The full title of this Modern Mechanics article from December 1930 read “Will Monster Insects Rule the World?” Though offered here as a mere speculative possibility, the idea that giant insects will eventually dominate life on Earth is one that may represent a valid scenario, according to cryptozoological historian Doug Ormsham.
During the course of an on-again, off-again project to catalog and hence validate the vast personal writings of his monster-hunting great-grandfather Hugo Drakenswode, Ormsham has remained in patchy correspondence with Undead Backbrain author Robert Hood — and has remarked on the frequency with which giant insects appear in his great-grandfather’s journals. When questioned on the subject, Ormsham wrote:
My great-grandfather was certainly of the opinion that as ordinary insects hold, by virtue of sheer numbers, a vast dominance over all other species on Earth — representing something like 90% of all life-forms — the frequency of the appearance of monstrous insects in the past suggests that mega-insecta are likely to become an increasing problem for human survival in the future.
Even a superficial study of the sources suggests that human society has suffered under giant insect attacks of varying scale for a long time.
The Blakean Effect
Ormsham is currently developing a theory he calls “The Blakean Effect” (named after English mystic poet William Blake, who believed that the separation between objective and subjective reality was a metaphysical misunderstanding of the nature of reality). Ormsham’s theory is based upon ongoing research in regards to the synchronicities that exist between Drakenswode’s historical investigations into reported mega-fauna incidents and fictional cinematic depictions of giant monster attacks. In brief, Ormsham suspects that whether by conspiratorial intent or through some kind of unknown influence exerted over the imaginations of writers and filmmakers, actual historical attacks by mega-fauna are frequently translated to both print and screen — not accurately perhaps, but with various degrees of metaphysical relevance. If his theory is correct, Ormsham suggests, we are in big trouble.
Entomological historian Gustav Kraphot agrees. “They’re out there,” he wrote in 2005 in his little-known volume Notes on an Insect Apocalypse (Antennae Press).
They’re out there and they’re waiting to make their move en masse. There have been many hints, many incursions by rogue elements and by coordinated single-species armies — all of them testing the limits of human capability. As a race mankind is somehow compelled to forget these incursions, though memory of them lingers on in our fiction. “But the time will come when the Queen of Insectoid Queens will gather her troops for an all-out infestation of the planet and when she does there will be no hope for mankind. (pages 232 and 241)
Madness and absurd paranoid delusion? Perhaps. Kraphot points to rumours of sightings of huge insects that crop up from time-to-time, such as a “well-documented” report of giant mantises on a certain South Pacific island in the late 1960s. He claims there is evidence, too, of “events” from as recently as the year 2000, when an attack was said to have been made on monster-ridden Tokyo by a gargantuan prehistoric insect. In this instance, there was a “massive cover-up”, but locals willing to speak out claim that only the intervention of a reptilian deity saved the city from total destruction!
Tokyo has many times suffered visitations from a giant moth god, it is said — the first of these being in 1961. This creature is believed to be relatively benign, though massive destruction ensued because, according to Kraphot, humans persistantly failed (and still fail) to heed the warnings that presage its coming.
Do the above examples sound familiar? They should. These events, which Kraphot claims he can document, describe the scenarios of several Toho daikaiju eiga featuring the iconic monster Godzilla (Gojira) and his rival Mothra. While Ormsham is unwilling to accept the literal extremes of Kraphot’s approach to the subject, he sees how it relates to his own view. He said:
I’ve never met the man, so I can’t comment on the accuracy of his research. Certainly my great-grandfather’s near-century of reports and memoranda represents a unique resource in the field and very little of that has been released as yet. Dr Kraphot could not have seen it. Though his approach somewhat lacking in well-considered detail, he is clearly on the right track.
If we grant any sort of validity to the cautious theories of Ormsham or the full-on paranoid panic-mongering of Kraphot, there is ample scope for alarm. Cinematic history alone tells a grim tale. There are isolated instances of single sightings from the earliest days of cinema. Perhaps the first full-scale infestation as “recounted” on film, however, would have to be from Them! (1954), when giant ants arise from the irradiated deserts of New Mexico and end up causing trouble Los Angeles, having spawned a colony in the sewers of LA. Though dealt with, giant ants are still making an appearance as recently as 2003, according to the low-profile GiAnts.
Then there was a reign of insectoid terror undertaken by a single gargantuan preying mantis in The Deadly Mantis (1957) and by a swarm of giant grasshoppers in The Beginning of the End (also 1957). Coincidence? 1957 saw even more mega-insect terror with a giant scorpion (and large-scale, only-slightly-smaller comrades) running riot, as well as a deadly swarm of giant wasps. Mantises also feature in Meet the Applegates (1991) — the humorous approach of which makes the threat of alien infiltration all the more sinister, while the mega-scorpion terror returned in 2001 and again as late as 2008 with an amphibian mega-stinger that targeted a major city.
