Of Barboura Morris and “The Wasp Woman”


Today is the birthday of Barboura Morris (1932-1975), a lovely fixture of a little over a dozen Roger Corman features between 1957 and 1970, including one of my favorite movies Bucket of Blood (1959) and Sorority Girl (1957). No, no, that’s not her pictured above. That’s Susan Cabot, one of the stars of The Wasp Woman (1959) — it seemed the better lead photo for this movie. But Morris is the other female lead in that movie, the more heroic one. Here’s what she looked like:


The Wasp Woman may sound like it’s about an A.R. Gurney character but in reality the titular character (Cabot’s) is the 40-ish CEO of a cosmetics company who makes the mistake of taking an untested youth medication whose active ingredient is drawn from wasps, turning her into a shapely creature in black modern dance tights and a cute little wasp Halloween mask. Morris and her colleagues have to solve the mystery, cure her, and stop her from killing again! I just watched this movie a few days ago (TCM ran it) and it seemed a good one to share in Morris’s memory for the Halloween season. The Wasp Woman was one of her bigger roles for AIP, but Corman (who’d met her in an acting class) liked her and kept giving her smaller roles through the end of the 60s. Among others, she’s in The Wild Angels (1966), The Trip (1967), and The Dunwich Horror (1970). Sadly she died of of a stroke in 1975 after battling with cancer several years.

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