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The Top 10 Post-Apocalyptic Movies: Part 2 by Jamie

Well, I keep falling in and out of a bad mood so what better way to work through that then to indulge in fantasies of the annihilation of the human race! Let‘s continue. Oh, and number three has some major spoilers. Kind of hard to avoid them really. Sorry but, to be honest it was made in the 60s. I think the spoiler statute of limitations has expired. Also, part 1 can be found here.


5. The Terminator Series

Cause of apocalypse: Nuclear destruction at the hands of technology dubbed Judgement Day.

Now this could be quite a controversial choice because most of these films don’t really take part in the post-apocalyptic future. It’s mostly about people and robots being sent back from after the apocalypse to the present in order to try and prevent or ensure the apocalyptic event occurs. Coupled with the fact that the one film which is pretty much entirely set in the future made my list of least favourite films of 2009 should probably disqualify it from my list entirely.

But fuck it, this is my goddamn list and I can do whatever I like. I could Paul Blart Mall Cop on this list without having to justify myself if I so wished. I won’t but I could… Anyway, so yeah, the first three Terminator films take place before Judgement Day and that’s what makes them interesting. Well, the first two anyway. It‘s all about trying to prevent this terrible event and the cost of failure. The fact that it becomes increasingly clear by the third one that Judgement Day is inevitable just makes the whole affair even better. (Yep, that was actually a small piece of praise for Terminator 3)

And of course it’s inevitable. After all, if Judgement Day never occurs then Kyle Reese can’t be sent back in time to become John Connor’s father, the Terminator wouldn’t have been sent back and it’s parts wouldn’t have been used to help create Skynet, Skynet wouldn’t have been able to bring about Judgement Day meaning that Kyle Reese can’t be sent back in time to become John Connor’s father… Wait a minute. I think what I’m getting at is that in order for anything to happen, Judgement Day has to have happened so in a way the films are all set in a post-apocalyptic world because none of the events would of occurred unless the apocalypse had occurred… which it did. Fuck, I’m confused.


4. The Mad Max Series

Cause of apocalypse: Nuclear War over oil.

I love the Mad Max films. Sure the first one is a little dodgy and the third is more than a little cheesy but I can overlook these trifling problems and so all three are personal classics to me. They also had a major impact on post-apocalyptic genre as a whole. How many post-apocalyptic films and games feature roving gangs of people wearing bizarre, spiked body armour? You have the Mad Max series to thank for that.

The series is set in a dystopian future Australia in which bands of people struggle for survival. In the first film Max is a man who tries to police this society which seems to be breaking down around him. When his wife and child are killed by a gang of ne‘er-do-wells he goes on a revenge mission, hunting them down and taking them out, ending in a scene which served as an inspiration for the first ‘Saw’.

The second sees Max, now a burned out, shell of a man, wandering the desert and coming across a small outpost of people who are still excavating oil. The outpost has a problem with a band of marauders who want to take their oil from them as it is now a very rare and precious commodity. Max begins to regain his humanity by working with and helping to defend the people in the outpost. It‘s probably the strongest of the trilogy and the show, in my mind, is completely stolen by the leader of the marauders, Lord Humungus. His ‘Just walk away‘ speech is still one of the things I probably quote more often than any other.

The third is where the series seems to pick up in terms of budget. For the first time you get a view of different aspects of this post-apocalyptic wasteland on a grand scale. From Bartertown to the valley of the lost children, a lot of work went into the creation of this world. It also has Tina Turner in it. Once more Max starts of as a lone wanderer, coming across Bartertown, having to fight the brilliant Master-Blaster in the Thunderdome, getting banished from Bartertown and having to take a group of lost children under his wing. It‘s all brilliant stuff and it‘s guaranteed to keep me entertained anytime I watch it. The series as a whole is one of the true stand outs in Post-Apocalyptism and if you haven‘t seen them then, well, I strongly suggest you do so.


3. Planet Of The Apes

Cause of Apocalypse: Nuclear War.

On it’s most basic level, ‘Planet Of The Apes’ is a fun film about a man who finds himself on a weird world where apes are people and people are animals. Beyond that it is so, so much more. The best sci-fi is generally an allegory for something else and that perfectly describes this film. It touches on themes like religion vs. science, race and class systems, nuclear war and the possible implications of scientific discovery for society as a whole.

I was about to write that the main theme seems to be science vs. religion but I had to stop myself when I realised that the thing that makes this film so great is that it manages to take all of these themes and hit upon them equally and practically at the same time, except for perhaps nuclear war which really kinda comes in towards the end and with Charlton Heston’s mumblings about his general displeasure with humanity throughout the film. The court scene alone manages to make observations about the controversy surrounding evolution butting up against religious dogma whilst also dealing with the topic of what it is that grants someone or something the same rights as someone else.

