Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My presentation was on the communities of the apocalypse and how different causes of an apocalypse would create a different realm, a different collection of people and ideas in order to survive in their own personal post-apocalyptic world. My first topic of discussion was that on the last humans and how in Earth Abides, they have a dream of restarting humanity in their little community. The Road was an example of where everyone was out for themselves living in a world with no trust. Also, Waterworld has the classic bad versus good scenario; it depicted a future with gangs, rebellion where their appearance consisted of tattoos, piercing’s and body modifications. With no authority, law and social standards to follow, the gangs could rebel openly.

I then discussed the Zombie narrative, this fear of disease and infection has leaked into such films like Resident Evil where the ‘Umbrella Incorporation’ have made viral weaponry via the T-Virus which brings the dead back to life, thus creating the zombies. Night of the living dead is an example of traditional zombies, slow and dumb just wanted to feed on human flesh. The old zombie narratives were inspirations of gypsy curses, now days its disease that creates the zombie population as you can see with the Dawn of the Dead remake. The Zombies are now fast and out for the kill, suggesting the public is harder to scare, also the traditional zombies are seen as comic now with satire film’s being made such a Zombieland and Shawn of the Dead. There are also a couple of metaphors included in the zombie narrative. One being consumerism, they other being Religious punishment, for turning away from faith. The Dawn of the Dead tagline “When there is no room in hell, the dead will walk the earth” is a quote from The Book of Revelations. It’s also used in Steven King’s novel The Stand, which is another post-apocalyptic tale.

I also briefly discussed the robot take-over apocalypse using the Terminator franchise as an example of where artificial intelligence became to strong and became hostile towards humans, destroying most of humanity with a nuclear holocaust, followed by a war between the machines and the survivors for the control of earth.

All bar the Zombie narrative have a happy ending, illustrating there is still time to make a difference in this world before its too late, yet with the endings of a zombie movie always ending with no way to escape and with the zombie’s being so closely linked to humanity, this is suggesting that our modern way of consumerist living is doomed.


Wall-E is one of my favourite films because not only is it enjoyable but it sends an important message out to our younger generations. Columnist Frank Rich has written an article for the ‘New York Times’ entitled ‘Wall-E for President’ where he discusses the message the film sends of an apocalypse caused by lazy-ness, obesity and consumerist waste causing the world to be inhabitable. During his article, Rich says in relation to the reaction of the children in the audience at the end of the film “What they applauded was not some banal cartoonish triumph of good over evil but a gentle, if unmistakable, summons to remake the world before time runs out” which is a subtle message you find the film when the Captain says “I don’t want to survive, I want to live” illustating humanity needs to fight to save this planet and and a realisation of how to look after the planet when he feeds the plant some water. Also, the issue with obesity is brought up when you see humanity being fed through a cup whilst floating around on hover boards 24/7 and doing no exercise. This can be translated to over use of fast food and automobiles which are destroying humanity’s health, and the waste of these is destroying the world. On a plus note, the film has a happy ending showing the remake of a happier world through the credits, sending the message that its not too late to change things.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wall E

Wall E is a fantastic film, showing just how far the apocalyptic tale has come within American culture. Wall E, though primarily aimed at children, shows to everyone the state that Pixer see the world to be in with the continuation of the destruction Americans have on the planet.

There are some moving but also comic scenes that show the reality of the future. Though exaggerated in parts the fact that Americans are growing in size can't be argued with, and the fact that the American government are funding NASA to find alternatives from space for resources, and ultimately the rescue plan.

Though The Road showed the destruction in a negative and hard hitting way, Wall E showed the depressing future in a way that gets us off guard. Both use the connection of love to employ these message, therefore both would agree that this is still powerful within the human and strong enough to ultimately rescue us from the future. This is an idea and theme that has been seen throughout this module, one scene in Dawn of the Dead we watched was the one where the wife of a Zombie runs to save from being shot and ultimately gets bitten, suggesting that family and love is the stronger then the desire to live and life.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Presentation on an American and European Apocalyptic films

My presentation is about two apocalyptic films, Dawn of the Dead from America and Children of Men from Europe, to show that films can have different issues but yet can relate to the rest of the world. I will also be talking about why peoples fear has become our entertainment?
This quotes sums up why films are created from our fears:

•Michael Huany quotes that ‘ films express the anxiety in modern society that something great and terrible is going to happen soon, something beautiful perhaps but also awful’

Both films have a meaning to its own individual country but the fears of most people in the world.

