Saturday, December 27, 2014

Guest post - Bruce Fottler on Popular Apocalyptic Events

My main character in Paladin's Odyssey scoffed over the absurdity of tired doomsday clichés in apocalyptic tales of our era. The inspiration behind this came from the abundance of post-apocalyptic movies that have come out over the years. While they range from compelling to just plain silly, there's no denying that we have a curious interest in the demise of our species.

But what are the most popular apocalyptic events in movies these days? I recently came across a list of the top post-apocalyptic films (on and thought it would be interesting to identify the apocalyptic event in each movie to see what might be keeping us up at night.

Note: My list is a consolidation of the top IMDB picks, as some franchise sequels/prequels showed up more than once. In these cases, I noted that all sequels/prequels movies are included.

1. The Hunger Games (includes sequels/prequels). It's never said what happened to civilization before the establishment of Panem.

2. The Maze Runner (2014): Much like “Hunger Games”, the apocalyptic event is undefined.

3. The Planet of the Apes (includes sequels/prequels): “You maniacs! You blew it up!” Who can forget Charlton Heston's meltdown at the end of the 1968 classic?

4. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014): Machines built to exterminate mutants turn against everyone.

5. Snowpiercer (2013): A failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet.

6. The Terminator (includes sequels/prequels): “I'll be back.” Skynet takes over and seeks to exterminate the human race.

7. Mad Max (includes sequels/prequels): Civilization breaks down leading to war over dwindling resources.

8. The Matrix (includes sequels/prequels): Machines enslave the human race and use them as a power source.

9. Cloud Atlas (2012): “The Fall" is a largely-unexplained apocalyptic event.

10. Oblivion (2013): (Spoiler alert!) Aliens harvesting our planet.

11. Zombieland (2009): Zombies, Twinkies shortage, and the death of Bill Murray!

12. The Rover (2014): A global economic collapse.

13. I Am Legend (2007): A cure for cancer inadvertently creates a deadly plague, while turning a small percentage into monsters.

14. Warm Bodies (2013): Zombies, love, and a cure.

15. Total Recall (2012): Earth is almost uninhabitable (not sure why, and it's not the same premise of the 1990 original).

My observations:

Overall, I can think of several other great movies that should have ranked higher on this list, but it's just a snapshot of what's popular today among IMDB voters.

It's interesting to note that the underlying apocalyptic event in the top two movies is undefined. These stories instead focus on their present circumstances. It shows that a strong, engaging story doesn’t need to explain the apocalyptic event behind the narrative.

The most reoccurring apocalyptic event is machines turning on humans. Hey, I've always been suspicious of Skynet myself. Did I just hear a laugh coming from my laptop speakers?

I found it interesting that Zombie-themed movies didn't rank higher the list. Perhaps this is a sign that the zombie sub-genre is showing fatigue?

It surprised me that the less popular apocalyptic events are a plague and economic collapse (which doesn’t bode well for Paladin's Odyssey being made into a movie). Besides war, I think that these represent the most plausible of the apocalyptic scenarios on the list. Maybe we just don't like too much reality in our movies?

And finally, why are aliens always trying to kill us off and steal our planet?

What do you think of the list?

About Bruce Fottler:

Since exiting a finance career in a world of cubicles, Bruce Fottler has been busy writing novels. His latest is the post-apocalyptic thriller: Paladin's Odyssey.

Bruce grew up in the Chicago suburbs and moved to the Boston area as a young teen. While seeking a career-track that mostly put him behind a desk, he dabbled in creative pursuits such as producing, writing, and directing film shorts. However, it was always writing novels that interested him the most because they aren't limited by production budgets, technical capabilities, or tight shooting schedules.

Bruce has three other published novels: Chasing Redemption (Sci-fi thriller), Dover Park (Mystery), and The Juncture (Time-travel drama).

Amazon Author Page:

Goodreads Author Page:

Link to Paladin's Odyssey on Amazon: http//

Paladin's Odyssey Facebook Page:

Please also note that Paladin's Odyssey is free through Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime.

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