The Satan Bug (1965) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A germ that could destroy life on Earth is stolen from a biological warfare lab and the thief threatens to release it into the open, prompting a security officer to act.

  • A germ warfare lab has had an accident. The first theory is that one of the nasty germs has gotten free and killed several scientists. The big fear is that a more virulent strain, named The Satan Bug because all life can be killed off by it should it escape, may have been stolen.

  • Lee Barrett was until recently a security officer at Station 3, a top secret government laboratory. He was fired for insubordination but is called back to duty by General Williams when biological warfare agents are stolen from the facility. Of particular concern is the Satan Bug, a new and particularly virulent bacteriological weapon that could, if released, destroy all of mankind in a few weeks or months. The thief threatens to release the Satan Bug in a public place and Barrett races against time to stop him.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The Satan Bug is a film about the theft of germ cultures for the purpose of bioterrorism. The theft takes place at Station Three, a top secret U.S. biological warfare laboratory located somewhere in the Mojave desert. Stolen are 1200 grams of Botulinus, and the only extant culture of a new designer virus. This new virus does not have a scientific name yet, but is refered to by the scientists at the station as the Satan Bug. It is aggressively reproductive, transmitted through the air, and attacks all forms of life. It is considered powerful enough to kill the planet. At the time of the theft Washington officials were debating whether to destroy it or not.

    The director of security and one of the laboratory's top scientists are murdered in the course of the theft. The thief escapes by cutting through the perimeter wire of the compound.

    The recently fired head of Station Three security, played by George Maharis, is rehired to manage the search for the missing cultures. He is assisted by Anne Francis, who plays the daughter of a high placed intelligence official (Dana Andrews) known only as the General. He is directing the operation.

    Maharis is sure that someone in the lab is implicated in the theft. While he tries to learn who an anonymous telegram is received warning that an "incident" will take place soon. Within hours one of the flasks of Botulinus is crushed on one of the Florida Keys, and everyone downwind dies. Then an anonymous telephone call is received warning that Los Angeles will be next.

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