Best apocalyptic and post apocalyptic movies and TV series (part 2)

You can read part 1 here.

This is part 2 of  a list of movies and TV shows that (in my humble opinion are the best) in the apocalyptic and post apocalyptic genres. This is based on personal preference and nothing more.

A word of warning: like in part 1, some of the movies here include gore and splatter. Where applicable, and depending on how I perceive something as containing extensive gore or not (very subjective), I’ll note it, but understand that this is based on how I see things. If you’re sensitive about this, read some of the reviews first or watch the trailer to get an idea of the feel and mood before you start watching it.

As always, the movies are in no particular order other than the way they came to my mind.

Children of men (2006)

This is the second movie of the entire list that depicts desolation and bleakness in the best way possible. Children of Men is based on the novel with the same title by P. D. James written in 1992. I’ve read the book while researching for my own post apocalyptic novel, The Darkening, and even though I am a writer and I loved P. D. James’s book, I have to admit that I absolutely adored the movie and prefer it to the book.

Much like the book, the movie takes place in the not too distant future and deals with the aftermath of an epidemic that has rendered the human race infertile and about to be extinct. The movie explores the bleakness and the finality of a doomed species, and how hard it is to maintain a semblance of order as the entire societal structure collapses along with the will to live and carry on. Just so we’re clear, this is an apocalyptic movie, not a post apocalyptic. The hero is tasked with helping a refugee reach a safe place, and is only told that the refugee must survive no matter what. Watch it because Clive Owen plays wonderfully here. Watch it because, as a post apocalypse fan, you like the bleakness and hopelessness that this movie shows. Expect mild violence and an overall feeling of depression to overwhelm you. This is my all time favourite post apocalyptic movie!

Buy it from Amazon

Blindness (2008)

Blindness is an apocalyptic movie that deals with how humans will most likely act once civilisation crumbles, or when placed in a confined space with no set rules or laws to regulate life and every day activities.

A strange epidemic causes people to lose their sight, which consequently brings the collapse of civilisation. The movie follows a group of people placed in quarantine in an old mental institution and their struggle for power and dominance. One of those quarantined still has her sight and witnesses everything that’s been happening to them. It’s up to her to lead a group of survivors outside and keep them safe from a second group who have turned violent against those who can’t defend themselves. It doesn’t take long for their jail to descend into chaos. Expect some violence.

Buy it from Amazon

The Day (2011)

Expect some gore with this one. This movie has gone unnoticed by a lot of people. Maybe this was due to a low budget. It’s a post apocalyptic movie that takes place primarily in a farmhouse (low budget, remember?) and the surrounding area, where a group of five people seek shelter, food, and some rest, since one of their own is sick. As they search the house for food, they activate a trap set by the cannibals who control the region. This is when things really start to worsen. Like many movies before, it also focuses on the question of how far humans would go to survive and how much that survival would come at a cost of their humanity. The setting is exactly as it should be (bleak and grey) and helps the viewer experience the aftermath of the apocalypse. Expect violence and some gore. I wish people had paid more attention to this movie, despite its low budget and the lack of big movie stars (though I’m sure a lot of you will recognise at least two of the actors).

Buy it from Amazon

The Divide (2011)

I’m going to say it right out: expect excessive amounts of violence and gore. This is a very graphic movie not meant for kids or even teens. You will need to have a rather strong stomach for this one.

Having said that, it is probably one of the best apocalyptic movies, not because of the stellar script (it’s anything but stellar or original, since it has a few cliches here and there, some plot points feel as if they were rushed, and a few plot holes), but for the very strong performances. If only it wasn’t as graphic, then people might appreciate it more.

The movie takes place immediately after a nuclear strike on a major city. A few residents of one of the buildings make it to the basement where they seal themselves and supposedly wait the whole thing out. But, as is expected when a lot of people are gathered in a small space and there are hardly enough supplies to go around, things get out of control pretty fast. In this case, a little too fast. “Hell is other people,” one reviewer said about this movie and they were right! Like many other movies of the genre, The Divide also shows the viewer how far humans could go to survive and how easy it is to lose ourselves and become savage.

