This year has presented us with a plethora of planet-imperiling scenarios, from Watchmen toTransformers. But despite the promising threats of nuclear war and killer robots, I'm left feeling empty. The Apocalypse used to be fun. What happened?
It is a proven paradox that during eras of real impending global disaster we have been given what is arguably the best doomsday cinema of all time, from the cold-war comedy classics to the matinee apocalypse of the atomic age. Is it any wonder then, that as economies collapse and nations riot, we are once again inundated with end-of-the-world media. The big difference this time around is in the heavy-handedness of the messages. What happened to the humor? Here are some cult classics you may have missed.
In the 1980's, the end-of-the-world just gave us the giggles. 1982's britcom Whoops! Apocalypse spawned a film of the same title, with almost as much satire and as many DC superhero references as the series itself.
The heyday of the teen comedy, the 1980's gave us what are now cult classics of the end-of-the-world genre with a healthy dose of teen angst and synth-heavy soundtracks. War Games gave us one of our first hacker-geek heroes, and Night Of The Comet reminded us that even in the midst of a zombie outbreak you could still find time to hit the mall and have some fun.
Never has the threat of the end of civilization been more entertaining. From the fifty-foot woman to giant killer bugs, the world was put in danger in increasingly more and more creative ways during the 1950's. While the films themselves were usually thinly-veiled analogies real-world threats, they still sought to make people both think and smile. Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers helped pave the way for all alien invasion films to follow, while the King of ‘B' movies Roger Corman gave us showed us what would happen on the day the world ended. (Hint: it involves a dumb blonde and a mutant monster.)
And last but not least, who could forget Slim Pickens' rodeo rocket ride into oblivion in Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb?