERE, is going to be the superior edition. We will compare and I think it should blow this 'Secret Key' package away.

The film is very cool, grindhouse/sexploitation stuff. The other two features here are not worthy of the time invested but Invasion of the Bee Girls is! - The alt features are described as: "2069: A Sex Odyssey: Five sexy astronauts from the all-female planet Venus invade a town nestled at the foot of the Alps. Their mission: seduce enough Earth-men to continue their race for another 10,000 years! Dr. Dildo’s Secret: Obsessed with the desire to create a perfect woman, a mad scientist grows facsimiles in his basement – and breathes them into life through sex!" Ho-hum... although the Sex Odyssey has enticingly bad DUBBING (which is amusing).

The print used for this DVD transfer has extensive scratches - which in itself is not such a poor thing to replicate the genre. Most will recall the Rodriguez/Tarantino Planet Terror and Death Proof and how scratches were intentionally added to give this nostalgic effect. But aside from the 1.33 print, reported to be theatrically shown in 1.85, the transfer is very low caliber - interlaced with an appallingly low bitrate, hazy and it shares the dual-layered disc with 2 (count'em 2!) full features and some trailers.

Audio is likewise weak - 2.0 channel with no optional subtitles.

Anyway, bottom line is to not bother with this 'Sleazy Sci-Fi of the 70s' DVD and wait for our Midnite Movies disc comparison. I've ordered it so it should be coming soon... 

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus

 

Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT


Additional Features:

Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT

Shout! Factory Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Subtitle samples

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Covers

Distribution Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC MGM - Region 1 - NTSC Shout! Factory
Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 



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