Killer Science: Nature's Horror Show - Thur. Oct. 13th - 8PM

Oddball Films presents Killer Science: Nature's Horror Show, an evening of vintage 16mm science and nature films from the 1930s-1970s highlighting the dark, grisly, and deadly aspects of Mother Nature's wrath. From man-eating sharks to killer hurricanes to hungry bugs and battling squids, it's one night of nature's fury you won't want to miss. Leonard Nimoy explores the mysteries of the earth's deadliest storms when he goes In Search of Hurricanes (1978). Marvel at the ferocity of tiny adversaries when termites square off against hungry ants in The Battle of the Centuries (1932). Then, go under the sea to see the manta rays, battling squid and killer eels that are the Demons of the Deep (1938). Decades before Jaws, the British Pathé warned Australian visitors and newcomers to The Shark Menace (1955). For a little sci-fi fun, we revisit a highlight reel Tarantula (1955) to witness a giant arachnid that lays waste to a whole town. Plus, segments and snippets galore including the faux-suicidal lemmings of Di$ney's White Wilderness (1958), the bugs that bring on the end of the world in the pseudo-documentary The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971), and a mantis looks to a caterpillar for dinner in The Butterfly with Four Birthdays (1965) from one-man-band turned amateur-filmmaking legend Sid Laverents. Everything screened on 16mm film from our massive stock footage archive.

Date: Thursday, October 13th, 2016 at 8:00 pm
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to or (415) 558-8117


In Search of Hurricanes (Color, 1978)
A strangely prescient episode of the Leonard Nimoy show In Search Of focused on nature's most horrific storm - the hurricane. Revisit killer storms of yesteryear including 1969's hurricane Camille that killed over 200 people and devastated the Eastern seaboard and the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926. In Search Of was a show largely interested in unexplained phenomena like Bigfoot and Lost Civilizations, but this episode takes on the vengeance of Mother Nature.

The Battle of the Centuries (B+W, 1932)
In this early educational film, we get a front row seat to the fiercest battle one log has ever seen!  We follow the life-cycle of those disgustingly fascinating wood-munchers, termites, up to when they must lay their lives on the line to battle their mortal enemies, marauding bands of hungry ants.  Simultaneously riveting and repellant, this film was produced by Standard Oil not long after the advent of sound.

Tarantula (B+W, 1955, 10 min Condensed Version)
Leo G. Carroll plays a scientist working on a growth factor which is creating giant creatures.  The giant tarantula is set loose by a monster attack, and it continues to grow, wrecking havoc.  After state police lay dynamite, and the Air Force bombs the spider, an atom bomb finally lays it waste, but not the townspeople, who are magically unharmed. Directed by Jack Arnold and starring Leo G. Carroll, Nestor Paiva, Ross Elliott, and Edwin Rand.

The Shark Menace (B+W, 1955)

Over twenty years before Jaws, this educational newsreel warned the world about the threat of killer sharks. A grisly warning to visitors and newcomers to Australia from the British Pathé about man-eating sharks. See as a husband and wife team of shark hunters go fishing for the toothy culprit behind two "recent" fatal attacks on swimmers. Not exactly a conservationists dream, this didactic short did little to help understand shark behavior.

The Hellstrom Chronicle (Color, 1971, Excerpt)
This strange, dark satiric pseudo-documentary about the end of the human race and  the beauty and adaptability of insects may not have the credibility of a National Geographic film, but its subjectivity doesn't make it any less fascinating, or even plausible and certainly makes it more entertaining and provocative.   The film intersperses incredible microcinematography that illuminates the grotesquely beautiful life of insects with a journey through man's failings led by fictitious scientist Nils Hellstrom, played to the hilt by Lawrence Pressman.  While highlighting insects' adaptability and longevity on the planet, Hellstrom paints a picture of the annihilation of man and the reclamation of the Earth by our six-legged enemies. 
Part documentary, part horror film, part apocalyptic prophecy, The Hellstrom Chronicle is the dark, foreboding step-mother of Microcosmos.  The film was produced and conceived by David L. Wolper, producer of such far-reaching productions as Roots, The Thorn Birds, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Wattstax, penned by Omen scribe David Seltzer and features a fabulous synthy score by master-composer Lalo Schifrin.  Campy, creepy, provocative and hypnotizing, The Hellstrom Chronicle has got it all!

Demons of the Deep (B+W, 1938)

See the vicious dwellers of the sea - manta rays, sharks, killer squid and more! Watch as squids battle, sharks feed and eels lash out in this antique educational newsreel.

White Wilderness: Lemmings (Color, 1958, excerpt)

The notorious and heartbreaking segment of Di$ney's Oscar-winning feature documentary White Wilderness that has led to a persistent myth of the mass-suicide of lemmings. No one is sure where the filmmakers got the idea that lemmings love to leap to their deaths, but they managed to import a small population of lemmings to Alberta for the filming, ultimately throwing the furry little rodents off cliffs to drown in "the ocean" (which was actually a river) and influencing public sentiment about the little guys for decades to come. In reality, lemmings don't commit mass-suicides, although in search for new territories, they have been known to accidentally fall of cliffs and drown.

The Butterfly with Four Birthdays (Kodachrome Color, 1965, excerpt)
A fascinating little gem of a homemade nature film from outsider filmmaker Sid Laverents. Laverents (1908-2009) performed as a one man band in the Vaudeville days and only started making films in his late 50s but went on to become one of the most celebrated amateur filmmakers of all time. This charming backyard nature doc (literally filmed in his backyard over a number of years) features an oft subjective and quirkily colloquial narration. In this segment, a caterpillar faces off with a hungry praying mantis set to horror music.

Curator’s Biography
Kat Shuchter is a graduate of UC Berkeley in Film Studies. She is a filmmaker, artist and esoteric film hoarder. She has helped program shows at the PFA, The Nuart and Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater and was crowned “Found Footage Queen” of Los Angeles, 2009. She has programmed over 250 shows at Oddball on everything from puberty primers to experimental animation.
About Oddball Films
Oddball Films is a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like The Nice Guys and Milk, documentaries like The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Silicon Valley, Kurt Cobain: The Montage of Heck, television programs like Transparent and Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.

Our screenings are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.