The entertainment world can not seep into our reality.

If and when is does it will not be so entertaining anymore!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

James' Presentation- Zombies!

I have decided to do my presentation on the changing zombie, looking at the difference between the original zombie and the new contemporary representations. I will also be looking at the changing political and social issues which the films reflect.
I will start by looking at the origins of the zombie and why America managed to create the zombie we all know today. This will lead to a discussion concerning why zombie films are not as popular in other countries around the world.
I will then look at the early zombies, particularly looking at the original Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead, however this will not be the focal point of the presentation as we have covered much of the issues concerning Dawn of the Dead in previous meetings.
I will consider how the tradition zombie has changed over the years from the early/mid 20th century to post 9/11. I will look at the influence the events of 9/11 has had on the zombie (if any?). I will be looking at the political messages which post 9/11 zombie films portray, especially the film Land of the Dead.
Finally I will look at the future of zombies and the direction which the zombie film is taking. This includes looking at the increasingly popular zombie video games.
Here are some questions to ponder before class;
Why do you think the zombie is so popular, and most films produced in America compared to other countries?
What post 9/11 issues do you feel are raised during contemporary Zombie films (if any)? And how have zombie films changed as a result?
Why do you feel zombie games are becoming ever more popular?

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Wall-E was defiantly a new take on the post apocalyptic films, unlike anything else we have looked at. It was interesting to see this type of genre approached from a perspective that will aim at children.

We can see two apocalypses in the film. The first of which is the man made destruction of the earth itself, which comes as a result of excess consumption and wastefulness. This hold the message (particularly directed to children) that humanity (particularly America) needs to reduce their excessive lifestyles and focus more on recycling (as Wall-E does). The heavy emphasis on Buy Large Company is reflective of Wall Mart, which every American can recognise. They have the vast hyper stores with miles of car park space as well as advertising everywhere (including the moon).

The second apocalypse concerns humanity and the loss of basic human capabilities, effectively turning into giant babies. Humanity becomes completely reliant on machines and technology to run their lives. We see that they have turned into fat and lazy creatures whose lives focus around being told what to do and buy by machines. Not only have humans lost their physical capabilities of moving but also their personalities. This is seen when the computer tells them that blue is the new red, so everyone automatically changes. This reflects consumer culture and how people are exposed every day to subtle (more often un-subtle) advertising and how it subconsciously controls our lives. This image of technology taking over is reflective of the Terminator series, the main difference being the robots in Terminator want to destroy humanity by killing us where as in Wall-E its through slowly taking away the points which make us human, turning us into a type of robot.

Whilst the ultimate aim of the film is to send out a hopeful message and tries to warm kids about the danger of relying on technology and wastefulness it could be seen to send out a negative image. In a way it could be read to show that no matter how bad things get there will always be a way out of it. Despite the world being destroyed we can use technology to repair it and whilst in the process you can have a nice life aboard a luxury cruise ship.

The credits at the end show the story of what happens after the film, how humanity effectively goes back to the beginning (cave man style) but through hard work and time can progress to the level they were at previously (only to destroy the world again??). So as with many Pixar films it ends on a happy note, much unlike other apocalypse texts we have seen.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010


WALLE i love this film so much it is enjoyable with a hidden meaning. It has all emotions within it ranging from sorrow, love, hate, anger ect, it never grows old but it is ironic how this film is about too much consumerism but also they have put out every merchandise going on this film.

WALLE which is a post apocalyptic children's film, set in the year of 2100 on the after mass of the world that has been abandoned after an environmental collapse of the earth being overridden with too much junk, the world has been destroyed by consumerism, too much stuff for not enough people. The earth has been poisoned and no living creature is left escaped one little robot, WALLE, which has been created to clear up the mess while the human escape to outer space.

