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The Top 10 Post-Apocalyptic Movies: Part 1 by Jamie

Just over ten years ago we were convinced that the world was fucked. The Y2K bug would strike our computers and our technology would turn on us. Planes would fall out of the sky, nuclear missiles would launch themselves and toasters would refuse to carry out their toasting duties.

In essence the world was gripped with a weird mass technophobia. To be fair, mass hysteria is a condition which seems to plague the human race on a fairly regular basis. We seem to be determined to panic about the next big thing that will render our existence nothing more than a blip on the universal timeline. Be it the next big virus, terrorism or an asteroid strike from the cold unfeeling expanse that is outer space, there’s always something out there just waiting to kill us. Sure, these fears are justified to some extent but it is the passion with which we fear these things that makes humans something very special.

As such these fears have bled over into the world of film. There’s something exhilarating about a good post-apocalyptic movie. We just love to see a world where something’s gone terribly wrong and the way in which the survivors deal with it, wondering if we‘d be able to cope. With that, I’d like to share with you my personal top 10 post-apocalyptic films of all time.

A couple of disclaimers. I’ve tried to avoid spoilers as much as possible but sometimes I may have let the odd thing slip. You have been warned. In general series of films will occupy one spot on this list. Also, I’ve never seen Children of Men. I know that I really should and I always manage to try and catch it on TV and it’s always at the bit where they’re leaving hippy Michael Caine behind. I’m sure if I had seen it properly it’d be on here somewhere, probably somewhere quite high from what I’ve heard. Now to the list!


10. Repo: The Genetic Opera

Cause of apocalypse: Plague which caused the failure of internal organs.

Repo is a musical set in a dystopian future in which designer organ transplants have become big business. The reason being that in the past a disease ravaged the population, killing many. The disease caused the internal organs to stop working. A corporation, GeneCo, developed genetically engineered organs which helped put an end to the disease. With the end of the plague, GeneCo began to create organs for purely cosmetic reasons. GeneCo basically runs the show now and offers organs on finance which is fine if you can keep up with the payments.

If you can’t then the company will send the Repo Man after you in order to reclaim their property. Dressed in a surgical smock, he stalks his victims in the night, slicing up his victims and repossessing the organs. It’s a fairly interesting concept regarding the increasing influence corporations have on our every day lives.

The film does have one major flaw and that’s that Paris Hilton is one of it’s stars. If you’ve ever seen ‘House of Wax’ or ‘The Hottie and The Nottie’ then that’s probably enough to put you off to some degree but honestly she’s fairly inoffensive in this film and doesn’t really play a major enough part in the story to massively impact my enjoyment of it. Besides, her appearance is easily counter-balanced with the inclusion of Anthony Head as the Repo Man. He’s a great actor and a terrific singer to boot.

Overall it’s a film that I enjoy but I can certainly understand why others wouldn’t. It is, as the title suggests, an opera with very little dialogue that isn’t sung. It’s also very, very gothic in style and I understand that isn’t to every ones liking but it doesn’t really bother me. All ‘ll say is give it a chance but it certainly isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea.


9. Reign of Fire

Cause of apocalypse: Dragons.

In my opinion, Reign of Fire is a fairly overlooked film and the reason it makes it onto the list is the way that the human race is brought to the brink of extinction. Dragons. That is fucking awesome. It’s so simple a concept. Dragons are accidentally awoken by digging beneath London and arise from their slumber to scorch the Earth and become top of the food chain. I’ll be honest, I’ve always had a soft spot for dragons.

There are some interesting attempts to explain why the dragons are the way they are. They breath fire because they can only consume ash, setting anything organic ablaze in order to consume it meaning that not only are the humans at risk from the beasts but so are their crops. Does it make any scientific sense whatsoever? No, but who cares? It’s fucking dragons! The method by which they create this fire is even more interesting. They expel highly-flammable liquids from their mouth which burst into flames when they hit the air as far as I can tell. It looks sweet.

There are some pretty outstanding scenes within the film that just kick it up a notch. The Americans hunting the dragon by sky diving with a giant net is pretty goddamn awesome. And any film that includes a medieval style play of the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ deserves a special place in my heart.


8. 28 Days/Weeks Later

Cause of Apocalypse: Outbreak of the Rage virus.