Again, this is not a movie for the faint of heart or for young viewers.

Buy it from Amazon

Hidden (2015)

Hidden is a post apocalyptic horror film that, for the most part, takes place in a basement (anyone who has read my own The Darkening should be able to see a pattern here as well as with The Divide and other movies in this list).

The world has been ravaged by a viral outbreak that has turned humans into monsters. A family of three (father, mother, and daughter) have taken refuge in a basement from those they call the Breathers, and have turned the cramped basement into home. They have set several rules to make their life easier and to help as much as possible with the situation. Up to that point, the monsters outside (the Breathers) have been actively hunting the family but have never managed to find them. However, accidents happen and things turn ugly after a while. The movie starts slowly, and it may even bore you at first, but don’t judge it hastily. It will pay you off later when we learn more about what has happened.

Expect some violence, some heightened heartbeats (after all, this is a thriller/horror movie), and yes some depressing feelings.

Buy it from Amazon

These Final Hours (2013)

You’d be surprised at how much this film can affect and move you in the end. This is an apocalyptic movie, though to be honest, it takes place a few hours before the apocalypse strikes the area where the protagonists are. I wonder if there’s a term for something that happens moments before the apocalypse strikes, like pre-apocalypse? Prepocalypse…?

Anyway, an asteroid has hit the Earth, giving twelve hours of life for the heroes before the coming firestorm reaches them at the other side of the planet. Unlike the previous films, there are no confined spaces here. The hero wants to go to the party-to-end-all-parties but on the way there, he encounters a little girl, who is about to be raped. The hero saves the girl, and she tells him that she wants to find her father. Throughout the movie the two form a strong bond that will help the hero understand a few things about himself. There’s some violence, some nudity, a lot of feelings of redemption, and you can’t help but cheer for the two main characters. Don’t let that fool you, it’s still a depressing movie that borrows bitter-sweet elements from movies like The Road (just borrows though, and only a couple of elements–you’ll know once you make it all the way to the end).

Buy it from Amazon

Jericho (2006 – 2008)

Ah, my favourite post apocalyptic show. Cancelled, unfortunately 🙁 but still a great show to watch. Oh, and for the record, technically speaking, though the show was cancelled, the creators have given an end to the events with two more seasons of comic book series.

As a TV show without the time constraints found on movies (I’m sick and tired of movies lasting only 90-100 minutes!), Jericho deals more with the social dynamics of a community (the town of Jericho) in the aftermath of a nuclear attack, rather than dealing with hardcore survival and going to the extreme to accomplish that. As such, it is much milder with hardly any violent scenes that you haven’t already seen in nearly every TV show out there.

Nuclear explosions have devastated several of the major US cities, leaving the inhabitants of Jericho cut off from the outside world. When they manage to establish communications and an economy system with a neighbouring town, they end up in a bloody conflict with them. As is expected with TV shows, we learn bits and pieces of each character’s background and how they all tie in with the situation at hand. And we also start getting glimpses of what has actually happened and who was behind the attacks.

Buy it from Amazon

Season 1, Season 2

The Walking Dead (2010-still on air as of this writing)

You thought I had forgotten this one, didn’t you? Well, my personal dislike for most anything zombie related, this show has a massive following. So I couldn’t help but include it. After all, it is a good show.

The Walking Dead is based on a comic book series, if I’m not mistaken. The show starts off with a sheriff waking up from a coma, after being shot in the line of duty, and finding himself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. After the shock of waking up surrounded by walking corpses passes, he sets off to find his family. Eventually he ends up leading a group of survivors and with them he travels the country in search of food and safety. However, living in a world overrun by zombies takes its toll, not only to the number of survivors that make it alive after each episode, but also to what those survivors are willing to do to carry on living. You can expect a great deal of interpersonal conflict (as is the case with most TV shows of this kind) that sometimes may end up being just as bad as facing the zombie horde. Constant exposure to death and danger changes everyone and the same is true for the heroes of this show. Expect mild horror scenes and some chilling encounters with zombies early on. Nothing over the top, nothing you won’t get used to over the course of the show, and certainly nothing that should deter you from watching it.

