That’s a good omen. Seeing deer.

Leave the World Behind (2023)   Netflix’s latest serving of seasonally suspect apocalypse porn, and in the wake of White Noise, another prime cut of predictive programming to boot. Albeit, where White Noise offered an account of actual Black Hat event that came to pass a few months later, Leave the World Behind seems, on the face of it, implemented to confuse and agitate – at the behest of producers Barrack and Big Mike – with regard to the reasons for any imminent EBS (ie when it comes, it can’t be good, and what’s more, it will spell the end

It’ll take more than black flowers to save us this time.

Edge of Darkness (1985)   Seminal. Differently put: the best serial the BBC ever produced? It’s certainly in contention for the title, with very few other contenders able to stake as persuasive a claim. Edge of Darkness’ impact is down to a number of factors, not least production values that were a (relatively) foreign country to the BBC; it was a $2m co-production with US company Lionheart. Then there was the cinematic lustre later cinema – and before, if you count sex comedies – director Martin Campbell brought to the table. Most of all, though, the key to the its

It cannot act at all, so long as there is no threat.

Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)   What was Dr Forbin (Eric Braeden) thinking? Talk about bending over backwards to give the AI what it wants. Colossus: The Forbin Project is sufficiently compelling that you rather excuse it all the conceptual blunders and goofs that ensure there’s absolutely no way to switch the supercomputer off, or countermand it, or mitigate its leverage (“Do what I say or get nuked”). It is also, in very 1970s fashion, a starkly bleak, unforgiving affair, something that does much to ensure it still packs a punch. Skynet decides to wipe humanity out, but Colossus, much

Better move fast, kid. The end is near.

2012 (2009)   This is where the bigger-budget disaster-movie cycle reaches its zenith. Or nadir, depending on your take. After this, global destruction would largely be down to clashing superheroes. And after this, alleged 33rd-degree freemason Roland Emmerich’s star would be in the descendent, the “vanity” projects he had his eye on floundering along with the presumed safer ground of standard-issue blockbusters. 2012 might have been one such, were the example of End of Days and the Millennium taken as indicative, but it lashed together the disaster-movie formula – and the Emmerich disaster-movie formula at that – with gleefully undisguised

The Hollywood sign is gone! It’s just shredded!

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)   Eco-disaster porn! And who better to deliver it than go-to predictive-programming purveyor, alleged 33rd-degree freemason – alleged on the degree, rather than being a mason – Roland Emmerich? Not for Roland this “graduating” to serious, adult, Oscar-grab movies of the director (the berg) he’s often credited with ripping off malarkey. No, Emmerich’s quite content to wallow in his pit, the occasional “serious” conspiracy (Anonymous) or personal (the much-derided Stonewall) movie aside. The Day After Tomorrow saw him operating at the peak of his ’70s-disaster-cycle-redux powers, to the tune of half-a-billion dollars gross at the

I don’t think I believe anyone can save anyone.

The Whale (2022)   I have no qualms admitting I was in no hurry to see The Whale, even though I generally regard a Darren Aronofsky film as essential viewing. Which is peculiar in itself, as I don’t actually like very many of his pictures. He’s an interesting filmmaker, one with a talent for selecting subject matter with potential, but in a manner I tend to respond to negatively (in contrast, say, to Steven Soderbergh, who’s a technically proficient director with little apparent sensibility and nothing to say for himself, hence I tend to respond to him indifferently). The prospect

Enough with this anomaly horseshit!

Armageddon (1998)   A movie that appears expressly designed to make NASA-designated space seem sensible by contrast, given pretty much everything here is so transparently, gleefully ridiculous. Armageddon, the biggest movie of its year, is now universally derided, it seems. Or perhaps just by the voices on the Internet, and Joe Public still quite likes it. There’s a disclaimer on the end credits, to the effect that “The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s cooperation and assistance does not reflect an endorsement of the contents of the film or the treatment of the characters depicted therein”, but who are they trying

What difference does anything make anymore?

Deep Impact (1998)   It says something for millennial-angst programming that Hollywood was able to churn out not one but two not-very-good apocalyptic-dread movies in 1998, both of which were hits. Deep Impact came first – screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin suggests Disney surreptitiously swiped his pitch – and can boast a screenplay from Hollywood’s resident quasi-spiritual comfort-food sellers Michael Tolkin and Rubin. Both have, individually, come up with a few decent ideas during their time in Tinseltown, even if the finished articles have tended to be mixed. Deep Impact has ample opportunity for metaphysical rumination yet settles for pat sentimentality

Well, we all know what the facts are. We live a while, and then we die sooner than we planned.

Edge of Darkness (2010)   Self-evidently, it was daft to even attempt to remake the BBC’s seminal serial Edge of Darkness, that brooding 1980s document of nuclear dread. It was pretty much perfectly formed, a signature piece of the inevitable, apocalyptic twilight of humanity. It also set director Martin Campbell on the road to Hollywood director status, cheerful skin flicks and Derek and Clive long behind him. You’d have thought his return to pastures ploughed here was a foolish and pointless choice, as directors who have done similarly (most frequently English-language versions of their originals) have rarely reaped dividends. That

Los Angeles will be my epitaph!

The Satan Bug (1965)   Diabolical runaway viruses, Batman! John Sturges followed his hugely popular, star-studded The Great Escape with this rather anonymously furnished thriller, based on an Alistair MacLean novel (he of the hugely popular Guns of Navarone). Albeit, one written under the pseudonym Ian Stuart. The movie’s efficient enough in its propounding of Pasteurian virus propaganda, but the most evocative aspect is easily the title. Which, not entirely unlike William Friedkin’s later Sorcerer, is somewhat misleading. Sure, there’s a bug, but its only diabolical quality is the promise that it could kill all life on Earth in a