Actually, the fruit would grow much larger if we didn't limit the stimulation.
- Dr. Ed Wainwright

For the MST3K episode, see MST3K 517 - Beginning of the End.

Beginning of the End is a 1957 giant insect film directed by Bert I. Gordon. It was co-written by Fred Freiberger and Lester Gorn.


Newspaper photojournalist Audrey Aimes accidentally stumbles upon information that a small town in Illinois has been inexplicably destroyed. All 150 people in the town are missing, and the evidence indicates they are dead. The local fields are also barren, as if a swarm of locusts had eaten all the crops. Aimes suspects that the military is covering something up, and travels to a nearby United States Department of Agriculture experimental farm to learn what creature might have caused the agricultural destruction. She meets Dr. Ed Wainwright, who is experimenting with radiation as a means of growing gigantic fruits and vegetables to end world hunger. Dr. Wainwright reports that there have been a number of mysterious incidents nearby, and that locusts have eaten all the radioactive wheat stored in a nearby grain silo.

Gigantic mutant locusts rampage over the countryside. Dr. Wainwright and Ms. Aimes begin to track down the source of the mysterious occurrences, and quickly discover that the locusts which ate the grain have grown to the size of a city bus. The monsters have eaten all the crops in the area, and now are seeking human beings as a means of sustenance. It is also clear that they are headed for the city of Chicago. Wainwright and Aimes meet with military leaders to assess the situation. Machine gun and artillery fire seem ineffective against the creatures, and there are far too many locusts to effectively stop all at once. The United States Army and Illinois National Guard are called upon to help protect the city, but the giant locusts quickly invade Chicago, and began to eat people and buildings.

General Hanson concludes that the only way to destroy the beasts en masse is to use a nuclear weapon and destroy Chicago. However, Dr. Wainwright realizes that the locusts are warm-weather creatures. He concludes that he might be able to lure the locusts into Lake Michigan where the cold water will incapacitate them, and they will drown. Using a decoy locust mating call generated electronically with test-tone oscillators, the plan works and the locusts are killed. Dr. Wainwright and Ms. Aimes wonder if other insects or animals might have eaten other radioactive crops. They ponder whether the whole world might be facing an attack of monstrous creatures.



  • This is the only film or television credit of co-screenwriter Lester Gorn.
  • Features an uncredited appearance by Kirk Alyn as a B-52 Pilot. Alyn was the first actor to play Superman in films, starring as the character in serials in 1948 and 1950.
  • At the start of the film's production, 200 grasshoppers were available (a flightless, hop-less species from Texas). During the filming they began to eat one another, so by the time the last shots were done, only about a dozen were left.
  • Grasshoppers and locusts are the same species. When environmental conditions are right, grasshoppers undergo a variety of physical changes to become swarms of locusts.
  • During the credits, AB-PT Pictures Corporation is censored in the MST3K broadcast of the episode.

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