10 Disaster Films Even More Crapocalyptic Than 2012

In 2012 -- a definite Bad Movie We Love -- the Earth is being superheated by "mutant neutrinos" supposedly linked to a planetary alignment predicted by the Mayans. First, Gaia explodes in a fiery rain of molten B-movie cheese, and then a magnetic pole switcheroo causes a tectonic boogaloo that unleashes tsunamis big enough to inundate the Himalayas. It's the very best in schlock science and mysticism from Roland Emmerich, whose last picture, 10,000 B.C., had it that the mammoths built the pyramids. But while 2012 shamelessly appropriates sequences and tropes from just about every major disaster movie of the past, oh, forever, there are still a few crapocalypses too silly for even Emmerich to pilfer. Or maybe... just maybe... he's saving them for 2013?

10. Robot Monster (1953)

The world has been destroyed by Ro-Man, a man in a gorilla suit wearing a diving helmet. Guided by his interplanetary boss, the, um, Great Guidance, with who Ro-Man communicates via a bubble maker and reel-to-reel tape recorder, he has killed off all but eight of the world's population with his Calcinator Death Ray. But while he's a fighter, he's also a lover and a thinker, who must balance his genocidal urges with his developing lust for the loveliest surviving Hu-man babe. Thus his Rumsfeld-esque musing: "I cannot yet I must. How do you calculate that? At one point on the graph do must and cannot meet? Yet I must but I cannot!"

9. Ultra Warrior (1990)

When Roger Corman gets his Oscar next year, here's hoping the clip reel includes bits of Ultra Warrior. Actually, it'll have to, given that this post-apocalyptic epic is comprised largely of footage recycled from the B-movie king's other better-known New World flicks, like Battle Beyond The Stars and Lords Of The Deep. Seriously, even the sex scenes are culled from other movies' carnal sequences! The "story" stitching all these shreds together has Dack Rambo as Kenner, the prophesied Great White Wolf, who has come to liberate the mutants from the evil overlord The Bishop. Set, tellingly, on April 1, 2058, the wasteland here was caused when the space defense system was accidentally trigged, vaporising millions and irradiating everyone else. Because the production also utilizes outer-space footage and mechanical murderers, it's explained that what's left of Earth is under threat from a) aliens from a parallel universe who want to turn the planet into a star and b) robots called Enforcers who started out as peacemakers but turned evil.

8. Knowing (2009)

In Alex Proyas's surprisingly successful piece of end-is-nigh nonsense, it is, in 2012-style, a solar flare that's gonna take us out, as predicted by a schoolkid, a source nearly as unimpeachable as misinterpreted Mayan calendar hoodoo. It's as decent a premise for an apocalypse movie as any, except that Proyas also includes a) black-clad alien child-watchers called "The Strangers" who look like escapees from Kraftwerk and b) a bunny-populated heavenly refuge seemingly designed by the same people who do those naïf born-again Christian picture books. What starts out as a spooky story becomes laughably po-faced as Nic Cage embraces a New Age in a finale that once seen is still unable to be believed.

7. Gas-s-s (1971)

Roger Corman's hippie-era take on end-times has it that a gas-s-s leak kills everyone older than 25. Can you dig, baby? Pitched as a satire, this cheapie posits that all the members of the Love Generation, upon inheriting the Earth, immediately repeat the sins of their fathers and mothers and resume pig politics as usual. Save our heroes, of course, who set out for New Mexico and the ultimate commune freedom, man. The scenario, while far-fetched, will be immediately familiar to anyone who's stepped into a mall multiplex after 7pm. There just has to be a remake of this: Imagine a briefly "totes perf" society in which nothing interrupts Tweeting and hooking up and Tweeting about hooking up... until the tripartite government headed by the Jonas Brothers dissolves into bloody internecine warfare.

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  • Old No.7 says:

    You finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! Goddamn you all to hell!

  • CiscoMan says:

    Aw, I liked "Knowing." And not in a so-bad-it's-good kind of way. Thought it was legitimately suspenseful and did a good job of going from "There's no way this is going to happen..." to "Wait, this is happening!"
    I will agree the New Agey finale -- for the children! -- was a bit of a letdown. And The Strangers were an obvious lift from Proyas' own "Dark City." (Does it count when you rip yourself off?) But really, seriously... you were *laughing*?

  • stolidog says:

    The aliens prancing around in the basement right next to Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds was definitely one of those moments.

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    That Birdemic looks even better than the Mega shark that fought the giant octopus. And I'd still watch it over the transforming robots pictures.

  • Jim Beeno says:

    Wow thats amazing, what a trip dowen memory lane!

  • Michael Adams says:

    Sorry, Ciscoman, but yes, by the bunnies, I was mightily amused. I think Nic Cage recounting how he was doing a spot of leaf-blowing (at 4am) when he heard of his wife's demise was what first triggered the giggles. As I was in a screening with a more reverent audience, I bit my knuckles so as not to disturb my fellow filmgoers.

  • Belladonna says:

    Yea, have to say really didn't like Knowing. Good idea ruined by the stupid concept of creationism. Have to say though, laughed when I saw the pedo aliens....

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