Future Shock: “The Hellstrom Chronicle” (1971)

hellstrom1        “The Hellstrom Chronicle”  (1971)

     One of the most recognizable characteristics of the 1950’s science fiction film is that peculiar concession to the presentation of an academic nature profile in the midst of an atomic mutation’s using the nearest township as an appetizer; those brief factual film presentations educating the film’s hero as to the inevitably aggressiveness of Mother Nature (whose message always seems to be that everything would kill us if it were large enough), as if National Geographic were suddenly in the business of tracking down and sounding alarums against those giant predatory beasties mysteriously resistant to pesticides and the square cube law.

     In the curious 1971 documentary “The Hellstrom Chronicle” these very same occasions for academic zoological profiling are  reprioritized and given center stage in the form of a feature length caveat by a severely distressed scientist Dr. Lasse Hellstrom, who, after a rather needlessly protracted period of sweaty palmed alarmist foreplay, presents evidence of his not particularly convincing assertion that the taken for granted balance of nature is doomed to continue with Man as the dominant species on the planet. The façade of the science fiction context is disrupted, but only momentarily, as the concept of enlarged predators is quickly supplanted with a similarly disheartening prediction concerning their mutation-free counterparts. Prof. Hellstrom declares that the insect world’s longevity and adaptability make it inevitable (presumably, this is a last call dinner bell announcement rather than mere existential theory) that those flying and crawling  critters so casually assaulted  by pesticides, shoe leather and no pest strips will dominate and destroy Mankind. It seems that in the melding of cinema and entomology, Darwin’s descendants of the ape cannot catch a break.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/evenings-at-the-outer-circle/


About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in Documentaries, education, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, science, science fiction, writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Future Shock: “The Hellstrom Chronicle” (1971)

  1. beetleypete says:

    I haven’t seen this one, but it does sound a lot like the ‘creature-feature’ films that became popular in the post-war years.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • It’s an interesting film in that it blurs the line between between documentary (the material of which is truly noteworthy and worth taking a look at) and a kind of docudrama which is just plain silly (even worse than the 1950’s big bug movie model from which it was obviously drawn), and that seems to attempt to nullify what’s good in the film. In all seriousness, is there such a thing as a bipolar movie?

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