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Top 10 Movie Apocalypses

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Hollywood is obsessed with special effects. Even more so, it's obsessed with showing us scenarios for how the world can end! These range from zombie outbreaks, to plagues, asteroid impacts, climate change, alien invasions, nuclear fallout and technology taking over. While neither of these scenarios would be welcome in real life, they make for some spectacular story telling on the silver screen. Join as we count down the top 10 movie apocalypses.

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Top 10 Movie Apocalypses

So this is how Hollywood thinks the world will end! Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down the top 10 movie apocalypses.

#10 – Zombie Apocalypse: Various Films

Kicking off our list is the horrifying movie nightmare that foresees the dead walking the earth. There are countless variations on this disaster, and none of them is pretty. The worst-case scenario is probably a combination of the running rage zombies from “28 Days Later” and the reanimation of the already buried, like in “Return of the Living Dead.” Sadly, if the zombies don’t get you, the lack of resources will.

#9 – Infertility: “Children of Men” (2006)

While this may not be as gruesome, at least we have a chance to escape the zombies! With this type of apocalypse, humanity will no longer be able to procreate, because all dudes will be shooting blanks. This one sucks because instead of going out in a blaze of glory like humanity deserves, it is just a pathetic whisper.

#8 – Viral Outbreak: “12 Monkeys” (1995)

In this doomsday scenario, Earth is contaminated by a pathogen that instantly kills humans. It’s kind of poetic, since animals have reclaimed everything. Of course, some humans manage to survive underground and pin their hopes on time travel, but that’s a whole other story. The unsettling thing about this apocalypse is that we don’t even get a slow wind down: we just disappear.

#7 – Comet: “Deep Impact” (1998)

Moving away from viruses, this movie presents the prospect of a comet that collides with the planet and makes us go the way of the dinosaurs with help from a 350-foot tidal wave. Okay, so humanity doesn’t get completely wiped out here thanks to a fully-funded NASA. But in any case, we doubt that the few lucky survivors would focus their attention on rebuilding patriotic symbols in the wave’s wake.

#6 – Wasteland: “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior” (1981)

You see this desert, and the nasty folks living in it? You can thank humanity for that, since the theory here is that we’ll finally burn through most of our non-renewable energy supply without a back-up plan. Sparking a global war for the scraps, this event leads to the total collapse of civilization. Seeing as this film was released over 30 years ago, and we still fill up our cars with dino juice, this may just actually happen.

#5 – Alien Invasion: “War of the Worlds” (2005)

While aliens that can level our cities – as seen in “Independence Day” – are pretty horrific, we’re giving this one to the extra-terrestrials that go the extra mile. Yes, we’re talking about the ones that evaporate us or use us as fertilizer to terraform our planet. In reality, we’re pretty sure aliens smart enough to travel through space wouldn’t be defeated by the flu.

#4 – Going Ape: “Planet of the Apes” (1968)

According to this movie, our addiction to nuclear weapons won’t just level our cities, but by the year 3978 it will spawn a new society of intelligent talking apes. Meanwhile, the descendants of surviving humans will have regressed to mute household pets! Still, it could be worse; people could become cattle for the slaughter.

#3 – Human Batteries: “The Matrix” (1999)

The machines have taken over, and we foolishly try to stop them by casting Earth into eternal darkness, since the machines are solar-powered. The result is a future in which we are plugged in like AA’s from birth, and our minds are manipulated and controlled. At least we aren’t kept contained as mindless vegetables, and have been given a video game to pass the time…

#2 – Global Warming: “Waterworld” (1995)

In this apocalyptic future, the polar ice caps have completely melted, causing sea levels to rise by several hundred feet, submerging all of planet’s landmasses. As if that weren’t bad enough, the smokers – yes the same people we currently shun from public spaces – have taken their revenge by pillaging any and all non-smoking survivors… Seriously though, what possible reason could there be for this guy loving paper so much?

#1 – The Machines: “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

Taking the top spot on our list is the inevitable apocalypse where a computer realizes humans are redundant the moment it’s handed a nuclear arsenal. While we’ve already explored a similar scenario, this one features skeleton-like machines whose only purpose is to exterminate survivors based on extreme prejudice! Seems a bit illogical. Why don’t they simply poison the remaining breathable atmosphere? Anyway…

Do you agree with our list? At the risk of sounding sadistic, what’s your favorite movie apocalypse? For more entertaining top 10s, be sure to subscribe to

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