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Earth is in the direct path of a star called Bellus and science proves powerless to prevent the collision or the devastation wrought by Zyra — the planet that orbits Bellus — as it passes us by. But 40 people can be saved in a rocket shop which will land on Zyra and offer a future for the human race. The narrative is shaky and the science even more so, but the special effects, notably the flooding of Times Square by a tidal wave, remain highly entertaining and manage to overcome the limitations of the acting and dialogue.
Nuclear apocalypse is initiated by a mad general Sterling Hayden who believes his bodily fluids are being tampered with by communist subversives while the politicians and top brass sit around debating the idea of Armageddon. Scott , while the US president Peter Sellers in one of three roles in the film becomes involved in a lengthy discussion with the Soviet premier about who is the more sorry about the end of civilisation as we know it.
Meanwhile, the eponymous doctor also Sellers , inventor of the Earth-threatening Doomsday Machine, finds the idea of apocalypse sexually stimulating and the pilot delivering the bomb rides it into eternity like a bucking bronco. The Quiet Earth The ambiguity of the film can strike some viewers as infuriating but the eerily effective location shooting on the deserted New Zealand streets offers a potent sense of a time after everyday life has simply stopped.
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The Sacrifice In a series of long, lingering takes and profoundly moving images captured by cinematographer Sven Nykvist , Tarkovsky tells a story of Alexander Erland Josephson , an agnostic aesthete, who, upon learning that the world is doomed to nuclear destruction, makes a deal with God that he will sacrifice everything he loves in his life if the inevitable can be reversed. When he wakes the following morning, all is normal again and he must fulfil his side of the bargain.
Nor is it depressing to watch; the intellectual turbulence behind what was a final statement by the dying Tarkovsky is endlessly fascinating. When the Wind Blows Based on the Raymond Briggs graphic novel, When the Wind Blows offers a very British apocalypse in which an elderly couple, Jim and Hilda, live their everyday lives in the face of nuclear war with the Soviet Union.
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When the missiles strike, the couple survive but find that they are the last remnants of civilisation. They maintain their everyday routine in the face of despair but are eventually worn down by isolation and radiation sickness. Particularly powerful is the suggested contrast between the memories of the moral certainties of the Second World War and the insane randomness of Mutually Assured Destruction. The Rapture The Book of Revelation is rich fare for those with a taste for weird visions of catastrophe and many films have referenced it.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse appear, the shackles of prisoners fall, the trumpets sound and darkness falls upon the world. The film is blisteringly powerful and disturbing, centred almost entirely upon a painfully credible performance from Mimi Rogers as Sharon, a former swinger who becomes a born-again Christian upon being told that the final judgement is nigh.
Last Night Last Night is perhaps the quietest of all films about the end of the world, offering a naturalistic study of behaviour and relationships in place of bombastic special effects. Some people choose family, others choose isolation. Some despair while others find solace in sex, music or memories. The exceptional performances — including David Cronenberg in a rare appearance in front of the camera as the owner of a power company ringing all his clients to thank them for their custom — give us a real sense of empathy for these wonderfully normal people whose resilience in the teeth of hopelessness is inspiring and moving.
The final scene, where love unexpectedly overcomes despair and crowds celebrate their ultimate destruction, is bizarrely uplifting. Donnie Darko This spurs him into a journey of discovery that involves the failures of society and education, the presidential election, sex and time travel.
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At its most simple, it can be enjoyed as an entertaining mind-game with a killer soundtrack of s hits. Melancholia All the hysteria and impending doom that we expect from this genre are channelled into a painfully close study of two sisters, Clare and Justine, whose roles reverse during the film.
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Take Shelter Sometimes people like Curtis in Take Shelter dream of catastrophe and act to protect themselves and their families from it. Throughout, the sense of impending disaster amid the beautifully shot broad Ohio fields and the endless blue air is compellingly sinister and the everyday details of a life lived with the burden of foreknowledge are completely credible.
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