Five Lesser Known End of the World Movies You Need To See Right Now

Hell (1)

Outside my window, the world is dying. Heaving her crimson guts against an ash grey sky. I can see the roving bands of wanderers and nomads, scavenging for food and any other scrap they can utilize among the waste. I see children, dirty and abandoned, fending for themselves in an all-too-unforgiving world that has no room for them. The air itself is thick and damp with the stink of death, and the only music you hear anymore are the screams of those, too far away to save, but too close to actually make any of us believe we will ever be safe again. This is the end of the world, and this is all we know of life now.

Oh, wait a second, I’m sorry. I just woke up and forgot I live in “the hood”. This is not the end of the world at all. Just the ass-end of a dirty city, eating itself alive. My bad. I tend to always mix up the two. But that got me thinking, man, I would love to watch an “end of the world” movie right now to distract me from my own disgusting life, but perhaps one that is not as well known as, say, The Road or Mad Maxx. And that, ofcourse, led me to think up and then write down this list. And now I am sharing it with you, so when the world inevitably ends, I will a legacy. And regarding that ending.  Remember, in the best case, this world will not end in a whimper, but in a bang, and I will be the one playing my fiddle on the hill, watching the whole thing burn.



Maybe an empty Earth is your version of Hell, but it’s not mine.

I talked about Hell once on my site in passing,  and and most fans of apocalyptic films who watch it end up falling in love with it.  Hell is about a post apocalyptic journey through Germany after solar flares have wrecked most of the Earth, and brought the temperature up 10 degrees Celsius. The end result is a washed out, heatstroke inducing world where water and gasoline are worth their weight in gold, and most people have become violent scavengers to survive.

We follow one “family” ( I will use the word loosely here, and the meaning for that will reveal itself to those who watch the film) on a road trip to try to find a sanctuary in this dying world. Ofcourse, road trips like that never go according to plan, and they come across a group of survivors who are a bit more extreme then they are. To say more is to ruin the film, which is violent and grim, but also completely believable. There are not mutants here. No monsters. But we come to learn in situations like this, that we ARE the monsters.

I will also go out on a limb and say that the whole move feels VERY Walking Dead, minus the walkers. It focuses on the human struggle and just how dark that can get. And it is hard not to watch the movie, worrying that it mirrors a world we very well may one day live in.

Right Outside Your Door


Good news: The pizza is here. Bad news: It came with the end of the world.

I spoke of Right At Your Door before on my “horror movies that are more like plays” list, and I am talking about it again because it is one of my favorite “end of the world” movies. Why? Much like Hell, it doesn’t play out with massive explosions or mutant creatures coming down and taking us over. Instead, it focuses on a viral outbreak in L.A, and is a character study of one couple as the situation unfolds, and how they try to cope with it.

As you can see from the above pic, the main angle in the story is that when the dirty bombs hit, the wife is on her way to work, and the husband is at home. A radio and television broadcast then comes on and  tells everyone who is home to NOT LET ANYONE IN WHO WAS EXPOSED IN, and NOT to go outside. Thinking from the standpoint of a couple, you can imagine how brutal to grasp this scenario is, but how it could very well happen.

I, for one, work from home, and my lady doesn’t, and for that reason alone, this movie resonated with me. We see the husband completely embattled about what to do, but we also see him do what he has to, and while it is tough to watch and fathom at times, it is so gripping it is impossible to look away. And I would go so far as to say this movie has a perfect ending for the story it was trying to tell.

Time of the Wolf


Anytime an apocalypse movie incorporates children, it becomes that much more haunting.

Just a warning right off the jump regarding this film. This is a Michael Haneke movie. Yes, Michael Haneke of Cache’ and Funny Games. You are all well aware he is one of my favorite directors, specifically for how marvelously he captures the inherent suffering of the human condition, so anytime I can recommend one of his films, I will. But be aware, they are often (and pretty much always) devastating.  And Time of the Wolf is no different. This time, though, it begins with tragedy immediately, instead of building to it.

