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Satan Bug, The (1965)

Adapted from an Alistair MacLean novel of the same name, The Satan Bug concerns Station 3, a top-secret research facility in the California desert where the US government engineers designer germs.

The lab’s former chief of security, Lee Barrett (George Maharis), is brought in to investigate the theft of valuable flasks – most of which contain botulinus, but one contains a new doomsday virus (the “Satan Bug”) which has the capacity to wipe out all of mankind.

Working with Eric Cavanaugh (Richard Bull) of the SDI (a fictional government organisation) and Station 3 director Dr Leonard Michaelson (John Larkin) – and aided by a beautiful female operative named Ann Williams (Anne Francis) – Barrett determines that the thieves were the henchmen of a wealthy sociopath named Charles Reynolds Ainsley.

Styling himself a modern-day messiah, Ainsley threatens to unleash the Satan Bug unless the lab at Station 3 is closed down for good. To prove he means business, he unleashes some of the botulinus in Florida, killing thousands.

Events get a little complicated midway as we try to figure out who’s doing what to whom and which side they’re on. Ainsley, it turns out, is, in reality, one of the scientists at the lab (Richard Basehart) and it’s all wrapped up with a ludicrous struggle in a helicopter.

Lee Barrett
George Maharis
Dr Gregor Hoffman/Charles Reynolds Ainsley
Richard Basehart
Ann Williams
Anne Francis
General Williams
Dana Andrews
Dr Leonard Michaelson
John Larkin
Eric Cavanaugh
Richard Bull
Frank Sutton
Ed Asner
Simon Oakland
Agent Reagan
John Anderson
Lt. Raskin
John Clarke
Lt. Johnson
Hari Rhodes
Martin Blaine
Dr Baxter
Henry Beckman

John Sturges