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Sunday, May 16, 2010


The unknown.

Its allure is what gave birth to myth, legend, and tales told around the campfire. Man wants to know the unknowable.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

Mankind can't abide not knowing. If Man doesn't have an answer, he will make one up. And that is why we have myths. And the desire to make up the answer is why we have science fiction and fantasy.

And the greatest unknown?

Death. Our own. Our species.

And that is why we have the explosion of end times movies :

LEGION, 2012, AVATAR {in its Think Green way.}









Why so many end time movies? They are popular. Why? We look at the headlines and see we have a compulsion to destroy ourselves. And the heights of science provide a certain deadfall for the human race.

We as a movie audience need to work out the terror of our race committing ethnic cleansing on a species scale in a safe arena.

The comforting blackness of a movie theater, surrounded in the safety of fellow humans laughing, shouting out in surprise or dismay, and cringing from CGI horrors.

See, Martha? It's just a movie. No bungled science will wipe us out. It's only Hollywood. Only 3D and CGI and over-the-top writing.

It can't happen in real life.

We ignore the whispers from the news : Jamestown. Cambodia. North Korea. Iran. The Trade Towers. Haiti. Chili. Ever growing dead areas in the oceans. The shrinking ozone layer.

The smoke detectors are still going off. The rain forests are still burning. Entire species of life disappearing. Where did all the bees and butterflies go, honey?

We slurp our cokes, munch our popcorn, and cringe at the latest terror-of-science movie lunging out at us from the screen.

Are we all mentally ill as Stephen King asserts? We outside the asylums can just hide it better? Or do we do it to establish a bar of what is normal and what is not?

We are handed our baby brother who promptly pukes on us. We bat him on the forehead, and get one from an angry parent. So we learn to smile and chuckle, "Oh, look. How cute."

And when we watch on the movie screen an older brother put on a Halloween mask and chop off the head of a younger brother, inside we say, "That'll teach him."

We listen to doomsday economic, political, religious jihad news. We go to the theater and see the world end, only to go outside in the bright light of day, seeing the cars pass by and hearing the pedestrians chatting away on their cell phones. Just Hollywood.

We're safe.

Aren't we?



  1. "Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtaxed."-- Oliver Wendell Holmes

    With good reason--we escape the very real calamities around us--through lies on the screen or lies in our minds.

  2. I agree with Jojomama- too true. That is why we go to movies. To escape. right?

  3. The human race is an enigma to me too.

    "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind".
    Mohandas Gandhi

  4. "If Man doesn't have an answer, he will make one up." -- How true!!!

  5. Okay, that Splice movie looks freaky...but kind of cheesy. I'll have to see it!

    Also, I think people are afraid of the we keep making up movies and stories about the end to sedate that fear. Of course, some of those movies only scare us more!


  6. I love end of the world movies. I did see the preview for Splice and it looks pretty good.

  7. I think at the end of the day, we know as a species we're inherently selfish. We have this need to dominate, becoming the all powerful intelligence lording it over all.

    We also have a myriad of compassion and empathy triggers. And those serve to remind us in these movies, just what we as a species are capable of. Will it reign us in? That's the question isn't it?

    Of course I'm of the mind, human beings make things more complicated than need be to begin with. Maybe that's why I wake up every morning and say, "Let me be the person my dog thinks I am."

    What can I say it's Monday at it's foggiest. (Hugs)Indigo

  8. I guess we do have an obsession because it's the great unknown. If you know where you're going, though, it's not so scary.
    And I've seen all but two of those movies.

  9. Great post!

    I dont know, I watch those movies because its fun. They use the same recipe all the time, and I like pointing them out, discovering them.
    Deep down u r right. We think. "Ok, things might be bad for me right now, bt it aint getting worse then this!"

  10. It is fascinating how, well, fascinated we are as writers/filmmakers/etc by the thought of an apocalypse and how we'd survive after. It might be a hidden anxiety expressing our fears that we wouldn't be able to make it, so we create movies and books to pretend we will!

  11. I love apocolyptic/post-apocolyptic novels and movies. I like to think that there's more out there (in the galaxy or in the future) than we think and that the world could end at any moment so we should live like it will...

  12. Very interesting perspective, Roland. I agree that we are fascinated, and that it runs the risk of desensitizing us to REAL disaster, which has begun as a trickle, so we haven't yet been scared into action (before we are, it will probably be too late).

    I think too, people grasp at these as a subconscious hope for 'life after death'--meaning LITERALLY that people survive these End of the World events, but subconsciously, it doesn't have to be so literal... people surviving 'death' on some level.

    I can't help it though... even having issues with what they represent, I am ALWAYS drawn to these stories. I love them. (Have my own variant stewing in fact)

  13. Wow - very thought provoking post. Well said.

  14. Thanks to all of you for caring and taking time out to comment :

    Jo : Love that quote. You're right. I've gotten myself across many a desert by focusing on the mirage at the rim of the horizon.

