Ideas for an Apocalyptic Movie Night
As we all are very painfully aware, the world is a little on fire all around us. We are locked down and staying inside. Our fears of the collapse of society are at an all-time high, and the debate about how logical these fears are is not why you are reading this right now. You are reading this to see if you can find a good movie to watch during these completely novel times of (as we all can tell) apocalyptic nature. I’ll include a mixture of camp and non-camp options because there is no better recipe for stay-at-home movie night.
- On the Beach (1959) has all the elements of a classic—there is romance, drama, and (most importantly) an apocalypse. Nuclear fallout is the culprit in this one, and it has affected the Northern Hemisphere almost entirely. The survivors who have been herded to Australia are forced to wait out the rest of the time they have left before all life ends entirely.
- Planet of the Apes (1968) has both camp and pure suspension into a world we used to think we could never imagine for ourselves. Be transported to a world where the issue is not a virus but, rather, a species more powerful than humans ever dreamed of being. Humans will always lose, but it’s fun to see what creative minds cook up for how we lose.
- Mad Max (1979) is a high voltage adventure down the roads of dystopian Australia long past the “end of the world.” We follow a highway patrolman through his days fighting off criminals who run amuck fighting for scrap and gasoline. Just think of the car parts and fuel as toilet paper and Clorox wipes and this movie will make more sense than it already (really) does.
- Akira (1988) is a fever dream anime film, in which Neo-Tokyo is threatened with utter destruction at the hands of a secret military project. The elements of impending doom are consistent and they make the atmosphere that much more exciting from start to finish. In addition to being an apocalyptic adventure, it becomes an adventure fueled by unbreakable friendships and togetherness.
- The Road (2009) is an adaptation of the melancholic Cormac McCarthy novel in which the apocalyptic event is never disclosed to the audience. We only see the aftermath and the journey of father and son as they head for the sea. It’s a sad one, and I would recommend watching this before something more upbeat that might not even be on this list. It is still an important experience, though. Its over-arching theme is that, after all the smoke clears to reveal the destruction, we will only ever have each other.
- Melancholia (2011) is another doozie as far as the emotional elements are concerned. It’s a difficult watch if you find you can’t exactly handle the thought of the “end of the world.” This film brings the end of the world to its characters. There is no such thing as running or even fixing it. All they can do is watch. This is why I recommend you watch it once and never return to it…unless you think you can take it. It’s visually enticing and its vicinity to realism (at least in the way that it looks) are probably the most amazing parts.
- Take Shelter (2011) is an interesting look into the mind of a man who cannot get the thought of doomsday out of his mind. In 2011, everyone was preparing for 2012 (our second coming of Y2K), so this film fit perfectly with all of the mindsets we were seeing in the media. He becomes obsessed with the idea of building a shelter for his family. Preparation for some sort of doom is on the mind of everyone these days. This is an interesting exploration of our obsession with preparing for every possible threat that might befall us.
- Retreat (2011) begins with our main characters enjoying their time away from civilization on vacation from their normal lives. Their vacation ends when a man randomly shows up and gives them news of civilization’s collapse at the hands of an airborne disease. Their isolation ceases to be a choice, and hysteria runs high very quickly. This is a very topical item on this list for, well, obvious reasons.
- Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) is a very insightful look at the fear of being alone at the proverbial “end.” A man is left alone as an asteroid nears the earth. He finds someone to spend their last days with. It is a an adventure of purely human proportions, and it is rife with humor as well as bittersweet sentiment.
- 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) is a true-to-form science fiction film that effectively encapsulates what we are experiencing in our homes right now. Well, of course, certain elements of the film don’t exist in real life (I’ll avoid spoiling them). However, being forced to isolate inside and hunker down with only the resources you readily can spare is something we can all relate to.