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Hellstrom Chronicle, The

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

US film (1971). Wolper Pictures. Produced by Walton Green. Directed by Green and Ed Spiegel (Hellstrom/insect sequences). Written by David Seltzer. Cast includes Conlan Carter (farmer), Ian McShane (himself), Suzanne Pleshette (herself) and Lawrence Pressman. McShane and Pleshette appear in a film clip from If It's Tuesday, This Must be Belgium (1969). 90 minutes. Colour.

An early docudrama hosted and narrated by the fictional entomologist Dr Nils Hellstrom (Pressman), this film portrays rather disturbingly – with sf-like effects, film clips and overtones of apocalyptic Horror – how the insect world might well take over control of the earth from humanity. A notable distillation of the revenge-of-nature theme so popular in the 1970s, it won an Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Documentary Feature of 1971.

The Hellstrom Chronicle was a direct inspiration for Frank Herbert's Hellstrom's Hive (November 1972-March 1973 Galaxy as "Project 40"; 1973), which takes off from the insect premise to imagine a more immediate rival to humanity in the form of a new human subspecies organized with the brutal efficiency (and lack of concern for the individual) of the insect colonies (see Hive Minds) shown by Hellstrom. [GSt/DRL]


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