Killer bees attack Houston (again): Hollywood plans to remake The Swarm
Lovers of B-movies rejoice.The Swarm, a 1978 cult classic about killer bees invading Houston, is being remade. The original, considered by some as one of the worst disaster movies ever produced, was indeed shot in H'Town. Ain't It Cool News once called it "so cheesy" it should make viewers' cholesterol go up while watching.
Texas fim historian Gordon K. Smith says the new version, "can only be better!" He should know because he's an expert in B-movies, especially those shot in the Lone Star State. He recalls hearing The Swarm star Michael Caine, in an NPR interview, recount that real bees pooped on their white lab coats progressively making them "more brown."
Yep, some real bees were used, but none were harmed, in the making of this movie (unless you count their stingers being clipped).
According to a report in TheWrap, the success of films like Piranha 3D have set the cheesy horror genre back in motion. The Swarm remake, however, stands the chance of being more than its lowbrow predecessor because producers Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity) and Roy Lee (The Ring) are in charge this time around. What is unclear at this point is whether the script will again be based on the novel by Arthur Herzog or rather an original screenplay, perhaps set in a different locale.
Here's hoping the setting remains in Houston. What a cool buzz that would be (ahem) for the Bayou City.
The original film featured some of the biggest stars of the time — Henry Fonda, Richard Widmark, Richard Chamberlain, Olivia de Havilland, Ben Johnson, Patty Duke, Slim Pickens and Fred MacMurrary, in his final role — and it still flopped.
Shot for an estimated $21 million back in 1978, the movie, to date, has still only grossed around $10 million in the USA. After 32 years, The Swarm has yet to make half of what it cost to produce.
It was reportedly shot around the Astrodome, Memorial Park and the McKinney Street exit ramp, as well as the Warner Bros. studio in California. I say "reportedly" because The Swarm pre-dates our Houston Film Commission and film historians need to come forward to supply more details.
Hey, anybody out there still buzzing around from the original production? Let me know. Maybe we can organize and sweeten the honey pot so this new film also comes to Houston for filming.