    Tabitha : Like you, escape is why I go to the movies. Yet I have a friend who drags me to every depressing, moral-teaching movie that comes out. Whenever a movie is released with an uplifting title like DEATH MARCH OF THE KITTENS, I groan and know that Claudia will drag me to it. Escape in that case is stumbling out of, and not into, the theater!

    Wendy : So you love that Gandhi quote as well. Good to see you back. Since often I am a mystery to me, mankind being an enigma to me only makes sense -- if enigmas ever make sense.

    Agnes : Yes, Man has to have a map of the world he sees. It may be all guesswork, mind you. But a map is comforting, giving us the illusion of direction.

    Justine : How right you are. I remember walking alone at night in the fog in a strange city. To occupy my time, I started listing the horror movies with scenes of someone walking alone in the night in the fog. By the time I got to the 10th movie, my skin had jumped off my skeleton and was walking beside me. I stopped. The shivers didn't.

    Aubrie : Yes, SPLICE does look interesting to me, too. Despite my post, I enjoy end of the world movies ... if. Yes, with me there's always an if. If there is a hero I can root for. I need a hero who is likeable or one who I can be in sync with.

    Indigo : I like that waking up in the morning with the goal of becoming the person my dog thinks I am. I have the depressing thought that I already am the person my cat thinks I am!

    We do tend to make things more complicated than they need to be, don't we, Indigo? Life can sometimes be as simple as saying, "The universe doesn't revolve around me. Let's see how many thorns we can pull out of throbbing paws today."

    Diane : It's not my destination that scares me. It's the pain of the transition. And like you, I've seen all but the two yet-to-be released end of the world movies I listed. No, wait. Nick spared me going to see LEGION.

    Clara : Glad you liked my post. And, like you, I enjoy going to these end of the world movies and seeing the human spirit triumph over seemingly hopeless odds.

    Sangu : You're right I believe. Many of these end of the world movies are simply the film-makers whistling in the dark, pretending the monsters aren't really out there -- and if they're out there, we can run faster than they can!

    Megalicious : Like you I think that sometimes we treat precious, temporary gifts as if they will be around forever. The moment is all that we have. We should caress and appreciate its beauty while it flashes by.

    Hart : I wish you luck and ease of writing with your own version of the end of the world. I'm also drawn to apolcalyptic movies. Most of us are. They speak to those gnawing, yearning questions : What's waiting in the growing darkness for us? Is death all there is, or is there more?

    Susan : Thanks for the praise. Thanks even more for commenting. Don't be a stranger.

    And that goes for all of you have visited me and made my day the brighter for it. Don't any of you be strangers, please. Have a great week, Roland

  15. Great post, Roland! I agree that the majority of us pass through life being deliberately oblivious. However, at times, I almost see it as a survival tactic/instinct; doesn't necessarily mean that it's the right thing to do, only the right thing to do to survive at that point...

    And playing with the virtual cat on your site can get to be addictive! :)

  16. Gyspy is fun to play with as well, Hema. They both purr when you run the cursor over them. Maukie meows when you place the cursor over his head. And sometimes life is all about survival tactics. Have a week where you don't need them, Hema.

  17. Interesting post. I esp. appreciated what you said about man's need for an answer - even to the point where he makes one up if he can find it nowhere else. (Ah, so that's why I write fiction!) I think another reason why the fascination for end-of-the-world movies is so strong is because almost all of them end positively. We think it's going to be the end of the world, but total tragedy is always averted at the last moment - and the end is staved off for at least a little longer.

  18. Great post/analysis of the end-of-the-world fascination.

    And thanks for sharing the creepy cool trailers. :)

  19. thing is, we want to be scared, at some level, as kids... knowing parents will keep us safe... getting older, we want to know the how of things, as you say

    love the trailers, too...

  20. I go see every end of the world movie that comes out. But avoid horror films. Can't take them at all.

  21. Sometimes the end of one world means the beginning of a new world.

    Thanks for following my blog! As a token of appreciation, I have an award for you at my place. Um... I see you already received the One Lovely Blog Award. Oh, well! I'm giving it to you again:

  22. Yep, we're all masochists. I think I'm more afraid of biological warfare than bombs and such. How far is too far in experimentation.

    If we'd just get off the God complex, maybe we could just accept things once in a while.

    Until then; we have hollyweird to entertain our baser instincts. This looks like a good prospect.

    Thanks for sharing.


  23. I always view fiction as what could be. I never think it's just a story. Imagination is real. Our mind controls us more than we know. I love the endless possibilities of the mind and the warnings of post-apocalyptic fiction.