The Wasp Woman / Beast from Haunted Cave (Retromedia) Blu-ray Review + 1080p Screenshots + Packaging Shots

Retromedia resurrects a long out of print (OOP) Roger Corman double feature.

Studio: Retromedia
Release Date: October 30th, 1959 (theatrical) (The Wasp Woman) / October 30th, 1959 (theatrical) (Beast from Haunted Cave) / June 10th, 2024 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 1 hour 3 minutes 18 seconds (The Wasp Woman) / 1 hour 5 minutes 47 seconds (Beast from Haunted Cave)
Region Code: FREE
Disc Count: 1 (BD-R 25)
Picture: 1080p (1.66:1 aspect ratio) (both films)
Sound: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (both films)
Subtitles: No
Slipcover: No
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Susan Cabot, Fred Eisley, Barboura Morris (The Wasp Woman) / Michael Forest, Sheila Noonan, Frank Wolff, Wally Campo, Richard Sinatra (Beast of Haunted Cave)
Written by Leo Gordon (The Wasp Woman) / Charles B. Griffith (Beast from Haunted Cave)
Directed by Roger Corman (The Wasp Woman) / Monte Hellman (Beast from Haunted Cave)
Rating: Approved (some scary scenes) (both films)




What's It About?

Founder and owner Janice Starlin who is the face behind the sale of her cosmetics, starts to see a drop in the sales due to the fact that she is aging. She hires a scientist name Eric Zinthrope, who develops a formula from wasp jelly, who agrees to use her as a human test subject. Unbeknownst to him, Janice has been secretly injecting herself with more wasp serum in order to obtain her beauty, and she is transform into a hideous monster. (The Wasp Woman)

Ski instructor Gil Jackson agrees to take a group of tourists on a 2-day cross-country ski trip to his cabin deep in the woods. Unbeknownst to him, they are actually a gang of thieves who plan to steal gold bars and make their getaway through the woods. When they set off an explosion in a local mine as a diversion, they kill the security guard. Tensions rise as they spend a few days at Jackson's cabin awaiting an airplane that is supposed to pick them up. They also have to deal with a deadly cave creature that has them earmarked for death. (Beast of Haunted Cave)


THE WASP WOMAN looks pretty good. This is a rough scan with very little restoration done. That means we get scratches and hairs and dots. Thankfully, they are not a huge problem. This isn't a fan scan where the prints were in rough condition. While there are the imperfections they never overtake the picture.This does look like an old scan. Maybe done for the DVD release. The film is presented here in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio (both films are in fact) while it's original aspect ratio was 1.85:1 (both films too.) In the commentary for EVIL SPAWN, he talks about a film's original aspect ratio versus the 1.66:1 he almost uniformly uses. He says he choose that ratio because it helps cover up damage along the edges of the frame. You can still see what he means occasionally. I have no problem with this but there have been a vocal few that hate that he has done this. Neither film feels cramped with the slight change in aspect ratio like the Arrow Video blu-ray of BLOOD AND BLACK LACE

BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE looks so much worse than the Film Masters version. That picture was crisp, clear, and clean. Here, we have crushed blacks, a flat picture, and less definition. Like THE WASP WOMAN, this transfer had to have been done a decade or more ago. The picture is passable but pales in comparison to the Film Masters blu-ray.


The Wasp Woman

Commentary - Fred Olen Ray and David DeCoteau provide a must-listen commentary track. These two offer up a bunch of history about the film and the filmmakers while also having a lively discussion about the film as seen by two fans. I love the previous tracks they have done before and this track belongs up there with the best the format has to offer. 
Addition TV Scenes (10m 29s, HD, 1.66:1) We get this explanation at the start: 

When Roger Corman contracted with distributor Allied Artists for TV syndication rights of the Filmgroup package there was a stipulated running time included in the deal.

Filmgroup's movies, usually running barely over an hour, required that new scenes be shot years after the fact in order to meet the designated running time. To this end, Roger Corman hired directors Jack Hill and Monte Hellman to go out into the field and bring back new sequences to pad out the movie. Here then, are those scenes.

It looks like they just shot a ten minute chunk to put in the middle of the film. The footage looks pretty good.

Trailer (1m 25s, SD, 1.33:1)
Beast from Haunted Cave

Commentary actor Michael Forest and Fred Olen Ray - this is a nice, leisure track between the star and the fan. Ray knows what kind of questions to ask that keeps this track lively.

Additional TV Scenes (6m 42s, HD, 1.33:1) This contains even more fluff than the TV scenes for The Wasp Woman.

Trailer (1m 32s, SD, 1.33:1) This is a rough trailer. Look to the aforementioned Film Masters blu-ray for a proper restoration of this trailer.

The packaging here is pretty minimal. The front cover features both film's posters. Inside, you get a flyer for some of exclusives including TERMINAL FORCE, MARRIED TOO YOUNG, and THE UNLIVING. There is also the BD-R disc featuring part of THE WASP WOMAN poster. I have always hated the way the artwork is used on every Retromedia disc. It looks cheap and tacky. 

The disc is REGION FREE


I am very happy Retromedia released this blu-ray as part of their MOD line. The first blu-ray had gone out of print before I could buy it and now it's all mine. Both films are a lot of fun along with being barely over an hour long. Both films get in, give you the goods, and then get out before becoming stale. That was one of many, many things I loved about Roger Corman's films. He was quick and to the point. At least he was with his cheapies. 

The blu-ray has some great special features. Each film gets a commentary track. THE WASP WOMAN's track is with Fred Olen Ray and David DeCoteau while BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE features actor Michael Forest and Fred Olen Ray. Both of these tracks are must-listen. We get the TV scenes for each film which are interesting along with each film's trailer. I am happy to say that this is a must-purchase for fans and newbies alike. 






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