Film Review- “The Hellstrom Chronicles” -or-“There have been ants running around in my brain since I was 12”

originally posted 2009-05-10
One summer, when I was around 12 years old, my Father asked me if I wanted to attend workshops at the local science museum
I thought it would be cool and so I went to several
It consisted of watching a movie and then doing a workshop afterwards
The only two I can rember were the films “The Andromeda Strain” and “The Hellstrom Chronicles”
The first one was about a virus from space (and had boobies in it, the film, not the virus) and the second one ended in us little kids being given dissection kits (huh?)
It was The Hellstrom Chronicle which had the most impact on me
Those images played over and over in my head throughout my life
I developed an obsession with insect footage
It wasn’t until the film “Wax-Or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees” that I really started getting fixated on it but that one film planted a concept in my head that lay dormant
Until recently when I discovered the entire movie on Youtube
The Hellstrom Chronicles focuses on the insect world in a documentary style
I use the word “documnetary” loosely because Dr. Hellstrom is not a real doctor but an actor
He weaves a tale of the insect world as a seething cauldron of consumption and reproduction waiting for the right moment to engulf us all
The Dr H tells us (in very dramatic fashion), that the insect is a souless machine that is more adapt to survive than man
Despite all the insecticides and chemicals, they will survive and adapt to the worst that man can throw at them while we poison our own environment
Then came the moment I had remembered the most of the entire film
“They are called Siafu….the African Driver Ant”
This was perhaps the most gruesome part of the entire film
The driver ant will aggressively hunt food using military tactics
The workers will dig trenches, guarded by the soldiers and seek out any animal to swarm upon
They have so much will that they will sacrifice themselves to cross small bodies of water by locking onto each other, creating an ant bridge and drowning in the process
The memory was so strong that I pretty much remembered the whole film even after watching it only once 28 years ago
I had the ant sequences in mind when I envisioned the concept for the song “Driver” which is going to be a part of a series called “Organic Machine”
I wonder sometimes if my ant obsession is the result of getting swarmed by them when I was a little kid
My family tells me it happened (along with getting stung by a bee and having my entire face puff up) when I was playing near an ant pile and I fell into it

You can bet your ass that you are going to see pieces of this film dropped into many of my future works
The visuals are incredible and the audio is just melodramatic enough to be good sample material

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