I think this is definitely one that I want to come back to and review later and in greater detail. Suffice it to say that I don’t include the series as a whole here because I haven’t seen the series as a whole. I’m not even sure what I have seen. I remember seeing one when I was a kid though I couldn’t tell you what it was called or what really happened. I just remember a group of apes being herded along by humans. I think it may have been a prequel or something.

I suppose I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the remake. It’s a poor, poor shade of this film. The only thing I can say I really liked about it is the ape costumes. They were pretty awesome, especially the big orang-utan with the pads on his face but the rest of the film… well, all I’ll really say is Ape-raham Lincoln? What the fuck?


2. The … Of The Dead Series

Cause of Apocalypse: The Zombie Apocalypse

Ah, zombies. Zombies, zombies, zombies. I fucking love a good zombie film and George A. Romero is the Godfather of the entire genre. Sure, Diary of the Dead is a pretty terrible film and I’ve heard bad things about his newest outing but for the most part, Romero has defined what a zombie movie is.

There is something special about the idea of The Zombie Apocalypse. It’s the one of the ultimate end-games. As soon as it’s begun to spread, the zombies have pretty much already won. After that it’s just a matter of just trying to survive knowing one of two things will happen, either you’ll end up dead or you’ll end up undead and every day you survive just brings you one day closer to one of this inescapable conclusions.

The true mastery of what Romero does is that he doesn’t make the zombie the biggest threat in his films. For the most part, the zombies are just a barrier, keeping a small group of survivors trapped somewhere. It’s the people you’re surviving with in a Romero film that you truly want to be worried about.

Who knows what’ll happen? Maybe one of them will decide that they want more supplies for themselves and try to kill off some of the other survivors. Maybe one of them will try and escape, try and make it on their own, accidentally letting the shuffling horde inside. Maybe one of them will just go batshit crazy and have to be dealt with. Or maybe it won’t even be someone from your group. Maybe another group of survivors will happen across your hiding place and decide that they want what you have for themselves, inevitably letting the zombies inside as they try and get it.

There’s also the terrible ramifications of being bitten by a zombie. The transformation of living person into zombie is not instantaneous and so you’re left with the horrible knowledge that sooner or later you’re going to become a flesh hungry corpse and once again you’re faced with question. Do you just out and out shoot yourself in the head? Do you get another survivor to kill you? Or do you hide the bite, hope no one notices and carry on with the misguided hope that maybe it just won’t affect you? There’s just so much to consider and that’s with all the social commentary that Romero layers into his zombie films notwithstanding. That’s why I love these films and why you owe it to yourself to watch them.


1. Threads

Cause Of Apocalypse: Nuclear War.

Yes, for number one I’m going a little obscure. It’s a made for TV British film that I’ve reviewed before (Threads: The Single Most Depressing Thing Mankind Has Ever Put To Film) and it’s truly fucking chilling. The acting is corny, it’s incredibly 80s, scratch that, it’s incredibly Northern England 80s and it’s a little slow to start but fuck, after the bombs drop, it’s just… Wow.

This film portrays what life would have been like if the US and Russia had decided to launch nukes at each other and what would have happened had England been completely ravaged by nuclear bombs. I’m sure that a few of the things that are described aren’t considered exactly scientifically accurate these days but I’m also sure that it’s still as close as I’ll ever see a film get to the truth.

This film essentially put me into a sort of mini-depression after watching it. It made me feel doomed, as though at any moment the world could come crashing to a halt if a small group of people wished it so. Keep in mind that the Cold War had been over for some time at this point. Seriously though, there doesn’t need to be a cold war for it to happen anyway. All it takes is a few buttons being pushed and then Boom. Life as we know it will be over. The lucky ones will die in the initial attacks. Oh, god. It’s happening again. Just thinking about this fucking film is bringing it all back. What the fuck is the point?

Still, if you feel that happiness is a commodity that you just don’t need in your life anymore, I heartily recommend ‘Threads‘. It’s incredible and horrifying. Oh god, why? Why?

Well, that’s it then. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little walk down the lane of unimaginable despair and if you’re interested in finding out more about the ways in which the world is likely to end I highly recommend the book ‘Death From The Skies’ by the brilliant Phil Plait. Laterz.

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[…] I wrote about Threads for my top 10 Post-Apocalyptic Films List (Which can be found here: Part 1, Part 2) and, after the video, the original review entitled “Threads: The Single Most Depressing […]

Pingback by Depress-A-Thon: Threads Double Repost « Cinepub

[…] films. Hell, I even made a list of my own personal top ten of the genre (Part one and part two). So I was understandably looking forward to finally getting around to seeing ‘The Road’ based […]

Pingback by Review: The Road « Cinepub




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