The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971)

Article 2570 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-18-2008
Posting Date: 8-26-2008
Directed by Walon Green and Ed Spiegel
Featuring Lawrence Pressman
Country: USA

A scientist puts forth his own theories as to why the insects will inherit the earth, and provides the evidence to prove his theory.

Don’t worry too much about the ostracism that doctor Nils Hellstrom underwent for putting forth his fanatical theories; he is, as the closing credits clearly point out, a fictional character played by an actor. In some ways, the presence of an onscreen narrator with a personal interest in the subject reminds me of DEATH: THE ULTIMATE MYSTERY, but with the following difference; that one was dull, unconvincing, and a rehash of mostly too-familiar doctrines, and this one is gripping, absorbing, convincing and never dull. Hellstrom’s paranoia may be a little over-the-top, but the wonderful insect footage is fascinating, beautiful and repellent, sometimes all at once, and the movie does have a sense of humor, especially when it explores man’s reaction to his insect neighbors in a series of “Candid Camera”-like moments. It’s all very well written, from the opening attention-grabbing line to the final philosophical musing about who wins the race. It’s the portentous musings about who will win that race that probably provides the fantastic content of this documentary, though it should be pointed out that this movie and its main character did inspire a science fiction novel by Frank Herbert. Certainly, it’s one of the best documentaries I’ve seen for this series of movies I’ve covered. And I can’t help but make my own observation; the insects would never have made a movie like this about us humans.


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