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The Hellstrom Chronicle
December 29, 2008 5:38 PM   Subscribe

The Hellstrom Chronicle "The film posits a theory any science fiction buff would glom onto in a second—that dominion over the world will come down to a battle between two classes of Kingdom Animalia, Man and insects, and that insects will win." Watch on youtube, 11 parts.
posted by dhruva (35 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
OMG! My science teacher in highschool showed us this for some inexplicable reason. I have long wondered if it was just some weird hallucination -- it's nice to see, all these years later, that it was real.
posted by ph00dz at 6:05 PM on December 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


C'mere.

Wanna read something cool?

Something more lucid than this acid trip?

Check out MeFi's own cstross's Missile Gap, online and free. It's worth the ride.
posted by codswallop at 6:13 PM on December 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Of course, you've already read Frank Herbert's Hellstrom's Hive.
posted by SPrintF at 6:14 PM on December 29, 2008


I for one welcome...
posted by Joe Beese at 6:25 PM on December 29, 2008


Nnnno! Must... not... click!

*click*

Attention... riveted! Productivity... annihilated. :-(
posted by fleetmouse at 6:28 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


a battle between two classes of Kingdom Animalia, Man and insects

"Man" - humans - alone do not make up a "class," we are part of the class of Mammals
/pedant
posted by longsleeves at 6:37 PM on December 29, 2008


When I saw this on TV as a child, I was most bothered by the ants. shudder.
posted by longsleeves at 6:40 PM on December 29, 2008


Honestly, at first I thought this WAS a film ersion of Herbert's "Hellstrom's Hive". Now I wonder if this "documentary" is where Herbert got the name of his evil scientist.
posted by happyroach at 6:44 PM on December 29, 2008


Does "The Brightly Shining" mean anything to any of you?
posted by EarBucket at 6:45 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Man" - humans - alone do not make up a "class," we are part of the class of Mammals
/pedant


And Insects are not a class. They are an Order of the Phylum Athropoda.
/see your pedant and raise you one.
posted by binturong at 6:48 PM on December 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


My money's on the fungi.
posted by jonmc at 6:49 PM on December 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


It is a great crime that I have not seen, bought, and lent out this film.
posted by The Whelk at 6:52 PM on December 29, 2008


holy crap...fantastic lalo schifrin soundtrack to this thing!

With the narration, this is actually pretty interesting/crazy background music for working at the pc.

Maybe I'll watch it, too, eventually.
posted by the bricabrac man at 7:14 PM on December 29, 2008


so this is really cool so far. i just want to note that the lava sound effects in the beginning sond a whole lot like a guy with a microphone totally going, "WHOOOSHHH!!!!! CSSHHHAWWW!!!! BOOOSCHHHH!!! WIHSHASHAHSHAHSHSHSHSHS!!!!"
posted by es_de_bah at 7:21 PM on December 29, 2008


OM GLOM GLOM.
posted by cashman at 7:40 PM on December 29, 2008


The film posits a theory any science fiction buff would glom onto in a second—

With the emphasis on fiction. Jeez, this comes across as an anthropomorphic paranoid bad trip. A real entomologist would laugh (or cry).
posted by binturong at 7:42 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


My first thought was despair that someone made a movie out of one of Frank Herbert's least enjoyable novels. Then I thought, To Have and Have Not came out of a bet that Howard Hawks could turn one of Hemingway's worst stories into a good movie, so it could happen. And then I realized that this movie predates Herbert's ecological snuff story by a good two years. So perhaps this is the grand opposite of Hawks' effort, a brilliant cult film that became a bad pulp novel.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:45 PM on December 29, 2008


What do you mean by "will" win, twofoot?
posted by cenoxo at 7:52 PM on December 29, 2008


> A real entomologist would laugh
I'm an arachnologist, and I thought it was hilarious, and somewhat liberating to hear rampant anthropomorphism in a 'nature' documentary. Plus, the footage was impeccable: there were sequences that blew my mind; like the termites rolling up their queen into the earth for safety; or the twitching of the decapitated ants.
posted by dhruva at 8:01 PM on December 29, 2008


Damn taxonomy and my quick fingers. Insects are indeed a class that contains many orders. Mea culpa for wrong information. My pedant status is now sub-zero.
posted by binturong at 8:03 PM on December 29, 2008


omg dhruva! I always wanted to watch this and somehow never did. Way cool find! Thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 9:01 PM on December 29, 2008


And Insects are not a class. They are an Order of the Phylum Athropoda.
/see your pedant and raise you one.


Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species. Amazing how some things stay with you for ever. I learnt that when I was about 11.

Although this has probably changed by now. Some busybody has probably added Hemi-Phylum or something. Or decided that computer viruses need to be included somewhere above Kingdom.

/you bastard!
//strawman

posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:11 PM on December 29, 2008


Kinky
People
Climax
On
Fairly
Good
Sex

(Awesome post, awesome thread.)
posted by voltairemodern at 9:26 PM on December 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is so huge. I love the interimnets. Like ph00dz said: weird hallucination???

I had to get the KPCOFGS off my chest before I clicked on the Youtube link. After scanning the comments so far I had a 90% suspicion I knew what this would be.

I saw this about when I was 12... or even younger. I think during a rain delay in the cricket or something. When they used to chuck on any old crap. I Love Lucy, James at 15, You Asked for it. Etc etc.

I specifically remember thinking "this guy is seriously nuts." And back then I believed EVERYTHING I saw on the tee vee, so that's really saying something.

Wouldn't it be funny if he was correct, eh? The joke would be on me, eh?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:15 PM on December 29, 2008


Check out MeFi's own cstross's Missile Gap, online and free. It's worth the ride.

"Charles Stross" on a work is a pretty solid sign of excellence. The man invented the Death Knight, ffs.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:24 PM on December 29, 2008



My name is Nels Hellstrom. If that name rings a bell at all it's probably in connection with the words fanatic, lunatic, heretic…

Notice how he almost walks into the tree branch after that, at 5:13? Although Peter McDermott would probably disagree. :)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:30 PM on December 29, 2008


"Charles Stross" on a work is a pretty solid sign of excellence. The man invented the Death Knight, ffs.

Did not know that! That's really neat, makes me curious what he thinks of the various incarnations of the concept in later iterations of D&D (not to mention WoW).

(Awesome thread keeps getting more awesome.)
posted by voltairemodern at 10:38 PM on December 29, 2008


The man invented the Death Knight, ffs.

My first reaction to this was "pish tosh, DKs have been in DnD since the 70s i bet! I must right the mistake of this fanboy of MFOCS!" ...then I wiki'd.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Stross published some role-playing game articles for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in the White Dwarf magazine. Some of his creatures, such as the death knight, githyanki (borrowed from George R. R. Martin's book, Dying of the Light), githzerai, and slaad (a chaotic race notable for their rigid caste system) were later published in the Fiend Folio monster compendium.

Nothing to see here.
posted by thedaniel at 11:40 PM on December 29, 2008


Your wish is my command, voltairemodern! Here's an excerpt from an old interview with Stross:

15) Not to forget the Death Knights, they’ve mostly become a trademark monster of the DragonLance setting, and have almost never been used outside of it since. Any comments on them?

[Stross] I’d forgotten all about them!

posted by Kattullus at 11:54 PM on December 29, 2008




My first reaction to this was "pish tosh

the first of many mistakes, which we can discuss as needed. all the civilized among us know that the phrase is "pish posh."
posted by Hat Maui at 3:01 AM on December 30, 2008


PHASE IV
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:05 AM on December 30, 2008


I remember seeing that movie in the theater when I was a kid. I thought it was awesome then and I've been waiting for years for a videotape or DVD version with which to creep out my kids.
posted by maurice at 5:28 AM on December 30, 2008


happyroach is correct, sort-of: as I understand it, they were making the film and commissioned Frank Herbert to write a novelization, or at least a novel-with-the-same-name-somewhere-inside-it. And he had this weird eusocial human underground culture novel in progress, so he just stuck Hellstrom's name on top of it. (This is going by memory of what someone in the editorial trade told me over a pint of beer a couple of years ago, so I may have gotten the wrong end of the stick.)

I'd read Herbert's novel and seen the film long before I wrote "Missile Gap". And I'm not the only guy who's done a remix on some of those ideas; Steve Baxter got a whole trilogy out of them (Coalescent et al).
posted by cstross at 6:05 AM on December 30, 2008


Hadn't heard of this one, and the mention immediately made me recall Phase IV (which I just learned was Saul Bass' only directoral feature). If you were to pitch this movie now, perhaps you would say, "It's like Faces of Death vs. Microcosmos."
posted by asfuller at 5:01 PM on December 30, 2008


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