Genocide (1968)

genocide poster 1968 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

What-the-hell last five minutes of the movie

Plodding and slow, doesn't take advantage of killer insects

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Genocide

Studio:   Shochiku Eiga

Genre(s):   Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):   November 9, 1968

MPAA Rating:   Not Rated

genocide insect bite insanity keisuke sonoi

I don’t know…maybe I want to be bitten by one of these things…this looks kind of fun!

When a United States plane carrying an H-Bomb is brought down by bees, an insect collector named Joji Akiyama (Yūsuke Kawazu) and his mistress Annabelle (Kathy Horan) witness it.  Joji finds himself accused of murdering the men, and Joji’s boss Yoshito Nagumo (Keisuke Sonoi) is called in to help set him free by Joji’s wife Yukari (Emi Shindo).  Unfortunately, something else is happening on the small, reclusive island that could end up destroying the world!

Directed by Kazui Nihonmatsu, Genocide (昆虫大戦争 or Konchu daisenso aka War of the Insects) is a environmental horror sci-fi film produced by Shochiku.  The film was originally released as a double-billing with The Living Skeleton and received a Criterion release as part of “When Horror Came to Shochiku” under Criterion’s Eclipse imprint (Eclipse Series #37).

Movies like The Birds really brought the idea of how unstoppable nature could be if it ever decided to fight back.  The genre exploded in the ’70s in the United States with movies like Frogs and Day of the Animals.  Here, we get a Japanese version of those stories (with post-World War II sentiment) and a story that goes from normal to “wow…that really escalated quickly”.

genocide crazy charlie chico roland

I’m crazy Charlie!!! With my magic unlimited bullets gun!!!

Genocide plodded along for a lot of the story.  The first half hour or so didn’t involve much.  It was a sappy love triangle on an island apparently completely filled with jerks (and deadly insects).  Once the insect plot led by the “insect queen” is revealed, the movie goes completely crazy and has one of those endings that not only leaves you depressed, but having every potentially bad event happen.  Essentially everyone (except the pregnant girl who will die) dies…insects win!

The movie is pretty unbalanced in the sense that it doesn’t have many likeable characters.  Joji is a cheating jerk who is almost ok with a woman killing people with bees until he makes a U-turn when he learns the world is in danger…the ultimate sacrifice doesn’t redeem him in my opinion.  Yoshito is good as the doctor but he keeps makes really stupid moves in regards to stopping the insects and goes out like a chump at the end.  The U.S. are the real bad guys by dropping another H-Bomb on Japan and allowing the insects to rise and Kathy Horan’s Annabelle is really, really into bugs.  I think my favorite character has to be crazy Charlie (played by Chico Roland) who essentially causes all the problems by freaking out, leading to the plane crash, and the explosion of the bomb…good job, Charlie.

genocide ending nuclear bomb explosion mushroom cloud

Ok…that escalated quickly

While some of the other Shochiku movies are really visual, I felt the visuals on Genocide were lacking.  The movie doesn’t boost the insect aspect (the honeybees and choma-key special effects aren’t that terrifying) and the only interesting visual moment was Dr. Nagumo’s hallucination.

Genocide is a pretty goofy movie that could have been more intense and scarier with a little effort.  Insects are small, and they are potentially deadly…they can kill without even being noticed.  Genocide seems ignore much of this and makes it too much about the humans.  This does allow the insects to “creep up” on the characters until it is too late, but it also makes the movie’s short run time rather dull.  If you are a fan of the “nature attacks” genre, Genocide is worth seeking out…but if not, you probably should just watch The Birds again.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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