Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pick Your Apocalypse

This weekend I took in a film: Battle: LA. I will pretty much see any spectacular disaster movie, whether good or bad. I'd put Battle: LA in the good camp - it was an enjoyable romp with explosions abounding.

My husband and I bond over a shared love of the imagined apocalypse. While its depictions range from eye-rollingly ridiculous to thought provoking, there's something fascinating about the end of the world as we know it. In Buffyverse, though not one of my favorite character's, Riley Finn delivered one of the best lines of the series: "I find myself needing to know the plural of apocalypse."

Pop culture has indeed dreamed up a plethora of means by which the world might end and I tend to enjoy society's demise in all its forms. The Ides of March seem an appropriate day to examine a foreboding subject. Let's have a look see:

Alien apocalypse
Since I started out with Battle: LA I might as well continue in this vein. The alien apocalypse can be zany (Mars Attacks), insidious (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, X-Files), or bombastic (Independence Day, Battle: LA). It's interesting to see what our extraterrestrial neighbors look like, covet their superior technology, and wonder how humans will manage to prevail.

Viral ApocalypseMaybe more frightening because of its plausibility, the supervirus apocalypse (The Stand, Survivors) gets popular play though not as often as other armageddons. Sometimes it wipes out the population, sometimes it makes people into vampires (Daybreakers).

And in case you were worried that all this world-ending mayhem was mutually exclusive, sometimes viruses even bring...

Zombie apocalypseA perennial favorite, the zombie apocalypse comes in many forms. Whether wrought by the slow moving undead (George Romero's oeuvre) or the hyper-charged rage-diseased variety (28 Days Later), zombies spell bad news for society but give us lots of tips for survival. Double tap.

In fact, I'm not that frightened by the onset of zombie apocalypse because I think a good portion of the population is living in a zombie-apocalypse-ready state.

Climate apocalypse
A relative newcomer to the end of the world scenarios, you'll find a few blockbusters (The Day After Tomorrow) but mostly made-for-tv fare (Category 7: The End of the World is pretty awesome). To get serious for a moment, the climate apocalypse scenario hits pretty close to home when horrible disasters (and yes, I know tectonics isn't climate, but still) are affecting sites around the globe. If you aren't already donating to the Red Cross, please consider doing so.

Nuclear apocalypse

Like viral and climate apocalypses, nuclear apocalypse is plausible enough to be truly unsettling. But saw its popularity (Dr. Strangelove, The Day After, Reds, On the Beach) wane in the 21st century. I think "too close for comfort" is part of the we don't see more films of this variety. Also because the Cold War ended. Duh.

Biblical apocalypse
Classic. Who doesn't love a good angels vs. demons battle for the fate of the world? And the four horsemen: pretty hard to top. Whether the anti-Christ is being born (The Omen, Constantine) or Lucifer's running rampant (End of Days), this type of apocalypse is chock full of supernatural goodness.

Though I'd hope none of us are rooting for the end of the world, I'd still wager that we all favor a particular armageddon. My husband is a devoted nuclear apocalypse fan, I'm torn between zombie and biblical, which makes sense given that science fiction and fantasy are my favorite genres.

What's your apocalypse of choice?


  1. I'm firmly in the zombie apocalypse camp. I've got multiple survival plans already in place. Bring it.

  2. Zombie!! I have a shotgun handy ;)

  3. My family and are were talking about a zombie apocalypse the other night! I have a plan complete with canned goods, a bicycle, and a javelin!

  4. They may be too close for comfort, but nuclear and viral are definitely my favorites!

  5. I would take a good Biblical apocalypse any day.

  6. Well, my husband is prepared for the Zombie apocalypse but I secretly hope Sam and Dean... well mainly Dean, will save us (and by us, I mean me) from the biblical apocalypse!

  7. Amy - Yes, if the biblical apocalypse brings the Winchesters any closer I'm all for it! :) Though zombie apocalypse = Cillian Murphy, which isn't bad either.

  8. I think I would choose the biblical or the zombie apocalypse. The other ones would be much longer and more drawn out. We wouldn't even know if the biblical one was happening, would we? And, of course, we do have those handy Zombie Survival Guides in case that one happens :).

    Random, but I also love the coloring on that picture for the alien apocalypse.

  9. I love biblical apocalypse stories. They usually look to verses in the bible that make predictions and I like that element. Plus, there is usually an element of evil which makes the story more fun and frightening at the same time. Let's face it with a biblical apocalypse you could have all the elements of the above apocalypses combined into one. I can see it now a plague of locust, er, zombies infest the earth in the wake of a nuclear disaster that caused a deadly virus to wipe out a portion of those to survive. The nuclear fall out causing a climate change wiping out a good portion of those left. lol

  10. Personally I'd rather be judged by God than the causes of man kind and nature at least dying this way would be with reason and cause.

  11. My apocalypse of choice? All of them! I'm a sucker for anything that ends the world. Howevere, if I HAD to pick just one, I would probably go with aliens or zombies. They always seem to have fun times =P

  12. I love a good apocalypse movie! If I had to choose my favorites, I'd go with zombie apocalypse - because I think I might actually survive - and viral apocalypse - because if the initial virus doesn't get me, nursing school has probably taught me enough to survive most other things.

    P.S. You win for quoting Buffy. And I agree about Riley: he was one of the suckier characters. Spike FTW!

  13. I would have to lean towards climate apocalypse because it's scary that it just might actually happen and I think we are ushering ourselves towards it. Now if I could have me some Dean Winchester I might have to change my pick :-)

  14. Nikki - "Spike FTW" Absolutely!!

    Debbie - Never enough Dean :)