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Holy Moly: Left Behind: The Movie by Jamie

It is my understanding that Kirk Cameron was once in an American TV show called ‘Growing Pains’ which, as far as I can tell, never played in the UK and for good reason. Just watching a video of the theme tune makes it seem as though it’d be a sickeningly sweet show were people have feelings and learns an important lesson. I could be wrong. It could all be about a serial killer who kills people by stretching them on a rack and his struggle to keep his family in the dark about his secret life. Still, that saccharine shit doesn’t really play over here in the UK. We prefer miserable or slightly dodgy characters in miserable or bizarre situations. Just look at some of our most popular sitcoms. Only Fools and Horses, One Foot In The Grave, Blackadder, Red Dwarf and Fawlty Towers. None of them have a sickeningly sweet character in them. The closest you’d really get is Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses but even he is pretty much a complete arsehole though his heart is often in kind of the right place.

Anyway, that got away from me a bit there. My point was I didn’t really become aware of Kirk Cameron until he started using TV and the internet to minister using his Way of the Master program or whatever the hell it is. I came to enjoy Kirk, not because he opened my heart to Jesus but because he was clearly a bit mental. Hell, he appeared in a number of my favourite YouTube videos such as ‘The Atheist’s Nightmare’.

Yes, it’s wonderful that God designed the banana so perfectly for human consumption. Except, of course, God didn’t make the banana that way. Man did through the same kind of guided evolution that we used to create domesticated animals and grains. Still good try. Also what if you don’t like bananas? What if you like pineapples? Does God hate you? Anyway, that’s all beside the point. My point is that I already had a pretty low opinion of Kirk Cameron (though his recent statement that jumping to the conclusion that all those birds falling out of the sky meant it was the end times was ridiculous raised it a little) before I decided to give this film a watch, but hey, I hadn’t seen him act so who knows? Maybe he’ll be good.

Well, he isn’t though I honestly couldn’t say if it’s because of the terrible script or just him. The movie is set at the beginning of Armageddon, the time that some Christians believe will signal the end of the world and the return of Jesus or something. It begins with all the believers being called up to heaven leaving their clothes behind and a bunch of confused people who have to clean up the mess caused by their sudden disappearance. Seriously, cars crash when their holy drivers are called away to paradise and all other manner of accidents occur. It’s a lot to clear away for us simple non-believers. Yeah, thanks for that God. Asshole.

Still, the film begins a little before that. We meet Buck (Kirk Cameron), the world’s most awesome reporter as he’s interviewing an Israeli scientist, Chaim Rosenzweig, about his miracle breakthrough in strains of wheat that will grow practically anywhere! Of course, two evil members of the evil UN want to get their hands on the wheat hoping it will lead to world peace and world unification and so it’s a bad thing in this particular film. The evil UN members basically bribe the scientist by promising that if he gives them the formula for the wheat, they’ll rebuild the Temple of Solomon in Israel, which they are apparently unaware is another sign of the end times. In doing this they’ll control the world’s food supply and therefore profit. Oh, evil UN members! Is there nothing you’ll do to unwittingly bring about the end of humanity?

Anyway during this interview a massive Arab air strike attacks Israel. Buck and Chaim escape to what seems to be an Israeli War Room which is out in this random patch of desert for some reason. Suddenly the jets start randomly exploding completely by themselves. Buck goes outside to report on these events and an old guy comes and babbles about something bibley.

There’s also this secondary plot about this pilot and his family. His wife’s a believer so she get’s raptured along with his son because children are all innocents in the eyes of God or something. So he’s left with his daughter who I think is a Christian’s idea of what a rock chick looks like. She has a nose piercing you see! Holy crap! I wouldn’t be surprised to find out she’d also done the pot! Anyway Buck meets the pilot on a plane whilst the rapture occurs and… Oh, Jesus fucking Christ. It’s so incredibly dull! Ugh, come on. Just push on.

So Buck goes and begins to uncover the truth behind the scriptures and the predictions of the bible whilst the pilot comes to terms with his wife and son’s disappearance, coming to terms with his own lost faith. Buck also finds out about the conspiracy regarding the special wheat and goes to the UN to try and save Chaim from making a terrible mistake. The new leader of the UN, Nicolae Carpathia, is outraged that the two evil UN members, who were apparently his mentors, where behind this evil scheme. He calls a meeting of the UN or something and Buck is brought in to watch because Carpathia wants him as his new media minister or something. Ugh… Not long now.

Anyway, Carpathia kills the shit out the two evil UN members in front of everyone else but then seems to erase everyone’s memory of it. Everyone apart from Buck’s because, you know, he’s awesome and that. Carpathia also announces that this will be the beginning of seven years of world peace which is the same amount of time that some Christians believe there’ll be troubles on Earth before Christ returns. Oh, and Carpathia is the Anti-Christ.

So there, you go. That’s Left Behind: The Movie. I haven’t read the book so I can’t compare it to that but I can say that it’s a pretty goddamn terrible film. It looks like it was made for television by someone who really, really fucking hates television. Like hated it so much that they wanted to punish it by making it appear on it’s screen. But no, apparently this thing was released in actual cinemas and watched by actual people. I mean… fuck.

There are a number of things I could say. I could go into how poorly written the thing is. Characters introduced without any earlier mention only to provide an ‘exciting’ thing to push the story forward. The terrible, terrible dialogue. For example, I’m fairly sure that if people suddenly disappeared, the people left behind wouldn’t watch their language quite as much as they do in this. For fuck’s sake people say heck instead of hell! Millions of people have just vanished and people are saying heck? It’s a world inhabited by Ned Fucking Flanders’! How the hell did anyone get Left Behind? Aside from that, the dialogue is just stilted and unnatural and often crammed uneasily with characters telling other characters that the bible is awesome or Buck is awesome.

I could mention the slightly smug attitude that characters have towards other nationalities or religions. It’s never expressly stated but you get the impression that everyone kinda looks down on the Jews or the Arabs in this film, happy in their security that, even though this is a work of fiction, they’re all good Christians who’re getting raptured right up to heaven when this shit goes down for real. I could go into the fact that the writer’s of this shit seem to have a bizarrely over-inflated notion of just how powerful the UN is. You honestly think they’re going to take over and create a one world government and end all war forever and ever? They couldn’t even stop the invasion of Iraq. The UN is a bunch of people sitting around and bickering with no real power to stop any major world power from doing what ever it wants. Seriously though, is a one world government such a terrible thing? Seemed to work out pretty well in Star Trek. Once we’d sorted out all the world’s problems and gotten together as brothers and sisters we could address the very pressing issue of finding hot alien women and fucking them. How is that not awesome?

I could even go into how terrible the acting was. Again, I’m not sure if it’s just because of the terrible script or the fact that these people have no acting chops. It was just awful. In fact, the only guy I really liked was the Anti-Christ. At least he looked like he was having some fun with his role. Everyone was just treating it so ridiculously seriously that it was laughable. As for the special effects, well, it was almost approaching “Birdemic” level during the initial air strike scene but this was made in 2000 or I assume a tiny budget so I have to cut it some slack. This movie was just painful to watch. Half a pint out of five for the Anti-Christ who, as I say, brought some entertainment to the whole horrible affair. Laterz.



Documental: Waiting For Armageddon by Jamie

Ah, religion. Religion, religion, religion. Yep. That’s a thing that happens. I’m sorry but as I know all too well, writing anything about religion on the internet can provoke some fairly extreme reactions from people on all sides of the argument. So it’s once again that I throw myself into this quagmire with a review of ‘Waiting For Armageddon’, a documentary which focuses primarily on fundamentalist evangelical Christians and their views on the coming apocalypse which they see as being imminent.

Now, I’m fairly sure that ever since humans came to understand the passage of life and it’s eventual end, there have been those who have expected to see the end of days in their lifetime and from my point of view, these people are no different. It’s just that, as this movie shows, there are a shit ton of them and they aren’t entirely without political sway. No, it should be said that I think this film was made during the Bush administration when the religious right certainly did have quite a large amount of sway in Washington and I’m not sure what the climate is like now but either way, these are a loud and, to my mind, scary group of people.

That being said, the film doesn’t seem to really take a side though it’s kind of similar to Jesus Camp in that it interviews the people about their beliefs and shows them participating in various activities and largely leaves what the viewer thinks of the issue up to said viewer. Whereas I came away from this disagreeing with most people and their apocalyptic beliefs and the destruction and devastation they’re willing, almost happy, to see take place in order for those beliefs to come true, I’m sure there will be others who already agree with these views to come away seeing it as a documentary which does nothing more than espouse those views. That also being said, much like Jesus Camp, the context of the clips does seem to lean a little more towards my side of the argument. Then again, I could just be seeing it that way because that’s the side of it that I fall on. In other words, I’m confused.

So for anyone who isn’t familiar with the book of revelations, it’s sort of explained in this film. The basic gist is that Jesus is gonna come back and fight the forces of the Antichrist in one major world-ending, pay-per-view event. Jesus is going to be carrying a flaming sword or something and he shall mete out righteous justice and then hit the reset button on all creation, abolishing evil forever. Before this all the righteous Christians will be called up to Heaven so they won’t have to endure the terrible tribulations that will proceed this awesome Holy War which we sinners will have to. The final fight itself shall take place in Jerusalem because if there’s one thing that place needs it’s a massive Holy War. Some Jews will finally accept Jesus as the messiah and the rest will be obliterated and all the rest of us that don’t will suffer a similar fate. I’m not sure whether Hell get’s destroyed with the giant universal reset or not so I’m not sure if I’m due for an eternity of torture or an eternity of oblivion which is what I’m expecting anyway. I suppose that’s kind of beside the point at this juncture. So that’s basically the end of the world according to the various accounts from the people in this movie. In other words Revelations is Jesus’ gritty reboot which, according to the fundamentalists, is long overdue.

Of course, there are a few things that have to take place before this occurs, paramount of which is the destruction of the Dome Of The Rock and the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple of Jerusalem. The destruction of the Dome is joked about quite often during a conference at the end of the film ass is, rather disturbingly, God’s “failure” to stop 9/11, the joke being that God didn’t fail to do anything because by definition God cannot fail and so all things occur according to his whim. This means that anything bad that happens, especially with regards to the Middle East or anything even slightly related to it, can be seen as a sign of the apocalyptic prophecies coming true because it’s God’s will.

I couldn’t help but laugh at one particular speaker during this conference. Something about the way he talked about post-modernism and us troublesome atheists just reminded me of the speaker at the police conference in ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’. You know, the one who talks about reefer addicts. Yeah, guy reminds me of him and it tickled me pink.

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the documentary is when a group of evangelicals head of to Jerusalem on a visit and it’s interesting to see their interactions with the Israelis. There’s a sort of grudging politeness. I say grudging because at their heart each one of these people simply cannot respect ‘the other persons point of view. The Christians believe that the only way to get right with God is through Jesus and the Jews just don’t see things this way. The Christians have to be polite and support the Jewish people because if they don’t then they don’t get to see all the sites they consider holy plus they don’t get their Armageddon they’ve so been looking forward too. The Israelis have to be polite and put up with what I’m sure is a lot of evangelising, because these are evangelicals after all, because as one Rabbi puts it ‘We have a phrase called the golden rule. The one with all the gold makes all the rules.’ The same rabbi also claims that if Jesus did exist he was a womanizing sorcerer and has the best line in the film ‘So they believe that Jesus is coming back. We don’t think he’s going to make it a second time.’ Hilarious. Just something about the way he phrases it makes it seem like a threat.

Anyway, this film was pretty good despite it’s rather scary subject matter, it didn’t make me as angry as ‘Jesus Camp’ and there is some fairly interesting stuff in there besides the whacky prophecy stuff. The main thing it highlighted for me was that I just don’t understand religious belief. Maybe it is something genetic or something to do with brain chemistry that makes someone more susceptible to religious thinking (I’m not saying it’s the only reason just something that could make something like that more likely in certain people) but I’ve never believed, even when I was a child being taught all this stuff in primary school. I just don’t have the capacity for it and so it’s one of those aspects of human nature that will always remain a mystery to me. I don’t begrudge anyone their beliefs, they’re just not for me. So yeah, the film gets four pints out of five.



Depress-A-Thon: Threads Double Repost by Jamie

Well, unfortunately there was just too much to get on with at work last night for me to find a spare moment to finish writing the list of my favourite Sci-fi villains. I did manage to get half of it done and plan to have it up tomorrow. Instead it’s time for another repost in the Depress-A-Thon, this time dedicated to the film which truly scarred my soul, ‘Threads’. I’ve decided to stick the two occasions which I’ve written about ‘Threads’ together since the original review was a little shorter than I remembered.

So included below is the part the bit 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 Thing Man Kind Has Ever Put To Film.” Enjoy.

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 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?

Threads: The Single Most Depressing Thing Man Kind Has Ever Put To Film.

I love post-apocalyptic films and games. Despite the harsh existence that the people living in the post nuclear war landscape have to eke out, they always seem fun, especially something like Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome or Fallout 3. So I decided to buy and watch the DVD of the BBC’s 1984 nuclear war drama, Threads. Spoilers ahead.

The synopsis promised a realistic look at what would happen if Britain were suddenly struck by nuclear weapons launched by then biggest threat to the Western World, the Soviet Union. I know what the effects of a massive nuclear launch would be, so I wasn’t expecting to be shocked by anything on screen. How wrong I was.

Let me start off by saying never ever watch Threads. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a brilliantly made drama, especially for the time it was made but if you ever want the possibility of happiness to be present in your life ever again, then you really should watch a Mad Max movie instead. Seriously, I think I may have killed joy by viewing this.

The story follows two families in Sheffield, one working class and one middle class. The two families are linked by the fact that the son of the working class family has gotten the daughter of the middle class family pregnant and they have become engaged to be wed. The first forty-five minutes follows their everyday lives whilst highlighting the fact that tension between the US and the Soviet Union are growing due to military movements by both sides in the Middle East.

The film is also interspersed with narration and text that highlights the fact that Sheffield would be a prime target for nuclear strike due to it’s economic value as a producer of steel and chemicals and it’s proximity to a US Air Force base. These little pieces of information continue to mount the tension as relations between the US and the Soviet Union continue to become increasingly strained.

Then the main event occurs. Britain is essentially nuke raped by the Commies. Sheffield itself is devastated, with buildings being flattened and bodies turned to ash in seconds and the pregnant girl‘s fiancée is killed. There are some who have built shelters but the film makes it perfectly clear that the radiation will destroy those peoples futures. Hooray!

The film then follows what happens to the survivors during the years following the nuclear strike. Nuclear winter sets in meaning that during the day illumination remains at twilight levels. This, compounded by massive radiation contamination of the earth, makes the growth of crops increasingly difficult. The ozone layer is massively depleted allowing increased ultra-violet exposure resulting in more instances of skin cancer, premature aging and cataracts and the population of Britain dwindles to medieval levels.

Children are being born more frequently with physical and mental mutations and even those who are born normal have no education and speak broken English. Their parents generally die before the children are able to take care of themselves and are many of them scamper through the ruined cities, trying to scavenge for food and clothing whilst avoiding the gunshots of people who shoot looters on sight.

I’ve pretty much avoided any major plot points of the story because, despite what I said earlier, I think it’s worth a watch. For a made for TV British production it’s all pretty good. The acting and special effects are a little dated but bearable. In fact the only things that don’t really hold up are the fashions and the haircuts. So yes, I’d highly recommend it. But if you do watch it, be warned. Once you watch something, you can’t unwatch it. I spent the day after viewing this film wandering around in a kind of daze, not entirely sure what the point in doing anything was.



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.



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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