The humans in space are like mindless zombies without the gruesome side effects of being dead, They are stereotyped by being fat and lazy by not even being able to use their legs anymore to walk, the children do not know anymore than the screen that is placed before them. They live a life of luxury where everything is done for them, cleaning feeding ect. The soulless humans could be contrasted to the film Dawn of the Dead, where the zombie's remember only what has been on television and advertisements. like a brain washed person.

WALLE is not just an apocalyptic film set in a dead landscape but it is one of a romance story, between two robots one from the old world and the other from the new. this romance shows hope in the new world because if WALLE was not so persistent of showing his love for EVE then EVE would have not found what is in WALLE's treasures of peoples waste, a small plant which has started to grow on earth after so many years. Also them together have shown the humans that life is important again by knocking them to their feet with the humans realising they must save their children and themselves from what they have become.

This film even though for children has been liked by many older generations too, it does show the fear of what people believe may happen in the far future but always shows there is hope in survival and re-growth of the world, this some what science fiction text is the first of children apocalyptic story lines made, it has become a huge success throughout the world which has shown that not all texts on this matter has to be gruesome or horrifying.

http://www.buzzsugar.com/Wall-E-Post-Apocalyptic-Robot-Love-1740644 ( just to show more details)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

After finally finishing The Road, I have to say that I didn’t really enjoy it as a read, I found it very bleak and depressing, yet at the same time I was completely captivated by it. The relationship between father and son in a world where devastation surrounded them was the key factor that created a bond for me as I just had to find out what happened to them. I feel that this is a common factor for all readers of the novel as their struggle through life pulls on everyone’s heart strings. The boy signifies innocence in America and the father represents strength. Travelling east to west turns the American frontier upside down and suggests a sense of going back in time to a more primeval state of society. One thing I did like was the happy ending; I agree it’s somewhat of a cop out, yet I feel it’s a prediction of the future, humanity may only be a guest on the earth, but like Earth Abides, Mother Nature will always recover.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Road

The Road made me feel incredibly lonely, the unnamed characters added to this. The relationship between family is clearly one of the main motives of the book, the idea that with no one is left, family is what bonds people. The idea of going to the sea is one that is very familier within the apocalyptic tale. The end was a bit idyllic and some parts seemed unrealistic, but the message about the issues America faces are real. The way the world ends is not made clear, i feel this is due to Mc Carthy suggesting there is many reasons the world will end.
This review I found summed up how I felt about the book.
'The Road is a novel of transforming power and formal risk. Abandoning gruff but profound male camaraderie, McCarthy instead sounds the limits of imaginable love and despair between a diligent father and his timid young son, "each other's world entire" http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2006/nov/04/featuresreviews.guardianreview4

The Road

This book is not really anything to do with the cataclysm that has destroyed all civilization and apparently almost all life on earth, but of the journey of the father and son after the death of the mother near the beginning of the story. The journal of the twos strong bond through such a grim landscape heading South so that they can survive for longer, dodging all the other survivors who have turned into cannibal going from town to town trying to find bodies. It is not like the typical apocalyptic text where there is a meaning behind the cataclysm which killed so many and outlines the rest of the story. Except that the father lives for his son and his son is so young that he can not survive on his own, but with the dad dying you can feel the tension of heartache through out. This text is more about them being saints (the good people) believing that there can be a civilization if they found people like themselves, showing strong hope in more of a religious manner, where the boy symbolises hope like another jesus here to help others.

As James stated the can of coke is a large part of the dying of consumerism making the audience know fully that this may be the last can on earth to be tasted, in other apocalyptic txt consumerism is a major part of the story line for example dawn of the dead being in a mall and them still wanting nice things. Also the gun that the father carries around is not for protection but to be used if the boy was captured to pull on himself, it is a symbol of the old world an American right to have in the use of protection although now to use in different circumstances. In The Road non of this matters and survival is more vital than anything else, the protection of the young boy is the main role that the father plays.

Though the young boy is represented as the strength of the future, he is the one keeping his dad going also he does not know much about the old world so adapts easily to the new. Even though the boy has seen many horrifying accounts such as the newborn child being roasted on a spit roast for the cannibals, at the end the young boy is like a hero because when he dad dies another family finds him a 'good' family who has a daughter which means salvation and civilisation can be continued and hopefully saved.

The Road

‘There’s literally nowhere to go, no sense in going, just the inexorable impulse to move.’ Ron Charles, Washington Post

There are several points within The Road which particularly stood out to me in regards to being an apocalyptic text of its time.
The fact that McCarthy does not mention the reason behind the apocalypse in intriguing as many apocalyptic texts are a way of reflecting current social fears, i.e. nuclear war, climate change etc. There is no names of people, places etc which gives the book a peculiar sense of simplicity. In this regards The Road it truly unique, being unlike many apocalyptic texts. It seems to be more focused about a father and son relationship than the end of the world. This is also reflected in the film, with there being very little CGI and special effects.

Throughout the book and film the reader sympathises with the man and boy’s situation, hanging on to their dignity by trying to live as ‘good’ people (i.e. not robbing or resorting to cannibalism) and “carrying the fire.” However as the book goes on we see how the man becomes more un-hero likes, becoming more like a savage. He kills and robs the stranger (who had previously taken their belongings) and leaves him for dead. Ron Charles states in a Washington Post article ‘…metaphysical challenge of sustaining his son's innate goodness while forcing him to witness the corruption of all moral behaviour.’

When the boy fins the coke can (possibly the last coke can in the world) the father wants him to drink it all and the boy responds by saying “it’s because I won’t ever get to drink another one isn’t it?” Coke is one of the most iconic American products which people take for granted. Yet in the book, the boy has never heard of such a thing. Is this the death of consumerism/capitalism? No material items matter any more (apart from the gun which is key to their survival). The global business empires which thrived in America (coca-cola) have been ruined.

Yet the book and film ends with a glimmer of hope, despite the father dying. We see a family take the boy (suggested that they will live together happily). The boy is kind and wants to help others. However this somewhat goes against the running theme of the book, which is depressing and suggestive that there is little hope left in the world (reinforced with the mother killing herself and wanting to take the boy with her). The realistic ending would result in the boy being captured by the cannibals. We see how mankind would act in situations of severe desperation. Some turn to committing un-speak able atrocities, many simply give up (the mother and Ely), whilst the youngest person in the book manages to keep strong and ‘do the right thing’.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Earth Abides

Stewart's book offers an interesting insight into the possibilities of an apocalypse, and the reasons behind its occurrence. Apocalypse fictions often reflect societal fears of the time, with the fear of the end of humanity Earth Abides begins explaining how when a species becomes so widespread and powerful that nature culls it to keep the balance. 1949 with humans spread accross the world, the recent end of WWII and the Chinese Red Army conquering neighbouring provinces, this fear of over-expansion and fighting for control could be seen to be reflected in Stewart's idea of nature taking back control.

The biblical and tribal references that the story evokes are interesting, looking at the portrayal of females as predominantly a means for procreation, using names such as mary and evie, offering a relation to religion. The book also looks at the problems arising post-apocalypse in the seperate religions of members of the tribe, this is interesting when it results in Ish attempting to get everyone together to preserve some kind of religious idea through the tribes own interpretations.

The new names of years, similar to that of the chinese calander, offer an insight into how Ish has drawn on knowlege and memory of societies previous to the apocalypse, to create his own idea of how to build again, though his interest lies more in education and a necessity for intelligence to recreate a prominant society, rather than merely a hunter gather instict to stay alive. His wish to rebuild civilisation, as opposed to simply existing stems from the early reliance on pre-apocalypse relics, wishing to create a society that can progress itself as opposed to post-apocalypse stagnation.

The problems arising with Ish and Charlie show how even post-apocalypse human nature will inevitably lead to non-harmonious struggle of the 'oppression of the individual by the mass', Ish desrcibes as the 'beginnings of war and tyrrany.'

Stewart's book is very in depth, looking at multiple problems ariving in a post-apocalyptic society, as well as being enjoyable to read.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Earth abides

The book Earth Abides, was a interesting read, with many issues involved, it was never dull.
Elizabeth Wells writes "Christian drama of world destruction and resurrection and inso doing encodes popular fears about the end of the world, and more importantly what follows it"

The book is based on a typical apocalyptic setting of the ruins of San Francisco,this book which was written in 1949, was in the era when women were second best to men, made to marry, bear children and nurture then, and they have to stay a virgin until they marry.

