Last weekend, Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo unveiled its new X-TREME BUGS exhibit, a temporary attraction that will be open through September 7th!
Giant insects and arachnids have a proud history in cinema and I’ve always been a huge fan of them! And also a huge fan of THEM (1954)…
The 1950’s was the Golden period for these type of films with the United States officially entering the Atomic Age! Man’s splitting of the Atom meant that all bets were off so far as nature was concerned and this made the small invertebrates bigger and badder! One of my all-time favorites is 1957’s THE DEADLY MANTIS!
Beautiful orchid mantis might not have shown up as well in black & white!
Giant bees also made a debut in 1961’s MYSTERIOUS ISLAND. They would later receive numerous starring roles on a “smaller” scale in the 1970’s amid the panic of the famed killer bees – a human experiment gone awry when cross-breeding the European honey bee with the African variety (truth can sometimes be stranger than fiction).
Giant bee sits atop a 45 foot flower!
Of course The United States was not the only country to jump on board the giant bug bandwagon! Japan’s Godzilla had his work cut out for him dealing with one of his most prolific adversaries (and occasional ally) MOTHRA!
And lets not forget our arachnid friends who also got some screen time such as 1957’s THE BLACK SCORPION…
Giant spiders were another popular feature, most notably 1955’s TARANTULA and 1958’s EARTH VS THE SPIDER!
Of course these are but a few examples of what X-TREME BUGS has to offer! They also move, make noises, and (in the case of the stink bug) emit foul odors! There’s plenty of fun activities as well as educational features that make this exhibit a winner along with some living specimens too!
Head out to Brookfield Zoo this summer and see for yourself!