The Satan Bug

I’m kinda surprised that The Satan Bug hasn’t been namechecked that much in the pantheon of “viral science gone mad” films. The proto-Andromeda Strain elements are all in place: secret underground lab in the desert, government scientists of ambiguous allegiances, hideous threat to Los Angeles (and by extension, the world), and crackerjack performances from all (George Maharis, Anne Francis, Richard Basehart, Ed Asner, and Simon Oakland in front of the camera, John Sturges and James Clavell behind). All in all, a decent thriller about trained professionals doing their job…

However, the real reason to watch this has nothing to do with biological apocalypse and everything to do with desert modernism. Every location could double as a feature house in an early 60s issue of Sunset or Arizona Highways magazine.

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Forget the action, I want a DVD release so I can study the architecture. It’s a heck of a lot less expensive than that spiffy Palm Springs Weekend book.

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Author: Chris Barrus

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2 thoughts on “The Satan Bug”

  1. Where exactly is the “lab” shot. I assume it was a lab or government facility at one time?

  2. I took a look at the lab’s exteriors and it looks like most of it is just props set up in one of the canyons below Mt. San Jacinto in Palm Desert. I was hoping someone out there had more location info.

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