The novel shows that this issue still exists, with Evie not allowed to give birth because the tribe only wants strong genes in the future world. The only female who may break free from this female status, is Emma who is the "Eve" (mother of the tribe) and Ish would be nothing without her.

The tribe is stuck in the old ways of the norm America, such as driving, which they even felt uneasy about going through red lights. But Ish is adamant that they should start a fresh new beginning, taking the leadership role, Ish who believes that education is the answer for a better society, which came from his passion as a student while doing research and his life and death experienced, for example the snake bit which lead passers by to believe he had the virus.

The animals, did not receive the virus and have gone back to be able to do as they please with nature returning back to the beginning. With nature returning the Americans in time decide the money, clothes and materials are not necessary, using money as arrow heads, although while going back to the basic, it is obvious that they have become suspicious of the unknown and when Charlie arrives from an unknown area, the tribe especially Ish who has an instant dislike to him becomes uneasy about him - leads the tribe to execute him through no fault of his own, introducing the negative parts of the old society.

In the end it is obvious that the world is a powerful thing and that man is not needed for its survival, the aftermath of the event leads the tribe to go back to the more western days of living off the land.

"Men go and come, but earth abides."

The book was both interesting and enjoyable.
The themes that resonated for me was the portrayal of earth as a controlling organic being, that humans are no one privileged then anything in nature. This is the thought also of Ish who believes this as well. The book also shows how the actual earth would cope with the lack of humans. It is portrayed that it would be beautiful without them. Without anyone controlling the production of plants and cultivating them they will develop themselves into live like plants. The novel cleverly portrays the idea that intelligence and survival in terms of academia is one that is created by humans. Without the means to education humans learn coping skills better and with the lack of numbers of humans’ means that the most important skill is to be able to survive, this is our original purpose and Stewart puts this idea across well.
The area I Felt the novel lost the impact of its point was using biblical referencing. I found this book review that back up the feeling I had whilst reading it.

the dual themes are as old as Genesiss...Not a flood but a swift and deadly new disease wipes out all but a few of the human race. Ish (for "Isherwood") is the Noah of this "Great Disaster." As material civilization begins to crumble, Ish gradually devolves into a kind of Adam who, inevitably, finds his Eve, Em (For "Emma"), a level-headed lady with Negro blood, and nature takes its time-worn course. Em. is hailed by Ish as "The Mother of Nations.

Making the story biblical is important in order to reach the reader at the time as religion played a strong part of the lives of readers, so in terms of making the message more effected it is justified.

Earth Abides

I very much enjoyed the book Earth Abides.
The book deals with the topic of post-apocalyptic America very well, introducing a variety of issues that I have not given thought to before. For example there was a fairly heavy focus on animal and wild life. This area is not generally given much attention in apocalyptic texts, and I found it to be interesting and realistic. We see how nature begins to reclaim the land, and given time, everything humans worked for is destroyed and reclaimed by nature. This is a running theme through many post apocalyptic texts, showing images of collapsed buildings or skyscrapers covered in wild life (The Road and I Am Legend). However the book also makes reference to how many things will die or fail to function properly without the presence of man. Fires lay waste to the country side, animals are free to wipe out other species and certain plants will not have the ability to live.
It’s interesting to see that the survivors at first lived like scavengers and despite all the talk of building a new civilisation, continued to live off ‘old world’ luxuries, until circumstances forced them to act. This shows how the tribe are longing for their old life styles back, never truly accepting the circumstances which they are in.

We see that Ish is almost obsessed with the idea that for civilisation to start over there is a need for education. In many apocalyptic texts we see there ‘hero’ as being a strong and determined man, with little focus being on his education. With Ish however we see that he is dependant on ‘Joey’ being able to learn and ultimately lead the tribe into a new era of civilisation “Only by the power of intelligence, Ish believed firmly, had man kind ever risen to civilisation”

Two major topics struck me towards the end of the book, firstly the encounter with Charlie. This echoes the notion which lies deeply embedded within American life of ‘the fear of the outsider’. “But what raised the worst shivers in Ish at such moments in the night was the thought of men”
This subject crops up all throughout American history and is now reflected in the book. Ish is no longer scared of animals or weather problems, but of a man who has come from an unknown place. This fear ultimately escalates to the execution of Charlie, showing basic human savage nature. “And now the first act of the state, its originating function, had been to bring death.”
The harshness of the community is also reflected in the discussions about Evie as well as other outsiders, stating that they are too dumb or mentally ill, and should not taint the tribe’s gene pool.

