Post-apocalypse now

Source:AFP Published: 2018/7/3 18:28:39

Cosplayers take part in the Wasteland Weekend festival. Photo: IC


Cosplayers take part in the Wasteland Weekend festival. Photo: IC

From the Bible to Nostradamus, the Mayan calendar and the Millennium Bug, fatalists, and the fervently religious have long been fascinated by the end of the world.

Movie directors love nothing more than feeding our deepest fears concerning overpopulation, pestilence and nuclear armageddon - and the cinema-going public laps it up.

The glut of dystopian fiction coming to theaters and video-on-demand over the coming months includes Peter Jackson's Mortal Engines, Kim Jee-woon's Inrang and Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi's Luxembourg.

Shawn Robbins, the chief analyst at, sees the genre as the "definition of escapism," an art form that assuages the primal desire to get back to basics.

"These types of films are often viewed as pessimistic glimpses into the future, which is certainly one valid interpretation, but they can also be self-reflective in a positive way," he told AFP.

"It's easy to see post-apocalyptic and dystopian film settings as part of our inevitable doom, but we can also take them as lessons and parables because, at the heart of any good story, the human condition is explored and challenged."

Zombies, enormous rocks from outer space and our own weapons of mass destruction are often the cause of the fictional apocalypse, but not always.

This year's breakout hit A Quiet Place unleashed carnivorous aliens, while in I am Legend, The Andromeda Strain, 12 Monkeys and the Planet of the Apes movies, the bad guy was a virus.

Geophysical disasters do for the human race in Soylent Green, Waterworld, and Wall-E, while technology is the enemy in Logan's Run and the various Terminator and Matrix movies.

George Miller's 1979-2015 Mad Max films have inspired an army of so-called "cosplayers" who meet up at festivals to live out their fantasies as road warriors seeing in the collapse of civilization.

Every summer, more than 2,000 desk jockeys leave their day jobs across the US to decamp to the Wasteland Weekend festival in the heat of the southern Californian desert.

"It's a chance to get away from the regular rat race life and have fun," 52-year-old Joseph Hileman, a security supervisor from Concord, near San Francisco, told AFP on his seventh visit in 2016.

Filmmaker Mike P. Nelson's own pulpy take on the apocalypse, a slick but bloody 95-minute shocker called The Domestics, came out in select US theaters and on video-on-demand over the weekend.

"There's a slight bit of macabre fascination with the idea that we could all be done for at any time, whether people want to admit it or not," he said in an interview.

"There's a strange almost-fantasy in most people's minds that this is something that could happen. And I think some of these movies give us that glimpse and allow us to be fearful for a moment but safe."


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