I blame my mother for my fascination with banana popsicles and the apocalypse. When she was pregnant with me, the main staple of her diet was the ever-delicious banana popcicle. She also went against character and allowed my dad to talk her into watching Night of the Living Dead. Now here I am, a grown woman who would rather eat banana pops than most any other sweet and whose favorite forms of entertainment involve, in some way, the end of the world (or at least the destruction of a significant portion of a town or region). Yeah, I’m a catch, and would be an excellent team pick at a variety of apocalyptic scenarios, but the point is: the apocalypse, in theory, is a fun concept. Let’s check it out.
The Natural-Disaster-Apocalypse: Think The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, Deep Impact, Armageddon… Whether Mother Nature is pissed and trying to shake humans off her back or there’s an asteroid hurtling at us, these are the kind of movies that don’t necessarily shake you at your core. You know Dennis Quaid is going to make it to New York – in a steroidal polar vortex, mind you – to rescue the Prince of Persia. And you just know that John Cusack will save his entire family and sneak them onto that billon-dollar-a-seat super submarine. And well, with the asteroid movies, the hero and heroine will die (Bruce Willis and Tea Leonie), but earth will be saved, along with other goober principal characters. The reality of the situation is this. These things could happen, and do happen, in not-so-epic proportions. We have volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, tornados, and the like all over the globe. One day Earth is going to decide she’s taken enough of our greedy shit and just put us back into the primordial ooze. Or the asteroid is going to be bigger than Stewie Griffin’s head and finally crash somewhere important. Unless you’re a semi-hot scientist who has foreseen the inevitable disaster, and have been in cahoots with NASA or the government for the coming catastrophe, then it’s all who you know or how deep your pockets are, right? Maybe. Here’s how to get around that. Develop a skillset that will put you in the ship. Engineer. Computer tech. Teacher. President. Mobster. Accountant. Cook. Filthy Rich Oil Baron. Or develop the skill-set that will allow you to take over someone’s identity and board before they do, or figure out a way to stow aboard (Thanks, Cusack).
The Aliens-Take-Over-The-World-Apocalypse. Uh-huh. It could happen. Independence Day. Battleship. The Alien franchise. Falling Skies (on TNT, with the inestimable Colin Cunningham). The key to surviving here is to know without a doubt the aliens are here to eat you, harvest you, impregnate you as an incubator, or kill you and take over your planet. Forget E.T. who wants to pick dandelions and start an herb garden back on Planet Hoth. (I know, I’m mixing movies, but it’s the first alien planet that popped into my ADD/OCD head). Take the offensive move and drop those suckers. In any way possible. There is one exception: Paul. Paul was cool. If Paul could fix Kristen Wiig’s bum eye, then he could take care of the excess fat on my bum. Just saying. Aliens = bad. As a general rule. Except Paul.
The Boogeyman-Antichrist-Apocalypse. Oh, what a treasure trove we have here, eh? Rosemary’s Baby. The Omen franchise. 7th Sign. End of Days. The Left Behind trilogy… just to name a few. Oh, and there’s the new one that hasn’t hit theaters yet, The Devil’s Due. Most of these, with the exception of the Left Behind series, have resolution before the antichrist is born, rules completely and then the apocalypse occurs. With the Left Behind movies (which, by the way, are being remade, starring the ever-so-quirky Nic Cage; the original starred Kirk Cameron), the first movie starts when all the Christians have been raptured and before the antichrist takes over. Yep, a difficult situation. If you’re looking at it from a religious standpoint, you better be prepared (as in saved) so you, too, can be raptured. From a practical standpoint, y’all, stock up on all your canned goods, have an underground network of suppliers, and maybe an underground bunker. Those Doomsday Preppers don’t seem so silly now, heh? These techniques could also work in terms of world war, hostile government takeovers, or if crazy computers took over the world.
The Biological-Warfare-Apocalypse. My favorite movie of all time: The Stand. Thank you, Stephen King. I love you. Yeah, there’s also Outbreak, Contagion, et cetera, but The Stand. Technically, since it becomes a power struggle between good and evil, The Stand could be in the boogeyman category, too, but it starts out as bio-weapons develop a leak and the super-flu escapes from a military base, wiping out all but 1% of the population who are miraculously immune to the disease. Yeah. On this one, you just better hope you’re immune. That’s all I’ve got. No tricky little ways to outrun this one. But if you are immune, pick a side and use the techniques from Doomsday Preppers.
And my favorite apocalypse… the Zombie one. Night of the Living Dead. Return of the Living Dead. I Am Legend. 28 Days/Weeks Later. There are more zombie movies out there than you can shake a stick at, but I like humor, so let’s go with Zombieland. The zombies are still gross. They still eat brains, but, you know… Emma Stone and Woody Harrelson, with a nice cameo by Bill Murray. But the absolute best zombie fare is The Walking Dead. Don’t argue with me. Don’t disagree. Just accept it as an utter fact. Plus, Norman Reedus. This show teaches you how to survive the zombies, the apocalypse, and how to rebuild society. It is a step-by-step rule book on where to loot, scavenge, and hole up for the safest options. (Although, I plan to shower more during this apocalypse). Cardio is important in the zombie apocalypse, but not as important as watching your back from the jerks who are still alive. But as Jesse Eisenberg says, “Double tap and aim for the head.” Or was that Shane?
So, the apocalypse can be survived and it’s just plain fun. Maybe not if you don’t survive it, or actually turn into a zombie, but nevertheless, think of the possibilities. Most people, I think, are attracted to the possibilities of being able to wipe the slate clean and restart the world clock. Here’s the thing, though. Humans, by their very nature, do not change. It is only when lessons of the past have been learned that any positive steps forward can be made. We don’t really need an apocalypse to do that (THIS is why I’m a history major, so I can lament how people don’t learn from the past… can I get an “AMEN”??), but, in theory, the apocalypse could be loads of fun. That, and banana popsicles.