Now, this is going to take some explaining. I’m sure many people would expect this film to come higher in a list like this whilst I’m sure others who know me are surprised that I’ve included it on the list at all. I’ve spent many a drunken night bitching about 28 Days Later and how it’s pretty much responsible for the current trend of running zombies. Now before you begin with the “But they’re not zombies in 28 Days Later…” save it. I’ve heard it all before. Regardless of whether or not they are zombies in the strictest sense of the word, they are certainly zombie enough to influence actual zombie films and create the running zombie as we know it today… zombie.

Anyway, recently I decided to break down and just watch 28 Weeks Later. Honestly, I thought it was a slightly superior film, particularly the latter part. In fact if you could find a way to combine the beginning of Days and the ending of Weeks then you’d probably have a practically perfect film.

Even with their flaws, both films have incredibly engaging stories and images that just stick with you. Who the hell can forget the image of Cillian Murphy walking through a completely abandoned London? Speaking of which, the fact that the films are set in Britain certainly help to soften me to them slightly more than perhaps a foreign viewer might. Also there are crazy chimps. Who doesn’t love crazy chimps? Crazy chimps are awesome. Not quite as awesome as dragons but still pretty awesome.


7. The Omega Man

Cause of Apocalypse: Biological Warfare

‘The Omega Man’ is the second film adaptation of Richard Matheson’s story ‘I Am Legend’, the first being ‘The Last Man On Earth’ which I haven’t seen and the third being ‘I Am Legend’ starring Will Smith, whose portrayal of the apparent last surviving human I enjoy more than Charlton Heston’s performance in this but which I dislike because the bizarre CGI zombie vampire things just take me completely out of the movie.

In ‘The Omega Man’ there are no CGI monsters because, well, it’s the 70s. Instead we get The Family, a group of cloaked, albino and nocturnal mutants who wish to kill the last remaining human and destroy the civilisation he represents along with all it‘s heretical technological notions.

I love The Family. They are a far, far more compelling group of villains than the rather uninspired creatures that show up in ‘I Am Legend’. They have motivation behind there actions rather than the seemingly mindless killers in the later film. And although, as previously stated, I preferred Will Smith’s slightly more unhinged take on the last human that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Charlton Heston at all. In fact, I enjoyed his performance quite a lot. In all, I’d say that if you’ve only ever seen ‘I Am Legend’ give this a watch. Also find ‘The Last Man On Earth’ as well because I will be. It’s got Vincent Price in it so how could it be bad?


6. Wall-E

Cause Of Apocalypse: Pollution, Destruction of Environment.

I remember watching ‘Wall-E’ for the first time and being completely blown away by what I saw. The first half of the movie is completely incredible. The look of the world, completely devastated by mankind’s destruction of the environment, is an awesome sight to behold. Rivers are dried up, the land is practically devoid of vegetation and an odd fog hangs over the land.

This world was clearly abandoned by humans a long, long time ago, so long ago in fact that all the robots that have been left behind to clean the mess up have stopped working. All that is except for one, the titular Wall-E. Never before has a character managed to say so much whilst actually saying so little. Except for maybe Harry from ‘Harry and the Hendersons‘. He was awesome.

Now the second half of the film does tend towards a more traditional narrative and plays out as expected. Still, even then there are so many references to other classic sci-fi films, such as ‘2001’ and ‘Alien’ that would simply fly over the heads of children, to keep someone like me entertained. And I can’t help but laugh at the creatures that humans have become when they have robots taking care of their every whim.

So there you go. That’s the first five on my list of post-apocalyptic movies. The countdown to the end will continue tomorrow. Laterz.

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5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

You have inspired me certainly to watch ‘Omega Man’ as I’m a big fan of ‘I Am Legend’ and so if that’s anything like it then it is worth a watch.

The Repo Man sounds awesome too!

Comment by Ian

Omega Man is great though it’s also a product of it’s time. It’s very 70s.

If you have the means to play Blu-Rays then I’ll lend you Repo. It’s awesome.

Comment by Jamie

Alas, I do not, though I am trying to convince my Father to invest in a PS3 just for its Blu-Ray drive *snigger*, though that would still mean a 20 mile drive to watch anything…Hmmm, might be a better long term investment to buy the thing myself seeing as the flatmate has a suitably satisfying HD TV. Thank you for the offer though. Maybe I can hire it in DVD format.

Comment by zmotion

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