Mother Brain’s Top 5 End of the World Movies

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Mother Brain’s Top 5 End of the World Movies
By Mother Brain

So lately there’s a lot of what I call “hype” about the end of the world coming Saturday, May 21. Then it’s also long been said that the end is coming in 2012. I personally prefer the “buy a drink and follow the alien into the Paramus Holiday Inn hotel room to be told about the end of the world” theory from Ghostbusters II. At least that sounds plausible. So for kicks to “commemorate” this dreary occasion, here’s my top 5 end of the world movies:

5) The Day After (1983)
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It’s a little known made for TV movie that aired on ABC under the direction of Star Trek II’s Nicholas Meyer. The film graphically depicts a group of people in eastern Kansas who survive a disastrous nuclear blast. Back then and even to this day, it’s arguably more disturbing than any Roland Emmerich flick depicting the end of the world because the film is devoid of any hope. Once the explosion happens, the second half of the film shows how the survivors begin to suffer from radiation exposure as well as turn against each other in a state of panic. It features some stand-out performances from Jason Robards as a doctor struggling to reconnect with his missing daughter and a pre-Police Academy Steve Guttenberg as a med student who bonds with a farm family after taking shelter in their barn. Very downbeat film overall.

4) Donnie Darko (2001)

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I’d be crazy to explain this movie coherently. All I can say is that the title character played by Jake Gyllenhaal has visions of a rabbit mask wearing man named Frank telling him that the world will end… in October 1988. What follows over the course of the film is Donnie’s encounters with various characters in his life who are affected in different ways as well as Donnie’s fascination with time travel reaching big extremes that lead (and alter) his fate. While director Richard Kelly has gone on to make terrible films since then, Donnie Darko was his most tolerable work due to its colorful mixture of characters and a story that reads like a good page-turning novel.

3) Ghostbusters (1984)
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Being my favorite film of all time, it just had to be included in this list because of it’s apocalyptic theme. Like Independence Day where the world gets saved by a black air force pilot, a Jewish cable operator/computer wiz, and a southern drunk crop duster pilot, Ghostbusters takes pride in having smart but down on their luck scientists combat with the supernatural with their proton packs. While it has a tendency to be considered a comedy due to the talents of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and others, I always considered the film to have a mix of every genre including action, suspense, science-fiction, romance, and even soft-core porn if you count the Ray Stantz bedroom scene during the montage. But it all builds up to the big climax where the Ghostbusters have their showdown with the evil Gozer who looks to destroy the world… with a life-sized marshmallow man! If the world’s going to end, at least put a smile and a sailor hat on the grim reaper.

2) Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

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Everyone knows this classic installment of James Cameron’s Terminator franchise. Unlike the original and the installments that followed it, T2 really hit home the concept of “no fate for what we make”. When you look outside the intense action sequences and the groundbreaking visual effects of the T-1000, there’s a truly social statement to make about war being part of our human nature and how trying to stop violence only makes us as soulless as the enemy (i.e. Skynet). Also what starts out as a rehash of the first film with 2 beings from the future coming to the present to follow their mission objectives suddenly swerves into a much bigger mission as the Arnold Schwarzenegger T-800 Terminator, Sarah and John Connor seek out to destroy Cyberdyne Systems in hopes of preventing the future war with Skynet. Always nice to have an action movie where you care about characters saving the world… and have tons of explosions.

1) John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982)
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This was the first of John Carpenter’s doomsday-themed movies followed by Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness. What appears to be an alien invasion/body snatchers story ultimately becomes a social claustrophobic thriller with 12 guys in an Arctic outpost who cannot trust each other. The imitating creature (which was said in the film could assimilate the world population in a 3 year period) was mentioned by many film critics at the time as a metaphor for AIDS because of the lack of a cure and the way in which it spreads unknowingly. So like many great end of the world stories, it’s every man for himself trying to survive until there’s no more threat. Of course with this film, that’s not the case. With Carpenter’s brilliant direction, the strong performances of Kurt Russell and the rest of the cast as well as Rob Bottin’s creepy makeup and visual effects, The Thing keeps you tingling at the edge of your seat.

Mother Brain
About Mother Brain 151 Articles
"Staten Island, NY native Andre´ Joseph had a love for movies from a very early age. He began his career making short films with family and friends on home video. He attended the New York Film Academy summer program in 2001 where he first gained experience working with 16 millimeter film and later graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College in 2006 where he received a degree in Visual and Media arts. He also interned in television production with VH1 Classic in the summer of 2006. In 2008, Andre´ formed his own New York-based independent film production company, AJ Epyx Productions, LLC. The company’s first feature film, Priceless, which Mr. Joseph wrote, starred, and directed, opened at Tribeca Cinemas in October 2008 and was selected for exhibition at the NY International Independent Film & Video Festival in March 2009. His second feature film, Dishonorable Vendetta, was the official selection at the NewFilmmakers NY Winter Series in 2015. Most recent projects include the dramatic short film Night Stream which was nominated for 4 World Music & Independent Film Festival awards including winner for Best Supporting Actor, the comedic short film Tempted which was the official selection at the Garden State Film Festival, and the short dramedy The Dinner. When not making films, Andre´ co-hosts the movie review web series The Cinefiles for the geek culture site, This is Infamous. He enjoys weight lifting, running, yoga, comic books, wrestling, football, basketball, and an extremely eclectic taste in music."

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