There’s no surprise I have a thing for the zombies and the apocalypse, and an affection for Halloween and the return of “The Walking Dead” I decided to make a list of my favorite post-apocalyptic movies.
As far as books adapted to film The Stand is one of the best. Though it was a monstrous multiple part made for TV movie, it is a story so undeniable and creative it is still massively entertaining even now. Stephen King doesn’t always translate perfectly into movies but this is a magnificent tale of survival after a man made Apocalypse, a fear displayed again and again in film and novella, King manages to make his own twist on it that is very different than most stories. Death by virus is a simplistic method for extinction, but the supernatural and religious overtones that follow the cataclysmic end of man, really define what The Stand is about. There is no question the story began as child questioning the universe what the meaning of life is, good and evil, if God exists, and all the other profound questions one could surmise. It’s told in Kings simple way of letting a plethora of characters play out seemingly irrelevant events that lead to a masterful conclusion.
9. DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004)
Some may favor the original classic version of Dawn Of The Dead, but this new version offered so many levels of humor, gore, and fear that it goes without saying that it has been one of the best horror movies of the past decade. The shot it takes at a capitalist society says a lot while still remaining a gruesome horror film. From the shot of the girl standing in the hallway, to the zombie baby, to the boat that continues it’s journey to hell, this movie hits on more levels than I think anyone could have predicted. Never having a fear of zombies before, and only really being unnerved by the idea of a natural disaster as our imminent apocalypse (I’m sure a super volcano is ready to burst and since we don’t have a REAL Stargate I’m pretty sure we are screwed) this planted the seed of zombie mayhem solidly in my mind. As far fetched as it seems this film made it’s outcome a rational one, and for that I play a lot of video games killing zombies………just in case……
8. REIGN OF FIRE
Dragons come back from mythology to exterminate man in a feeding frenzy. Honestly, the idea is so badass, it almost seems like the perfect recipe for disaster if the script landed in the wrong hands, but thankfully it didn’t. Man kinds end against the famished fire breathing big bads was a relentless and seemingly hopeless battle portrayed brilliantly threw special effects only when necessary, but moreover great characters and actors playing them, and the very realistic terror instilled from the monstrous opponent that was both intelligent and miles stronger. Dying by hungry fire breathing dragon equals scary end to man.
7. ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK
Snake Plissken is renowned for being one of the most popular anti-heros in cinema history. The year is 1998 and as a result of huge crime rates, the United States turns the island of Manhattan into a maximum security prison where hardcore criminals are put for life. All the bridges leading into the city are mined, a large wall is built along the shoreline and a large police force army is based there to stop or kill any attempted escapees. Upon a terrorist attack on his plane The President ejects and escapes only to find himself in the middle of the prison. Ex-soldier Snake Plissken is offered his freedom if he goes in. He agrees but the complications are many, even though his robust bravado is without question undeniable. This is a great science fiction action film that shows where man kinds violence will eventually lead them.
6. 28 DAYS LATER
The concept of waking up to an empty hospital and a world gone is still one of the most daunting concepts ever made for a movie. There is an element of realism added into 28 Days Later, that makes the setting even more palpable. The eerie aspect of an incurable, highly contagious disease taking over London and literally making it hell on Earth is absurdly creepy, but taking the element of first person, and Cillian Murphy’s character, Jim, awaking to a world he doesn’t understand is the perfect creation for a sense of solitude and fear. Danny Boyle acknowledges the fact that in our busy bee world, silence can be the most terrifying sound of all. When the second half of the story does take place, we get a From Dusk Till Dawn feel, where suddenly our main character’s are thrown into a situation where the nature of man is reflected on and the infected aren’t the only thing to fear. At this point the character’s are important to us and their survival is what we desire most. This takes the zombie apocalypse cake, save one.
5. INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978)
If death by alien possession were to happen, the pod people is my nightmare of how I would go out. I’ve always envisioned the invasion of an alien species and the takeover to be something completely out of mans ability to see or comprehend. I didn’t always think Independence Day would happen (though it’s not impossible) but something more subtle and intelligent to disrupt our existence. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers unveils itself methodically to the very last scene which is probably one of the greatest moments in cinema. This film is unnerving in a very psychological way. GO POD PEOPLE, it’s your birthday!
4. DAY OF THE DEAD (1985)
Talk about classic creepy gore. Day Of The Dead shows us a violent destructive ending to mankind, of us destroying each other and rather than the experience of it happening, the existing through the aftermath of a world gone. Roger A. Romero’s third in a trilogy is also the most gruesome and most bleak. As a group of Scientists experiment on the “living dead” in a bunker, it isn’t long before the military send them out, but not before some of the zombies break into the bunker. Their struggle to survive and the hope of humanity is bleak as is this violent and horrific way for humanity to end.
3. 12 MONKEYS
Twelve Monkey’s has gotten a bad reputation for being a movie too complicated for people to understand, and yes it might be a light complex, but it’s also ridiculously scary and intelligent, not to mention entertaining. Mankind has barely survived a virus that destroyed the majority of it’s population. Years into the future, criminals are sent through time travel to find the pieces of the puzzle that ended in mans demise. All signs point to something involving “Twelve Monkeys”. In order to save humanity James Cole (Bruce Willis) is a criminal sent back to find this information. For some reason he has more tolerance to the travel and can remember more. This movie is a whirlwind up till the climactic shooting by airport security, filmed in slow-motion, of James which is perceived through a young incarnation of himself (Joseph Melito ) watching witnessing his own death. Talk about twisted. In this one the virus gets us even with trying to alter the time continuum.
2. CHILDREN OF MEN
Without question Children Of Men was one of the best movies of the last decade. The doomed theme Children of Men emotes is met with a small chance that even in our darkest hours we are given a small bite of hope, just to see what we do with it, and the journey and lengths one will go to, to make that hope shine bright. The film wasn’t overwhelmed with special effects or distracting side plots. The entire story followed Theo, the man with the least hope left, and watched the lengths he went to to save the hope. Children Of Men proved humanity can be violent and dark, but it also showed hope in man, that even at our worst we still have some goodness in us. It also was a clever prediction of a possible future as so many different versions of our apocalypse have been predicted, this one is the most simplistic, yet efficient.
1. THE MAD MAX TRILOGY
Most of the series of Post Apocalyptic films that exist today wouldn’t have made it to mainstream films without Mad Max. Many films have explored the idea of man destroying themselves and some point having to start over again, but The Mad Max Trilogy , for all it’s theatrical appearance and melodrama really captures the essence of a world gone wrong, and even though the world is trying to recover from what once was, the same barbaric and violent behavior that killed most of the human existence is still prevalent. Visually this is emoted and resonates just as strongly as the back story and characters who explain it through dialogue. Max is the disillusioned reluctant hero, inspired by his own set of morality and quick-fired temperament. He represents a man truly scorned by a cold world, that only has a small part of who he once was remaining. Truly wild and enamored by what he’s lost with a volatile temper but a secure sense of right and wrong, he is a formidable foe, that Mel Gibson truly makes come to life. This tells a story, another moment in time in a hero’s life that just happened to be captured along with great action, inventive new fight scenes, invigorating battles, and something altogether new and different in the science fiction genre.
Honorable Mentions: I Am Legend, 28 Weeks Later, Planet Of The Apes, Logans Run, Wall-E, Doomsday, Cloverfield, Terminator Salvation, The Omega Man, Akira, Judge Dredd, Death Race, Soylent Green, Cyborg, The Time Machine, The Matrix, and The Day After Tomorrow