Doomsday's Neil Marshall Explains Apocalypses Without MonstersS

The Descent was one of our favorite horror movies of recent years, so we were automatically excited about director Neil Marshall's new movie, Doomsday. And that was before we found out Doomsday was going to be Mad to the Max. In Doomsday, the government walls off Scotland to contain a deadly plague... only to send a team into the shattered country 30 years later. We talked to Marshall about strong women, genre confusion, and why Doomsday has no monsters.

The Descent and Doomsday both focus on women venturing into perilous situations. Do you think it's important that the heroes in your films are women? Do you write women characters differently, or are they just heroes who happen to be women?

It's certainly not some kind of career plan to have my heroes be women, it's just turned out that way. I actually wrote the story for Doomsday several years before I made The Descent. It was one of 3 scripts I tried to get made in the wake of The Descent and it was the one that Rogue Pictures chose to back, so it's really just a coincidence that my new hero is also a woman and I saw no reason to change the character into a man just because of what I'd done previously.

I try to write women as authentically as possible. Above all things, no matter how tough and rugged I make the characters, they should never lose their femininity.


The thing that seems most intriguing to me about Doomsday is that it seems to straddle genre lines, including horror, scifi, medical thriller, etc. Do you think this is true? Are you consciously trying to blend genres?

I love to blend genres. Taking the best elements from different inspirations and throwing them all into the mix is what makes it fun. Besides, I think the lines between genres have often been blurred at best, and that's no bad thing.

Most post-apocalyptic movies nowadays feature monsters (28 days, I Am Legend, etc. ) Are you consciously trying to reclaim post-apocalyptic movies from the monster-movie genre?

Absolutely! It's like there's an unspoken rule in movies now that virus = zombies! Well that's not what post-apocalyptic movies are about for me. It should be about human survival, because the day the next big global pandemic arrives, there won't be any zombies running around, I can promise you that. This is real, terrifying stuff, just as real as nuclear war was when the last great post apocalyptic movies (like The Road Warrior) came out. And that's the kind of gritty, savage world I'm trying to revisit with this movie.