Jason Toon


quality posts: 19 Private Messages Jason Toon

All week and through next Monday, the Woot writers are sharing the movies that make them crap their pants in terror - figuratively, we hope. Here are five movies that give Jason Toon the willies - because they seem like they could actually happen...

(WARNING: Some of the following trailers may be slightly NSFW. Watch... but at your own risk!)

By the time my voice dropped, movie monsters had lost the power to scare me anymore. Not only were the likes of, say, Freddy Krueger just so ridiculous, I also knew too much about the moviemaking behind it to suspend my disbelief. "Hey, if you look right, you can totally tell he's the guy from V." The movies that have kept me up nights in the last couple of decades are the ones about horrors that could be all too real: nuclear war, dictatorship, ecological catastrophe. If viewers use horror movies as a means of escape from reality, these terrifying scenarios leave you nowhere to run to.


Children of Men
(2006)
"Day 1,000 of the siege of Seattle." Those are the very first words you hear in Alfonso Cuaron's brilliant future shocker. 18 years after humanity stopped giving birth, the all-grownup world is torn by fascism, terrorism, disease, and a general nihilistic anomie. Clive Owen sleepwalks through a Britain even grimier and more depressing than the real thing. This is what the V for Vendetta movie should have felt like.

Soylent Green (1973)
Global warming, food shortages, pollution, blackouts, drab khaki clothing: the future of Soylent Green would be a major bummer even without the famously monstrous ending revelation. It's the oldest movie here, but its particular vision - a chaotic, sun-blasted New York populated by barely-human rabble living in stripped cars, ruled by a vicious, effete, utterly corrupt elite - rings as true as any of them.

The Day After (1983)
If zombies and slashers don't scare you anymore, try this: there are still thousands of nuclear weapons around the world, any one of which could go off at any time! While the Cold War context of The Day After is a historical relic, the most relentlessly grim TV movie ever made in America has lost none of its power to shock. This deeply disturbing picture of post-apocalyptic life has nothing in common with your favorite first-person shooter. (If that's still not enough to freak you out, try Threads, the even bleaker BBC take on nuclear aftermath. But trust me: you really probably shouldn't.)


Idiocracy

If I had to bet money on any of these movies essentially coming true, it'd be Mike Judge's criminally underpromoted look at a future America that's somehow even dumber than today's. Everything is covered in flashing corporate logos, the main form of artistic expression involves guys getting hit in the nuts, and big-box store greeters mumble "Welcome to Costco, I love you." If you haven't seen it, you might be part of the problem.

The Running Man (1987)
The thing that horrified me the most when I first saw it: in the future, a can of Pepsi costs seven bucks! There's also global economic collapse, food riots, totalitarian dictatorship, and an absolutely cynical, vicious mass media that makes game-show entertainment out of what are, essentially, extended public executions. On the last count, at least, reality is starting to catch up to The Running Man.

What favorite dystopia of yours have I left off? Mad Max? The Handmaid's Tale? Minority Report? What movies make you scared, not of what lurks in the shrubbery, but of what lurks in humanity's future?

reservoird


quality posts: 4 Private Messages reservoird

On the Beach, based on the book by Nevil Shute. After a nuclear war has destroyed all life in the northern hemisphere, an American submarine crew and the inhabitants of Australia await their deaths from radioactive fallout, which takes a year or two to make its way south. The most depressing book I've ever read, and the movie's not much better.

matthew


quality posts: 20 Private Messages matthew

Someone should say something here about A BOY AND HIS DOG.

rwave


quality posts: 0 Private Messages rwave

Idiocracy is definitely one of the scariest movies ever. The problem is Mike Judge's whole concept of high birthrates for low intelligence couples and low birthrates for high intelligence couples is happening in America today.

The consolation in it: Genetic variation means you can be a smart kid born of below average parents, so we'll never completely get to the point of Idiocracy.

bsmith1


quality posts: 106 Private Messages bsmith1
rwave wrote:...The consolation in it: Genetic variation means you can be a smart kid born of below average parents, so we'll never completely get to the point of Idiocracy.



