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The Hellstrom Chronicle

The Hellstrom Chronicle is an American film released in 1971 which combines elements of documentary, science fiction, horror and apocalyptic prophecy to present a gripping satirical depiction of the struggle for survival between humans and insects. It was conceived and produced by David L. Wolper, directed by Walon Green and written by David Seltzer, who earned a Writers Guild of America Award nomination for his screenplay.

The Hellstrom Chronicle
Hellstrom chronicle.jpg
Promotional film poster
Directed byEd Spiegel
Walon Green
Produced byDavid L. Wolper
Written byDavid Seltzer
StarringLawrence Pressman
Music byLalo Schifrin
CinematographyHelmuth Barth
Walon Green
Vilis Lapenieks
Ken Middleham
Edited byJohn Soh
Distributed byCinema 5 Distributing
Release date
  • June 28, 1971 (1971-06-28)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States

Green later called it "almost yellow-journally but good. We were giving the audience an elbow to the ribs every third line."[1]

Several cinematographers photographed this film using stop-motion photography with microscopic and telescopic lenses. The trailer resembled an announcement for a science fiction movie. The film provided the inspiration for Frank Herbert's science fiction novel Hellstrom's Hive.

This movie was the first use of the iconic sounding waterphone in a film.


Fictitious scientist Dr. Nils Hellstrom (played by Lawrence Pressman) guides viewers throughout the film. He claims, on the basis of scientific-sounding theories, that insects will ultimately win the fight for survival on planet Earth because of their adaptability and ability to reproduce rapidly, and that the human race will lose this fight largely because of excessive individualism. The film combines short clips from horror and science fiction movies with extraordinary camera sequences of butterflies, locusts, wasps, termites, ants, mayflies, other insects rarely seen before on film and insectivorous plants/insects.

Technical advisers Roy Snelling and Charles Hogue, were entomologists at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.[2]


Home video releasesEdit

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray January 10, 2012 from Olive Films.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Swarming the Field: Bugs, Nazis, and The Hellstrom Chronicle". Grantland. Retrieved 2012-09-29.
  2. ^ The Hellstrom Chronicle on IMDb
  3. ^ "Glenn Erickson: The Hellstrom Chronicle". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2013-01-14.

External linksEdit