Then there was the rise of the Empire of the Ants in 1977, oversized mutant bugs causing trouble in a hospital in Canada in 1987, a plague of giant ticks in 1993, a bloodsucking giant mosquito horde in 1995, and a variety of monstrous Japanese bugs in 1997. In the same year, another film, Bugged, featured a host of different oversized bugs, this time in the US, perhaps representing some sort of worldwide conspiracy — a conspiracy that continued in 2005.
Mutant cockroaches crop up quite often, too, in 1988, 1997, 2001 (twice) and 2003. Every now and then a lone insect causes trouble by becoming hybridised with human DNA. The Fly (1986), The Fly II (1989), The Wasp Woman (1960 and 1995) and Mansquito (2005) seem to substantiate Kraphot’s claim that “the mega-insect overlords are more than willing to resort to genetic manipulation in order to further their Queen’s plans for conquest”.
Ormsham notes that the above mentioned films only represented the most obvious evidence of mega-insectoid activity. There are many more films that he could name — and beyond celluloid fiction, literary fiction offers tales that go back much further.
It is also worth mentioning [he added] that though they represent a different biological genus, spiders get lumped in with our six-legged enemies by the general public and there’s been an abundance of mega-activity on that front.
The Latest Giant Insect Attack!
Now comes intelligence that the conspiracy continues in a big way in the present. A new film, Infestation (US-2009; dir. Kyle Rankin), presents the worrying possibility of invasion by a horde of hideous mutant monstrosities with the ability to absorb and hybridise their human victims. Check out the pictorial evidence below:
We can only hope that this one is fiction…
- Source of images: DeVil Dead via Kaiju Search-Robot Avery
- Previous Backbrain article on Infestation
- Infestation trailer
- Ormsham’s personal blog
List of Films (in order of reference):
- Kaiju to no kessen-Gojira no Musuko [trans. Battle of Monster Island – Godzilla’s Son] (1967; dir. Jun Fukuda) [aka Son of Godzilla (US, 1969)]
- Gojira tai Megagirasu: Jii Shômetsu Sakusen [trans. Godzilla vs. Megaguiras: G-Eradication Command] (2000; dir. Masaaki Tezuka)
- Mosura [trans. Mothra] (1961; dir. Ishiro Honda) [aka Mothra (US, 1962)]
- Them! (US-1954; dir. Gordon Douglas)
- Une Nuit Terrible [A Terrible Night] (France-1896; 65 feet; dir. Georges Méliès)
- GiAnts (US-2003; dir. David Huey)
- The Deadly Mantis (US-1957; dir. Nathan Duran)
- The Beginning of the End (US-1957; dir. Bert I. Gordon)
- The Black Scorpion (US-1957; dir. Edward Ludwig)
- Monster from Green Hell (US-1957; dir. Kenneth Crane)
- Meet the Applegates (US-1991; dir. Michael Lehmann)
- Deadly Scavengers (US-2001; dir. Ron Ford)
- Amphibious (US-2008; dir. Brian Yuzna)
- Empire of the Ants (US-1977; dir. Bert I. Gordon)
- Ticks (US-1993; dir. Tony Randell)
- Baguzu [aka Bugs] (Japan-1997; dir. Nishikiori Yoshinari)
- Bugged (US-1997; dir. Roland K. Armstrong)
- Insecticidal (Canada-2005; dir. Jeffery Scott Lando)
- Mosquito (US-1995; dir. Gary Jones)
- Blue Monkey [aka Insectoid] (Canada/US-1987; dir. William Fruet)
- The Nest (US-1988; dir. Terence H. Winkless)
- Mimic (US-1997; dir. Guillermo del Toro)
- Mimic 2 [aka Mimic 2: Hardshell] (US-2001; dir. Jean D. Segonzac)
- They Crawl (US-2001; dir. John Allardice)
- Mimic: Sentinel (US-2003; dir. J.T. Petty)
- The Fly (UK/Canada/US-1986; dir. David Cronenberg)
- The Fly II (UK/Canada/US-1989; dir. Chris Walas)
- The Wasp Woman (US-1960; dir. Roger Corman)
- The Wasp Woman (US-1995; dir. Jim Wynorski)
- Mansquito [aka Mosquitoman] (US-2005; dir. Tibor Takács)
- Infestation (US-2009; dir. Kyle Rankin)
Addendum: These images from a French ad campaign against unprotected sex and AIDS represent a very worrying possibility indeed, in the light of Ormsham and Kraphot’s mega-insect theories.