ByDerrick Elder, writer at

Professor Hellstrom, a famous entomologist, is so shaken by the ferocity of the insect world that he films this “documentary” to warn mankind of its danger. Featuring stunning microphotography of a variety of insects and plants that include ultra close-ups of wars between ant colonies and a gigantic praying mantis practicing cannibalism. This unusual blend of horror film and nature study won an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1972.

Documentaries don’t come much weirder than this, but even the orgies of insectoid sex and violence and Dr. Hellstrom’s mad scientist rants about the superiority of spiders, termites and centipedes can’t raise this to the level of the truly bizarre. Despite the fact that it doesn’t have the goods to rank among the weirdest movies of all times, however, I still enjoyed the film from beginning to end. That being said, I like to watch "weird" stuff in films. It’s still a beauty that’s well worth your attention.

Hellstrom was the brainchild of producer David L. Wolper, who also brought us Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in the same year. Wolper hired David Seltzer to pen the crazy narration for the documentary, and also brought in the same scribe to rewrite much of Roald Dahl’s script and dialogue in Wonka. Despite winning the 1971 Academy Award for Best Documentary, The Hellstrom Chronicle had never appeared on DVD until Olive Film’s 2012 release. The DVD and Blu-ray are cropped full frame and contain no special features, but we’re appreciative for the chance to see these amazing images at all.


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