Things That Don't Suck
, Some Notes on The Stand
I recently reread The Stand for no particular reason other than I felt like it. I'm honestly not sure how many time[s] I've read it at this point, more than three, less than a half dozen (though I can clearly remember my first visit to that horrifyingly stripped bare world as I can remember the first reading of all the truly great King stories). It's not my favorite of King's work, but it is arguably his most richly and completely imagined. It truly is the American Lord of The Rings, with the concerns of England (Pastorialism vs. Industrialism, Germany's tendency to try and blow it up every thirty years or so) replaced by those of America (Religion, the omnipresent struggle between our liberal and libertarian ideals, our fear of and dependence on the military, racial and gender tension) and given harrowing size.
I'm happy to say that The Stand holds up well past the bounds of nostalgia and revisiting the world and these characters was as pleasurable as ever. But you can't step in the same river twice, even when you're revisiting a favorite book. Even if the river hasn't changed you have. This isn't meant as any kind of comprehensive essay on The Stand. Just a couple of things I noticed upon dipping my toes in the river this time.
[Spoiler alert: assume everything, from the link above to those below, contains SPOILERS.] [more inside]
It's debatable whether the troubled World War Z
signals the end of the ongoing zombie craze, but the film that started it all is much more clear: Danny Boyle's
bleak, artful cult horror-drama 28 Days Later
, which saw its US premiere ten years ago this weekend.
From its iconic opening shots of an eerily abandoned London
(set to Godspeed You! Black Emperor's
brooding post-rock epic "East Hastings"
) to the frenzied chaos of its climax
, Boyle's film -- a dark yet humanist tale
of a world eviscerated by a frighteningly contagious epidemic of murderous rage -- reinvented and reinvigorated the genre that Romero built (though many insist its rabid, sprinting berserkers don't really count
And while sequel 28 Weeks Later
with its heavyhanded Iraq War allusions
failed to live up to the original (despite boasting one of the most viscerally terrifying opening sequences
in modern horror), and 28 Months
looks increasingly unlikely
, there remains a small universe of side content from the film, including music, short films, comics, and inspired-by games. [more inside]
After the bombs have fallen, the plague has wiped out most of humanity, or the dead have risen and claimed the world as their own, we must go on. The tales of those survivors are told in fiction
, in many ways with enough to overwhelm you. Enter the apocalypse fans. Post-Apocalypse.co.uk has just under 50 reviews
, with a quick note on the rating of each film. Post Apocalyptic Movie Mania
has reviews categorized by the way the world ends, along with other p-a related material. But the end of the world isn't always like an Italian Post Apocalyptic Movie (Google cache)
, sometimes it's quirky and off-beat, in a proto-Monty Python sort of way
(rough approximation of Ebert's review of The Bed-Sitting Room
) (videos inside) [more inside]
Dystopian storytelling is pillar of Western narrative tradition
, but this decade has seen a significant shift in the way our apocalypse is told. Orthodox tales of government tyranny
are giving way to visions of humans running helpless
in the wake of environmental meltdown
. From the plausible to the fantastic
, most of this fiction remains hauntingly real while the non-fiction can get downright scary
. In 2008, the 20th anniversary of climatologist James Hansen's landmark speech before Congress
, popular art is beginning to reflect an increasingly bleak public sentiment on the future, playing out some of our worst nightmares. It may be that these writers and directors are wishing for the end of the world
, but even so, they are certainly giving voice to the creeping feeling that indeed, we might not make it.
The Times are a changing and their seems to be more messages that the end is near...or is it? Martin Sheen of Apocalypse Now fame seems to be filming a movie http://www.people.co.uk/shtml/NEWS/P10S3.shtml on the end of the world as envisioned by St. Malachy of Ireland.