Buy it from Amazon

Season 1, season 2, season 3, season 4, season 5, season 6, season, 7, season 8, season 9.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

I saved the best for the end. The last entry of this two-part list is a comedy. Yes, a comedy, and I left it for the end in an attempt to cheer you up a bit. Shaun of the Dead is a British movie set in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. The movie follows Shaun, who is having a rather bad day. His girlfriend has left him and he is sharing his place with his best friend. So he decides to turn his life around. The only problem is, he decided to do it at the worst time possible: when zombies are running (or shuffling) rampant in the streets.

Expect a lot of laughter from two very talented British actors caught up in some pretty comical situations. A must-see movie!

Buy it from Amazon

And that’s it. I hope you enjoyed reading this list. Naturally, the movies and TV shows mentioned here are some of my personal favourites. I’m sure there are other movies and shows out there that I either forgot to mention or haven’t seen. Feel free to comment with your choices.

Best apocalyptic and post apocalyptic movies and TV series (part 1)

First of all, I’d like to set the score straight and make a clear distinction between dystopia and post apocalypse, because apparently a lot of people mistake the two. Dystopia deals with issues that emerge from a society that has gone wrong but carries on. It could deal with social dynamics or other related issues, but society still exists and so does civilisation.

Apocalypse and post apocalypse have the end of the world and the end of civilisation at their core and the difficulties the main characters have to face to survive in those worlds. The difference between the two is that apocalyptic scenarios show the end of the world as it’s happening and how this affects the lives of people. Also, the conflict these people face between what is morally accepted (remember, civilisation is collapsing, but it hasn’t gone completely). On the other hand, post apocalypse deals with the aftermath of the apocalypse. That may include new social dynamics (if any) and often the complete lack of a moral code. One key element is the often bleak and desolate state of the world (meaning the cities) after the end has come. To a certain extent (and depending on how the story evolves and what the focus of the story is) this version of post apocalypse may include dystopian elements in it.

So, now that we are clear about the difference, below is a list of movies and some TV shows that are apocalyptic or post apocalyptic. The list is focused on the movies and shows that stood out for me. By no means does it mean it’s complete.

Be warned, some of the movies include gore and splatter. Where applicable, and depending on how I perceive something as containing extensive gore or not (very subjective), I’ll note it, but understand that this is only personal preference. If you’re sensitive about this, read some of the reviews first or watch the trailer to get an idea of the feel and mood of the movie before you start watching it.

The movies are in no particular order other than the way they came to my mind.

Book of Eli (2010)

The movie takes place in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event that turned the planet into a wasteland. The main hero carries with him a book that can save what’s left of humanity, and goes west to a supposedly safe location to deliver said book. Watch the movie for its post apocalyptic scenery. Watch it for Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman. Watch it for the twist in Eli’s story. Watch it if you love post apocalyptic settings. Hardly any gore involved, if my memory serves me.

Buy it from Amazon

The postman (1997)

The movie (like others in this list) is based on the 1985 novel by David Brin, The Postman. In the movie, the apocalypse happened as a result of various consecutive apocalyptic events (societal breakdown, wars, plagues) which eventually destroyed most of the technology that existed up to that point. The main hero accidentaly stumbles upon the uniform of a postman and his vehicle, and as he drifts across the wasteland, he starts inspiring those he meets with the promise of a Reformed United States of America. Watch it if you enjoy Kevin Costner’s movies. I believe Tom Petty appears in the movie too. Watch it, because wasteland + post apocalypse = awesome. Don’t expect to see the best movie ever, though. Hardly any gore involved.

