The bee’s knee, this is not...
You’ve got to admire 1950s creature feature artists for thinking outside the box, letting their imagination run wild, and freaking us out with crazy gimmicks. That said, more often than not, they leave us dissatisfied. In the case of The Wasp Woman, all the good stuff gets postponed to the third act. Expect countless exposition scenes, instead, and a lot of foreshadowing.
Roger Corman had directed and produced a little over 20 films, at this point, and was getting the hang of it. The tone is uneven and often inappropriate, which is mostly attributable to poor choices in the cutting room. But that’s kind of nit-picking. The film feels older than it is, which is also nit-picking. If you like slow-paced supernatural mystery, or if you’re nostalgic, this is for you.
The story, on paper, is riveting. Not that this is a long movie, but if you took away most of the second act, you’d end up with an enticing monster flick. The idea of a lycanthrope; a “wearwasp”, to be specific, makes you want to witness the abomination. Given that the metamorphosis is blamed on a rejuvenation elixir, anything goes. It gives an otherwise silly movie a flexible logic.