Happy Halloween! Since I’ve already written a ‘Top 5’ for horror movies I thought that the next best thing to the horror genre is the ‘Post Apocalyptic’ genre of movies. This is a very specific genre that is set in the near or distant future after an world changing event occurs. In some cases this is nuclear war, in some it’s the rise of fascist totalitarianism, others it’s life after technology has become self aware and conspired to eradicate mankind. Whatever the cause, life is essentially bleak and survival is not guaranteed. This is a list of the movies that stand out to me as both entertaining but also serve as warning of potential fates of mankind.
5. The Running Man- Set in the near future, this dystopian tale is about a reality where convicts are forced to survive a deadly game show in which they have to fight and outsmart ruthless criminals and murderers. A combination of Big Brother and American Gladiators but much deadlier. The sad thing is that this movie came out in the 1980’s but managed to predict the rise of “Reality” tv and the social breakdown of morality that we are now witnessing 30 years later.
4. Mad Max: Fury Road- Set in a world where natural resources are scarce and the region is controlled by a cult-like mass murderer that will stop at nothing to keep people under his control this movie is far more bleak than a future we want to view. However; with the rise of global warming and future effects of continued depletion of earths resources we could end up in a similar future. The only way I’ve ever been able to accurately describe this movie is to liken it to ‘paying to be punched repeatedly in the nuts for two hours while being entertained by it at the same time’. This isn’t my way of stating that the movie is bad (if it was it wouldn’t be on the list), instead it is my way of saying that the intensity of the film never lets up.
3. Demolition Man- Set in a future where a seemingly utopian society where everyone lives in harmony is essentially turned on its head when a mass murderer from the past escapes and the one cop that brought him down is the only one that can stop him. This movie may be corny now but at the time it was released it was a big action flick. Starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes it was set to be huge. Early performances by Sandra Bullock, Benjamin Bratt and Rob Schneider are also highlights.
The interesting part of this movie is that the premise is not far fetched (outside of cryogenically freezing prisoners). It is not impossible to see that within a few generations time the ability to survive and the skills needed today can quickly be forgotten to the point where the people are not able to properly cope with a situation outside of their norm. This is visible in society today where the gap between Generations X and Y is huge with that of Millennials in terms of skills and experiences that could help with survival in specific circumstances. Also, this movie serves as a warning that sometimes utopia may not be what it cracks up to be.
2. The Postman- While, after Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves believing anything that Kevin Costner does in a period is a stretch The Postman is a great movie. Set in a future time after nuclear war when basic services and old institutions lie in ruins the protagonist poses as a postman and eventually ends up joining a revolutionary force that is fighting against a feudal type leader (a great villainous turn of Will Patton) who seeks to maintain a stranglehold on resources and people.
The movie manages to show a future where, again, an authoritarian type regime takes control in the chaos of the aftermath and is built on the promise of humanity’s need to fight against controlling forces to seek freedom.
- V for Vendetta- Set in a dark future London where a charismatic authoritarian leader controls the country. Certain books and opinions are outlawed and people are punished for speaking out publicly against those in control. This movie give a bleak look at a future where the future is controlled by state run forces and is very reminiscent of the Nazis with chosen imagery and propaganda. A man behind a mask manages to become the vigilante and face of a revolution and sacrifices himself in the name of freedom for humanity. Sadly, this could be our future if we don’t manage to recognize these kinds of forces building before they take control.
The Book of Eli- Set in the post apocalyptic future where electronics are no longer useable and power sources and resources of all kinds are scarce, this movie follows the travels of a man who possesses one of the last remaining copies of the Bible. Hunted after by an authoritarian leader who wishes to posses the book, the protagonist manages to survive various attacks by marauders and henchmen alike while being blind.
This movie shows the power that even a single book can hold in sowing the seeds of dissent and how, as a society, we cannot let censorship become out of control.