It’s a long weekend here – an extended holiday which the country probably can’t afford, in honour of something many people seem to be quite indifferent about. I thought now would be a good opportunity to recommend another film for my Post-Apocalyptic Movie Club.
Steven Soderburgh’s CONTAGION was released last year, and I was hopeful we’d finally see a decent big-budget pandemic movie. Though it was critically well received, I didn’t like the film at all. To my mind it was as unsatisfying as 1995’s OUTBREAK, but this time with Gwyneth Paltrow as the Aids Monkey (with thanks for that quote to whoever designed the ‘honest’ Contagion movie poster I’ve used here).
My problem, I think, is that I don’t like any disaster/pandemic movie with a well known cast, and Contagion had a stack of them. If I’m watching a film about the end of civilization, then the end of civilization is what I want to see. I want unknowns and people who look like you and me, not a host of overpaid, airbrushed celebrities. Witness (only if you absolutely have to) 2007’s I am Legend with Will Smith to show how even the most beautiful of post-apocalyptic scenarios can be fucked up by such casting decisions.
So my recommended movie today is definitely not Contagion. Instead, it’s a little-known Japanese-American film: VIRUS (Fukkatsu no hi). It does have a number of well known faces in it, but it was made in 1980, when the term ‘celebrity’ didn’t seem to have quite the same connotations it does today. It’s a crazy film, and here’s a trailer. Click the link below to learn more.
I’ve been doing a lot of press for DOG BLOOD recently and I’ve regularly been asked about my favourite movies. As you’ve probably guessed from my books (it doesn’t take a genius!), post-apocalyptic films are my thing.
My brain needs some serious recharging right now, and talking about all those classics has made me want to watch them again. So that’s what I’m planning to do. And I’ve decided I’ll write something about each of them for this site: what I liked about them, what I didn’t like, how they’ve been an influence etc. etc. etc.
There are many comprehensive lists around the internet (such as this one over at www.quietearth.us), but I was thinking – what are your favourite apocalyptic films? I’m always on the lookout for new films or ones that I’ve missed, so please leave a comment and recommend your top end of the world movies. As a starter, here are the first few I’ve got lined up:
Strange title for a blog post I know, but I have a question and I’d appreciate some feedback.
My books typically deal with the end of the world in one way or another, but I’m generally more interested in how people deal with whatever’s happened to them than with the cause of ‘the event’ itself. If you were trying to survive through an apocalyptic scenario, let’s say (very topically) a pandemic, would it really make any difference to your struggle if the killer disease was man-made, a naturally occurring mutation or something of alien origin? This brief extract from AUTUMN summarises the point I’m trying to make:
‘So do you think it was a virus that did this to them?’ Carl asked. ‘Emma seems to think so. Or do you think it was…?’
‘Don’t know and I don’t care.’
‘What do you mean, you don’t care?’
‘What difference does it make? What’s happened has happened. It’s the old cliché, isn’t it? If you get knocked down by a car, does it matter what colour it is?’
‘It doesn’t matter what caused any of this. What’s done is done and I can’t see the point in wasting time coming up with bullshit theories and explanations when none of it will make the slightest bit of difference. The only thing that any of us have any influence and control over now is what we do tomorrow.’
My question to you, however, is this: as the reader of a post-apocalyptic story, how important is it for you to know what happened? Do you need to know what caused the virus in AUTUMN? Will it spoil your enjoyment of the HATER trilogy if you don’t find out why people are suddenly turning on each other?
Any feedback / comments / thoughts from anyone would be appreciated. Please use the comments function and the related forum discussion to let me know.