So you believe genes play a bigger role in the development of the child than their environment? What if the parents are too stupid to educate the child? What if the teachers at the school are dumb? What if the TV, Internet, and other media the kid absorbs is stupid? What if libraries are considered a waste of space and the books are lost? How will a child become intelligent in such an environment? Even if they do grow-up to be smart, there will be no jobs for them and nobody will breed with them because they're not considered "cool". It will progressively get worse to the point that it's impossible for someone to grow-up to be smart even if they're born "gifted". It's a snowball effect that'll just get worse as time goes by. (unless trends change)

EDIT: Great movie, by the way.

rwave


quality posts: 0 Private Messages rwave
bsmith1 wrote:So you believe genes play a bigger role in the development of the child than their environment?



I believe genes play a big role in base learning ability. I can't remember exactly but I believe intelligence is also affected by environment (IQ, which is not a complete measure of intelligence, can change). Genetic aptitude is a huge component though.

In Idiocracy EVERYONE was of zombie level intelligence. That's why I said we would never reach quite that point.

tgentry


quality posts: 111 Private Messages tgentry

Staff

matthew wrote:Someone should say something here about A BOY AND HIS DOG.



I got about ten minutes into this and then quit to go play Fallout 3.

cappomutato


quality posts: 19 Private Messages cappomutato

9 (not the Musical), was another good post apocalyptic movie.

yay taco

ppremont


quality posts: 4 Private Messages ppremont
tgentry wrote:I got about ten minutes into this and then quit to go play Fallout 3.




I agree! Plus wasn't that with Don Johnson?

Try "The Quiet Earth".

Bring back the 4 O'Clock Flash!!!

niko88


quality posts: 0 Private Messages niko88

No offense but this is a horrible list of scary movies. (maybe one or two of them are a little scary because they are so close to reality but for the most part....no way!)

I'd add the Planet of the Apes movies, A Clockwork Orange, and Logan's Run to this list. (of not so scary alternate future movies)

faithcoaching


quality posts: 1 Private Messages faithcoaching
tgentry wrote:I got about ten minutes into this and then quit to go play Fallout 3.



What? When did tgentry get tagged as "staff." Wow. That's kinda' neat ... contest winner makes it big.

Go gators! Go Hokies!

mehmehmehmeh


quality posts: 0 Private Messages mehmehmehmeh

itt... neckbeards that work in IT complaining about stupid people.

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/idiocracy.png

RWoodward


quality posts: 58 Private Messages RWoodward

I read a story in Analog or Asimov's back in the 80s that had a similar plot to Idiocracy, but without the time travel angle. Dumb people outbreed the smart people until the smart people become subservient to the booooos.

As an aside, after Richard Dawson's performance in The Running Man, I've never been able to see him as the puckish gameshow host or Limy soldier I once knew.

matthew


quality posts: 20 Private Messages matthew
tgentry wrote:I got about ten minutes into this and then quit to go play Fallout 3.



Totally counts as "something!"

413007


quality posts: 4 Private Messages 413007

The Road

A terrifying movie. It will depress you as you realize how terrible people would actually act in some post-apocolytic world.

Then you will just go hug your loved ones.

RWoodward


quality posts: 58 Private Messages RWoodward
413007 wrote:The Road

A terrifying movie. It will depress you as you realize how terrible people would actually act in some post-apocolytic world.

Then you will just go hug your loved ones.



I'm depressed at how terrible people act in a pre-apocalyptic world.

Luxasia


quality posts: 4 Private Messages Luxasia

I agree wholeheartedly that Idiocracy is a scary movie. The first time I saw it I laughed all the way through. Then about a half hour after it was over the reality of the world around me set in and I could see the telltale signs of our trip down that path. Its not just the dumb people out breeding the smart that is scary, its the dumb people that are idolized and have money and power. Its also the fact that we have made everything so safe and stupidity proof that there is almost nothing to weed out the weak and stupid amoung us. We need a preadator...... maybe some sort of genetically mutated giant bird? hmmmmmmm

Do not follow me, I walk into walls!