The Wasp Woman was a 1959 film in which a vain cosmetics company founder pushes her staff to conduct bizarre experiments with wasps to find a skin treatment that would allow women to keep their smooth, youthful skin. The experiments turn her into a freakish mutant wasp, bringing terror in her wake. The film’s star Susan Cabot had a more terrifying real life ending.
Like many before her, Susan Cabot arrived in Hollywood looking to become a star. After catching the eye of a talent scout who saw her acting on stage, she was signed to MGM, who never elevated her above its B-List. She then signed with Universal Pictures, though yet again she seemed stuck in B-List schlock. What began as a promising career ended with the B-List cheapie The Wasp Woman.
Despite her lack of success, Susan invested her money wisely and moved into an upscale neighborhood in Encino, California with her son, Timothy Roman. Timothy has been born with dwarfism, which Susan did not appreciate. Much like her movie alter ego, Susan’s son was a test subject in a government “treatment” trial that sought to “cure” dwarfism. While the treatment was apparently successful, it proved to be too risky to perform on humans because many of the subjects became infected with what is popularly known as “Mad Cow Disease.” The treatment would have horrific consequences.
By the 1980’s, Timothy and Susan were living together in her Encino mansion. The ensuing years had not been good for either of them; while Susan was still quite wealthy, she had become a recluse. Her mansion was littered with garbage and spoiled food while her son had rage issues, doubtless caused by his medical treatments. On December 10, 1986, Timothy dialed 9-1-1 to report that his mother had been killed. Officers who arrived on the scene described a disgusting, messy house that appeared ransacked. Susan’s bloodied, beaten and lifeless body was discovered and Timothy was arrested. At first, he claimed intruders had killed her. He then took credit for the murder, but claimed it was all self defense. Then he claimed that his mother had awoken him in the middle of the night screaming and it startled him.
After further investigation, the nightmarish treatments had been discovered and the prosecution no longer believed that Timothy was in his right mind at the time of the killings. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity.