With the Mayan calendar ticking down, Harold Camping moving his prediction forward a year, and Kim Jong-un sitting with his finger on the big red button, It’s easy to understand why some folks are getting a little tetchy about the coming end. But fear not, If movies have taught us anything It’s that a handful of humans will not only survive the apocalypse but maybe even have a little fun in the empty malls left behind. To clarify you won’t find your more infamous zombie flicks in here (aka the Romero movies) as you could fill a list with post-apocalyptic zombie movies alone. That’s for another day. So, here’s Deadly Movies favourite (non zombie) Post-Apocyalpse movies:
The Quiet Earth (1985): A real odd New Zealand treat this. No hideous post-fallout monsters or zombies. Just a seamlessly empty world inhabited by one man.., one man who’s eventually joined first by a young lady, and second by another competing alpha-male. It’s more of a character study of what the human mind might go though in such a scenario than most other movies of Its type. The reason behind the end of the world is a neat one, and so is the visually splendid ending.
When Worlds Collide (1951): I love this movie. It gets to the point nice and early. A huge planet is going to crash into the earth and destroy it. Fact. End of. No amount of Bruce Willis space missions can do shit about it. So on with the movie which essentially is about building a rocket to get a handful of humans (only 40!) off the planet on an escape-craft. The science is insane in places (the planet mankind will repopulate is a moon belonging to the planet that will destroy Earth.., a planet spinning out of control though space??) but the human interplay is great and the finality from the beginning particularly unique. OK you have to wait to the end for this to be strictly ‘post-apocalyptic’ but that end scene is hilariously entertaining, with the human survivors taking their first steps onto their new home.., a Disney-esque watercolour painting worthy of Uncle Remus.
The Last Man on Earth (1964): There’s nothing better than watching Vincent Price run around the streets of post-apocalpse Rome steaking mutant vampires to death in the first movie adaptation of the Richard Matheson novel I Am Legend. Yep Price is battier than a bucket of turds as he shuffles about the place narrating to himself. A great late night watch.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981): The quintessential modern post-apocalyptic movie. Most movies since have taken their visual cue from George Miller’s followup to his 1979 ‘Mad Max’. Plus this was a time when it wasn’t just ok, but actually cool to like Mel Gibson, a truly apocalyptic thought. If you think of the post apocalyptic world as long desert roads and one-eyed biker pillagers then this is where it all comes from.
The Road (2009): Depressing as hell (in a good way) vision of a bleak, terrifying future where one man and his son simply have to survive the hardships of a ruined earth and the ruined remains of mankind and its social rules. Like ‘The Quiet Earth’ there’s no mutants or monsters here, but there’s also no malls or nice apartment buildings to romp around in looking for PS3’s or fashion montages. Unrelentingly oppressive.
On The Beach (1959): A very different approach to the post apocalyptic world where all survivors of a nuclear holocaust live in Australia, including Gregory Peck, Anthony Perkins, Fred Astaire, and Ava Gardner.., now that sounds like a future worth saving. This is more melodrama than it is mutant horror, highway adventure, or brooding depression. Though the threat of Australia suffering the inevitable same fate of the rest of the planet constantly hangs over the movie.
Also see: ‘The World, The Flesh, and The Devil‘ (1959), ‘Panic In Year Zero‘ (1962), ‘La Jetee‘ (1962), ‘The Omega Man‘ (1971), ‘A Boy and His Dog‘ (1975), ‘Delicatessen‘ (1991), ‘12 Monkeys‘ (1995).