The second point was how the new tribe (at the end of the book), greatly resembled that of the Native Americans. They have animal skin clothing, the start of a new language etc. It also reflects how insignificant money is in the long run, as they use old dimes and pennies for arrow heads, which are scattered everywhere.

Finally I thought the book was almost a critique on the wastefulness of the American lifestyle. Early on it describes how there was no need to re use anything, as you can just pick up a new one. This reflects current consumer attitudes.

Earth Abides

After reading Earth Abides, as a novel, I really did enjoy it, and a common theme I am finding throughout this text and other post apocalypse stories is how ‘Men go and come, but earth abides’ (a quote which Stewart uses to open and close his novel) this makes an agreed suggestion that the human race is just a guest on this planet, and so greater natural forces like disease can easily be the end of humanity as well as self destruction via nuclear war as you see in such tales like The Road. It’s quite interesting that this book isn’t about a post nuclear holocaust as the time it was written World War 2 was just ending and The Cold War was just beginning. With the memory of humanity still being all around the survivors, the last Americans continue their new life using the old means of their past life. Living in houses, driving in cars, eating cans of food and using electricity and plumbing in their everyday lives still. It’s only until these things fail with time and old age gets the better of most of the original tribe that a more primitive life begins, suggesting the last Americans were clinging onto the American lifestyle even after its demise. The use of coins as the arrow heads during the last chapter suggest that important luxuries in our time such as money is worthless to the younger members of the tribe, coins are just seen as metal with other purposes than of what was intended.
This book being published in 1949 shows its time via the treatment of women throughout the novel. Women being seen as only the mother would be quite sexist in this day and age, but Em’s character being the source of strength and confidence to Ish throughout the years and also, the importance of repopulating their small tribe gives women an equal role in their small society. The only character which has dated attributes is Evie, who is never given the chance to have children due to them not wanting to repopulate “half witted” children into their Tribe.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dawn of the Dead

Dawn Of The Dead (2004).

This film offers an interesting idea of the end of civilisation, "When there's no room left in hell, the dead will walk the earth". it's not an infection to be cured, such as in I Am Legend, and 28 Days/Weeks later, but instead showing the demise of humanity because we are so terrible that hell is full.

Harper and Bishop definately make a persuasive argument about the relation to the negativity of consumerism. Using the mall as a last stand, fighting for control, and with the quote, "its not us, its the place", shows how the film relates consumerism to the downfall of society and humanity. The baby born as a mindless zombie into an environment of consumer culture, the mall, shows how consumerism is viewed as a perpetuating downward spiral.

Selfishness and survival also come into play as important themes in the characters traits. The struggling together idea to overcome the obsticles is fought over on both sides, with characters such as Steve and CJ only being concerned with selfish self-preservation, and Anna, Kenneth, and Michael always trying to help others.

The failure for everything to be fixed in the end shows how the film views the problems of society as ongoing, there is no escape or immediate answer correcting everything, mmaking this a slightly different apocalypse film. Unlike pre-apocalypse films, the devastation is not averted, and with post-apocalypse films such as Terminator Salvation you see how humans can win in the end. Dawn of the Dead just shows the apocalypse as it unfolds with no answer to resolving it.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dawn of the Dead

Watching the movie i did not find it like most apocalyptic films which are aimed at more destruction by reading what Stephen Harper and Kyle Bishop had written, it was clear that this film was made with a message behind it. The metaphor of this 2004 remake film is primarily Consumerism, that we have in some respects as Bishop comments has been brainwashed throughout life to buy the "in thing' on the market. The Mall being the main metaphor for consumerism, one being why would both zombies and surververs go to the same place? because as Harper quotes "its not us they're after, it the place. They remember that they want to be here" it is an instinct a place were people go all the time. in the film you see them shopping around for example baby clothes, like it is any other day. The baby is also another metaphor one of which is very strong, that no matter how hard society tries, 'mindless zombies' to consumerism will caring on being born, in some dawrting sense that the hold that consumerism has on humans will not subside, which shows when even in survival mode, they think of shopping, which will do them no good in the future. as Bishops states " the end of the world means the end of consumerism" which is obvious that at the end, the survivors are still not out of danger because the world needs to stop to start a new world where the consumerism debate is no more.

One other metaphor would be something that is linked to America quite strongly, 'paranoia' in Bishops essay it states that "paranoia becomes almost as important as survival" where people hide their bites so that they can stay alive a little bit longer, that they can not even trust their family or friends, because they may choose their lives first and kill them. This metaphor indicates that as consumerism life is a very competitive system and that people are out for themselves not each other, this film represents consumerism in many angles making one think that the film had a secret agenda of it own to its audience.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Week 2 - Dawn of the Dead

As a movie, I found the remake to be quite enjoyable but fairly predictible, but it wasn't until after I read Steven Harper's essay that I saw how it actually is a prime example of the Consumerism Debate rather than just a movie.
I especially agreed with the idea that the Zombie race isn't much different to that of our own, that we're just mindless sheep, following the leader for the latest must have purchase, but instead of brains, our race is after the latest iPhone. This is just one example of many which indicate humanity is living a consumer driven life.

In the majority of horror films, there is always a happy ending, showing how the family got over their tough time and is now happily living their lives. Yet at the end of Dawn of the Dead it shows that there is no escape from the Zombies no matter where you run (or in their case, sail) to. I feel this was a metaphor to life today with the recent arguement of climate change bringing an upcoming doom on society, suggesting there is no escape from the damage we have done to this planet and humanity will reap the repercussions of their actions.

Week 1 - Terminator Series.

First off, apologies for this being so late.

Here is the wiki link for a brief background on all four films :

I have chosen the Terminator series as my Apocolyptic text because it shows the world both before and after the apocolypse throughout it's movies. Although the background story is how humans defeat the machines in the very end (therefore cyborgs are sent back into the past to change the timeline to prevent the future distruction of their empire) I feel it tells a strong tale of the selfishness of humanity, how always striving for the bigger and better will lead to their downfall in a cataclysmic manner. This is seen at the end of the third movie 'Rise of the Machines' showing how Skynet ( the artificial intelligence which leads the machines) destroy's much of humanity in a nuclear holocaust.

On the other hand, it tells the tale of how nature will alway prevail. In this case of an apocolypse, our buildings, cars and computers may all be destroyed, but plants and animals (including the human race) will adapt and evolve to live life in a new world.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dawn of the Dead

I feel this film is still a metaphor for consumerism.

Everyone would enjoy having the opportunity to be alone in a mall, doing anything you wish. This is seen during the film when the survivors start to enjoy themselves, breaking the rules of the mall which under normal circumstances would have controlled them, by smoking, drinking, spray painting the walls, trying new clothes and even making a sex tape. The mall provides a sanctuary from the zombies, (the song ‘Don’t Worry be Happy’ was playing in the background when they first entered) allowing the survivors to relax and do as they wish. Harper states “the survivors create a shopping utopia for themselves, a place where they can temporarily ignore the threat of the zombies.”
The zombies are drawn to the mall for an unknown reason and it’s suggested that it’s due to some form of basic instinct. It also suggests a soulless consumption.

I liked Harper’s comparison of DOTD to teen dramas (which are the more tradition films to be set in a mall) such as Clueless.

The remake also conveys how death has become a game, through the scenes where the gun shop owner shoots the celebrity look-a-like zombies. It is a sick game in which he is allowed to effectively shoot people without repercussions, somewhat fulfilling some deep seeded fantasy.

I feel the film is a good demonstration of how our lives are dominated by such pointless, material goods. The mall is full of brand new merchandise, however virtually all of it is worthless to the survivors. When faced with death, one realises that materialistic items are insignificant. The film boils down to being about life vs. death and order vs. chaos (seen when they escape the chaotic outdoors and enter the clam and tranquil mall). We see the death of civilisation and order.

Many apocalyptic films end with a glimmer of hope for the human race, and show how humans always prevail. However with DOTD the remaining survivors, after battling against the odds, are met with more zombies and ultimately death. I feel in recent times this have become more common with films, damning the human race, saying there is no hope for humanity.


"I've always felt that the real horror is next door to us, that the scariest monsters are our neighbors," filmmaker George A. Romero said in an interview with Barnes & Noble.com. "It's been a theme throughout my work--to bring the horror into our own homes, to fill the stories with brand names that we all use, beers that we like to drink, streets that look like our own."

This sums up for me the themes of reason for film such as Dawn of the dead. It expresses the idea that we all know that scarier things happen in daily life however filmmakers use themes such as zombies to mystify a reality that films can be more scary then life. By bringing the modern version of Dawn of the dead to show in the remake it shows the modern capitalist society through its new motifs such as consumerism. The interpretation that Kyle Bishop has about the use of Zombies in American culture is agreeable. I found this quote simply sums up the use of American zombie ideas best. "Historically, zombie cinema had always represented a stylized reaction to cultural consciousness".This perpetuates the idea that whatever issues are within American cultures there will be a zombie film to match, for the American people to still believe there is worse to come.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Week 1...The Mist

I have chosen the film The Mist, a 2007 film directed by Frank Darabont (original story by Stephen King). The main story focuses around a group of survivors which have barricaded themselves in a supermarket, hiding from the mist that has engulfed the town, bringing with it a variety of aliens/monsters. The films main focus is not the physical attack of the aliens, or the destruction they cause, but the affect they have on the survivors. The film is set in small town America and the viewer never fully knows if the ‘mist’ has affected the entire world, but you are lead to assume so.

The film convincingly displays the break down of the social hierarchy and order when faced with extreme, life threatening circumstances. We see that fear soon turns people on each other, and the significance of religion becomes a lot more prominent. One ‘preacher’ manages to convert the majority of the survivors into believing that they are experiencing the ‘end of days’. This leads to fights and even murder (or sacrifices) and makes the viewer feel that its people, more than aliens, that we should fear.

We also see an unconventional approach in that the one woman who does not listen to the ‘hero’ and does her own thing actually survives and manages to save her family. In the majority of apocalypse films, the hero is always right and manages to save the day, however in the mist he makes awful decisions that result in the deaths of many characters.

Toward the end of the film we see how the American army has managed to organise a counter attack and destroy the aliens/mist. I feel this is a running theme through many apocalyptic films, especially those dealing with alien invasion.
Whilst this film is unconventional in its approach to the genre, I feel it is n excellent apocalyptic film, especially when looking at the human, emotional side.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Tribe is a apocalyptic television series, created by Raymond Thompson and Harry Duffin, it is a typical apocalyptic theme where they use a Shopping Mall a their main scene setting. It is mostly aimed at teenagers around the age 8-17. The story line to this series is about a deadly virus that wipes out all the adults in the world, leaving the children and young adults to defend for themselves, which is chaos, they form Tribes to try and survive but it is not easy with food supplies running out and different Tribes wanting different things for the new world, for example power, peace or just to live. The Tribes have names, different clothing and makeup to show their loyalties to their Tribe.

I choose this apocalyptic series because from every day life of school, work and shopping, children have to live without their parents and the live with the everyday’s worries of teenage hood. This series is interesting as it goes from the modern world to living off the land, rebuilding their lives from scratch with no technology, guns, laws. With the dangers of power ridden Tribes who are only out to destroy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Apocalypse Nerd

Apocalypse Nerd is a series of comic books based on two 'average' men who survive the Apocalypse. The story followers their adaption to survival. The comics makes fun out of the inabilities of modern society when it comes to survival. At the end of each comic there is a section about the Founding fathers of America and satires what they tried to achieve.

This comic is aimed at adults though it is not rude or sexual. It shows that the idea of the Apocalypse ending is entertaining for adults. The way in which the comic uses the founding fathers as satire also reflects the idea that America has brought on its own ending, by the way in which it was founded. On the idea of the City on a hill and individualism. This will also ultimately be its downfall, as shown by the comic books.

Monday, February 15, 2010

First post

For your first posting, following our first session, please select any American text (book, film, TV, comic book) and justify your choice as "apocalyptic"