Doomsday film genre predicts the world’s demise far too often for us to take it seriously
The end of the world! No one knows when it will happen, why it will happen or if it will happen. Most religions have their own doomsday parable, as such Hollywood for years has peaked our interest in the morbid fascination on how the world will end.
Be it alien invasions, robotic revolution, zombie apocalypse or just plain old biblical natural disasters. In a way, each movie doomsday scenario could be a reflection on our society.
For example, the American fear of communism spreading during the Cold War influenced movie ideas like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” in which aliens infiltrate the minds of ordinary people in society.
The thought of an extraterrestrial sharing their different or advanced knowledge with us is exciting, but there is also the fear of something alien visiting us or taking over the Earth.
Movies like the “Terminator” shows the dark side of our dependency on technology, particularly in light of the Y2K scare. We have the need to make everything high-tech so we can make our lifestyle more comfortable.
These stories work off the idea of having our creations turn on us. Technological advances as something as little as the iPhone or its Siri app gives the concept of tech turning on us some unneeded validity.
The most recent and popular apocalyptic scenario has become the zombie outbreak. Running off fears that stem closer to every day reality than we would like to admit.
Early on with films like 1968’s “Night Of The Living Dead.” The Communism angle came into play again; Zombies were slow moving but all encompassing dread. They could be anyone, including your friends or family.
When 9/11 happened, it shifted the paradigm of how we perceive horror. The fear now was with everything happening so fast and with unpredictability that filmmakers started to utilize those themes, hence the introduction of the fast pace zombie ala “28 Days Later.”
The last angle these types of flicks take are the Natural Disaster, with the notion that the destruction of humanity is unavoidable and out of our hands. That our Earth can turn her wrath on us anytime can make a person feel cosmically insignificant.
Hollywood continues to make movies because floods, tornadoes, asteroids, or earthquakes have more of a high possibility of happening then zombies, robots and aliens taking over the world.
Other than being great fun, the doomsday genre provides an avenue to explore the extremes of humanity. Many are designed to provide the audience an avatar, to think for themselves of what they would do given the situation.
There seems to be a new apocalypse sprouting up every couple years be it Y2K, bird flu, the Mayans or full on biblical judgment day and as long as those fears still exist Hollywood will keep people on their toes wondering… what if?