Buy it from Amazon

Waterworld (1995)

Set in the distant future, this post apocalyptic movie deals with the issue of the melting polar ice caps. Most of the planet’s land mass is underwater, and our main hero drifts the oceans on his boat. At some point he has to save a girl and her guardian, because the girl has a map tattooed on her back that supposedly leads to dry land. Watch it if you’re a Kevin Costner fan. Watch it because Dennis Hopper is always an awesome actor. Like the postman, don’t expect to see a masterpiece. Personally, I prefer the dry wasteland setting than the wet equivalent. Hardly any gore involved.

Buy it from Amazon

The 100 (2014-still on air as of this writing)

This post apocalyptic TV show is based on the novel series, The 100, by Kass Morgan. Set approximately a century after a nuclear holocaust ravaged Earth and destroyed all human civilisation, the remaining humanity has survived on a massive space station that has been in orbit since. But the station is in a bad condition and, given the severity of the rules that have been imposed on the survivors, those in charge send 100 young individuals (with some authority issues) on the planet in an attempt to repopulate the planet and of course get rid of them. What these one hundred youths find down there is something no one has expected.

Watch it because the characters are actually well-fleshed. Watch it because despite what you may think, it’s actually quite gritty and the characters have often a lot of hard choices to make. Lots of people die, but not in the scale of GoT. Despite that, you never know which one of the leading characters will meet a tragic ending at some point. What I don’t like about the show is how they expected 100 individuals to be enough to repopulate Earth. If you’re into biology, please comment and tell us if 100 people are enough as a Minimum Viable Population for the human species to survive. Not much gore involved in this show.

Watch it on Netflix

Mad max 2 (1981) aka Road Warrior

Am I the only one who thinks this movie set the standard for post apocalypse and wastelands? As far as I’m concerned, Mad Max 2 is the best of the entire franchise. Set in the not too distant future, civilisation has pretty much vanished. One lone drifter and hardened survivor, constantly fighting for his life and surviving at any cost, rediscovers (in a way) his lost humanity by helping the residents of a small settlement against a band of rather fearsome and bloodthirsty raiders. Watch it if you like to see how much the post apocalyptic genre has evolved over the years. Watch it because it’s a good movie, and because it’s Mad Max. Expect to see violence, but nothing over the top.

Buy it from Amazon

The road (2009)

One of the two movies here that show the absolute desolation of an apocalyptic or post apocalyptic world in the best way possible. Based on the post apocalyptic novel by Cormac McCarty (2006), The Road explores the strong bonds between a father and his son as they make their way south through a desolate wasteland in search of warmer climate. The reason for the apocalypse is never fully explained, but the situation is bad and hopeless enough for the heroes to have to carry a gun with two bullets; one for each. Together, they have to go through starvation, cannibals, thieves, and other bad characters, but the most important thing about this movie is that it often questions who the bad people are and how blurry the lines between good and evil can be. Watch it because it’s an amazing movie. Watch it because it captures the desolation and human depravity in situations like these. While you’re at it, read the book! It’s just as good (if not better), and one of the books that influenced me while writing The Darkening, my post apocalyptic horror novel. Not much gore in this movie, but don’t be surprised if you cry at some points.

Buy it from Amazon

Mad Max 1 (1979)

The second best Mad Max movie (in my humble opinion), Mad Max 1 shows the early stages of the fall of human civilisation, so unlike the second instalment where everything has been destroyed, this movie shows that there are still some leftovers (police, houses, moral code etc) of what one could attribute to be the foundations of any civilisation. Vengeance is the prevalent theme of this apocalyptic movie, and if seeing a fictional character going on a killing spree is not your cup of tea, then be advised. Nothing excessively graphic or anything like that, but don’t expect the movie to be all about happy endings and superficial injuries. Also, keep in mind that this was a very low budget Australian film, so don’t expect fancy graphics and special effects.

Buy it from Amazon

The Rover (2014)

This apocalyptic movie has gone relatively unnoticed, even though it was nominated for a few awards (not Academy Awards). The setting is the aftermath of a global economic collapse and shares a couple of things with Mad Max. First, it’s also an Australian film, and second it deals a lot with road rage and revenge. The main hero, after having his last possession stolen (his car), pursues the men who took it. He manages to capture of the thieves’ brother and together they progress through a rather dangerous journey, despite the uneasy bond and conflict between them. The movie has plenty of violence.

Buy it from Amazon

You can find part 2 here.

Best wishes for Christmas

I want to wish you all a happy holiday and Merry Christmas! Whatever you do, I hope you get to spend the festive period surrounded by the people you love and love you, doing all the things that give meaning to your lives!!

And myself?

I’ll be spending it with my family, trying hard to relax and stressing as little as possible with work related things.

I have noticed a serious decline in my productivity the past few months, which I believe is a direct result of me working non-stop for the past 3-4 years (including summers). My prediction for 2019 is that it will be a difficult and stressful year for me, so I have decided to take some much needed vacation. The plan is to abstain from all writing activities from Christmas day (which is also my nameday, so if you remember to wish me Happy Nameday, I will respond with a thank you message) until January 2, or January 6 (depending on how fast my internal batteries will recharge).

Whatever you do, however you do it, have fun and enjoy yourselves!

10 things you’ll need to survive the apocalypse

It’s been a month since my debut post-apocalyptic horror novel, The Darkening, hit the electronic and physical shelves (you can check it out here and here), and I’ve been looking into things that one should do to survive an apocalyptic event. Now, a few months back, I wrote a list with the 10 post apocalyptic scenarios most possible to happen. Inspired from these, I thought I should come up with a list of things one should do to be prepared for such an event.

Please note, though I have written a post apocalyptic novel, that does not mean I am a prepper, or that I have done or tried any of the following things. So don’t take my word for any of these. You see, I’m more like this:

Keep in mind that everything depends on the type of the apocalypse you’ll be dealing with, however, there are a few things that will prove helpful no matter what the scenario is. With the following list, I tried to take into account as many different scenarios as possible.

1. A satchel or backpack

Imagine this: something catastrophic happened a couple of days ago on the other side of the planet. The effects spread rapidly and are not too far away from where you live. Others have seen it too and are acting accordingly.

The local infrastructure is already ruined because… panic, and from whatever the effects of the apocalypse may be. You’re going to have to leave, but you should take some items with you. No, grocery store bags are not ideal for something like this. You need something to carry your gear, and it had better be something that will last you a long time. Bug out bags, as they’re often called, are lightweight and can carry provisions and items that you will need for the first couple of days. Some of them come pre-stocked with items like water purification tablets and other useful items. Make sure you keep it somewhere handy, and that its provisions have not expired.

2. Knife

This one should be pretty self-explanatory. Skin your food, hunt, or defend yourself out there. In an apocalyptic scenario, you’re not going to be the only survivor (hopefully). However, usually, when things get really ugly and resources necessary for survival become too scarce, people tend to look after themselves. Survival instincts and desperation kicks in. What you have and I don’t, I can try taking it from you. So make sure you keep your knife sharp.

3. Stormproof matches

I don’t know about you, but I suck at lighting fires. And I don’t mean trying to light a fire out there in the wilderness (Chris and the wild don’t mix together, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post). I’m talking about trying to get a fire going in a fireplace. If you’re like me, and for some reason you have yet to master evolutionary basics, like getting a fire going in a warm, summer day for a barbecue, imagine how much harder it will be to light a fire when it’s raining outside your shelter, you’re miserable, cold, and drenched to the bone from hunting the foul beast of Caerbannog in the rain.

Your hands are shaking. You strike the match, and just as it lights up, a gust of wind puts it out. Meanwhile, you’re still freezing, and you’re also one match shorter than before. Still no fire. Bet now you wish you had bought stormproof matches, huh?

4. Flint and steel

Eventually your stormproof matches will run out. Then what? Well, time to go old school. Flint and steel. I’ll leave the pros do the talking for this one, so watch the videos and mimic them.

If you want to know more about how to start a fire, you can check this site out. Please don’t do it in the middle of forests or in your homes, m’kay? This knowledge should only be used in case of emergency.

5. Flashlight

We take electricity for granted nowadays. Just over a century and a half ago, in some places, the streets at night were dark, and unless the sky was clear and the moon big enough to shine, you couldn’t see where you were going. Modern power grid requires constant monitoring and maintenance, so if an apocalyptic situation occurs and civilisation collapses around you, the power will be one of the first things to go. And if the scenario forces you to leave the city (assuming you live in one), you’re going to have to see where you’re going in order to avoid falling and breaking a bone. Make sure you have plenty of batteries with you, but bear in mind that they won’t last you forever. For that you may want to consider a solar-powered flashlight.

6. A compass

– Does it need batteries?
– No.
– Good. Will it save my life?
– Yes.
– Approved!

Seriously, if you have to travel and you’re miles away from any roads, or even if you find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere, a compass will save your life, provided you know the relative location of wherever it is you wish to go to with respect to your current general location (in other words, “I’m in Pennsylvania and I want to go to Florida. Florida is south of where I am now”). The only chance a compass will fail you, is if you fail yourself and mistake north for south, or if something happens to the Earth’s magnetic poles. Of course in the case of the Earth’s magnetic poles disappearing, going in the wrong direction would be the least of your worries…

7. First aid kit

Regardless of the apocalyptic scenario, if you’re one of the survivors, your primary objective is to keep yourself safe. Yes, our bodies can cope with a lot of things, but would you be willing to test your limits during an apocalypse? Potentially, even a scrape from a rusty piece of metal can be fatal, so do make sure you have a handy first aid kit with you. And keep it safe. Even if you’re Superman in disguise and viruses and diseases run away from you in terror, you can always use it to barter for something you don’t have. Not that I advise you to trade away your medical supplies.

8. Hard Currency

Speaking of bartering, remember the time when banks and politicians created money out of nothing and gave us all thin plastic cards that supposedly represented equal value to hard currency, like gold? Now let’s imagine a situation where the world’s banking system has collapsed. Power and telecommunications are also no more, so no internet or electricity. And you need food and water. Lucky you, there’s a store across the street with a couple of walking mountains-for-guards keeping an eye on things, that still has some food. Of course prices will be inflated, but who cares? You have your mighty plastic card! Gold or platinum coloured!

When was the last time you tried trading plastic strips (with fancy colours) for food or water or anything valuable? Mine was in kindergarten or maybe early elementary years. So, do consider grabbing and holding onto some hard currency. Gold, silver, jewels. Things you can actually barter with. Depending on the crisis at hand, food, water, or antibiotics may be even more precious than gold and silver. While we’re looking at alternative forms of currency, and if the apocalypse allows it, consider seeds from plants that bear fruits. Preferably not from genetically modified plants, since seeds from most of these cannot grow after a couple of harvests.

9. Warm and sturdy clothes

Imagine surviving whatever apocalypse befell the world, only to succumb to a cold or hypothermia. That would really suck. So, the next time you go to a shopping spree to buy the latest awesome and fashionable clothes, you may want to consider adding something less fashionable but more durable and warm.


Honourable mention

10. Guns

Yeah, that also goes without saying, however, how long will it be practical for? Assuming the apocalypse at hand is here to stay for the foreseeable future, how many bullets will you be able to carry around? And how much weight will that add to your backpack? What will you do with the gun once you have no more bullets? Throw it at the enemy? Maybe, if it’s heavy and reliable.

And there you have it, folks. Now, I tried my best to take something grim that potentially could scare a lot of people, and turn it into an enjoyable read. A lot of people take the end of the world seriously. Even if the end never comes during our lifetime, it’s always best to be prepared, right?