Time of the Wolf is post apocalyptic yarn about a virus (we are never told what it is) that has made water into poison and has led to the mass burning of all livestock. We follow one family as they try to survive these damning conditions and make sense of the decaying world around them,(a running theme of many of the movies on the list) all while trying to keep what little shreds of humanity and hope alive inside of them as shit just gets worse and worse. And like all Haneke movies, there are little things that you need to pay attention to for the whole movie to make sense and for the ending to have the impact it intends to. The movie may seem bleak and slow, but it is also stark and in an odd way, beautiful. Sadness can be beautiful, afterall, or we would have no art in the world.

And again, like most of the movies on this list, a truly staggering ending rounds the whole affair out.

The Divide


As much as this photo may look like the cover to some boy band album, rest assured, this movie is fucked.

I told you guys about The Divide before, and I am grateful I can bring all of these movies, which I have talked about mostly scattered around, all into one article. And while most of the other films on this list could be taken as “slow burn” films, The Divide is a fast burning wick to an M-80 that blows up in your hand before you even know it’s lit.

And much like Time of the Wolf, we are never actually told what happens to the Earth, but we see glimpses of it at the beginning of the movie and at the end, and we know it is something cataclysmic, but is it weather related, bible related, or terrorist related? Again, we never get a clear answer, which is something I actually like, because it allows US as the viewer to weave the tale as we want it woven.

The Divide is about eight people who all live in an apartment building together but barely know each other, who are thrust into the basement bomb shelter of one of the tenants against his will, played by an always-awesome Michael Biehn. We see just how quickly the humanity drains out of this group and they turn on each other. And really, make no mistakes about it, they REALLY turn on each other. This film gets really nasty, but in the best ways possible. I adored The Divide, not only for how messed up it was, but because it was DEFINITELY inspired by The Drive-In, the Joe Lansdale horror tale about some poor, unfortunate folks trapped at a drive-in when some weird shit goes down, and how quickly they all turn on each other. You know, just like what would happen in real life in such a scenario? And speaking of realistic, I had to end with the BBC classic….



If you grew up in America like I did, we missed the true impact Threads had on people. which was PTSD.

Threads was a television mini-series produced in 1984 for the BBC. And honestly, it pretty much traumatized every single person who saw it, many of whom still talk about the movie with the kind of hatred normally reserved for an uncle who molested them. Yes, I have used that line before, but felt it too good not to use again.

Threads was a mockumentary film about a Nuclear war between Russia and America, and the way that affected two families in Northern England. What most didn’t see coming was the fact that they drop Nuclear bombs in the movie, and you see the devastating effects those weapons have (though in this case, hypothetically) on the unknowing innocents caught in the crossfire. And even though it was a BBC television event, no punches were pulled. As you can tell from the photo of the charred baby above, this was not some war film or fantasy movie. This was unflinching reality, presented into every home in England, and like I said, there are people still truly messed up from watching this movie. I only saw it recently after MANY people had told me to check it out, and I can completely understand how powerful it is now, and how REAL it must have felt to watch all the way back in 1984.

While some who see it now may not understand all the drama because there is much more graphic stuff shown on TV now (um, coat hanger abortion on American Horror Story, for example), when this aired, it had all the impact of a bomb going off, blowing people’s fucking minds.

Speaking of blown minds….

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  1. It’s not so much a super post apocolyptic movie but I love the movie On the Beach. It’s a movie from 1959 about an American Submarine crew who were on manuevers when nuclear war broke out and most of the world was either destroyed or the fallout from the radiation has killed everyone. The only place left is Australia and the fallout will hit them in six months. The movie mainly focuses on what these people want to do with their remaining time on earth. The cast is also top notch with Gregory Peck, Fred Astaire, Anthony Perkins and Ava Gardner as the headliners.

    This was recommended to me by my dad and I thanked him for the recommendation because I loved it.

  2. I really appreciate it when you mention whether the movies you recommend are available on Netflix for instant viewing. It often encourages me to rush right over and watch. However, I know I can just look each of them up, and the fact that I am less likely to watch because it is not explicitly mentioned speaks to the infinite laziness that exists within me, which is fed so well by the beloved internet…

  3. Try, When the Wind Blows, it was a Graphic Novel that got made into an animated movie about an older couple who had experienced WW2 and who (in the aftermath of a nuclear war) couldn’t come to terms with fall of the government and all the structure that they had come to rely on – I saw it as a play in Uni – that play along with Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolf put me of stage productions for life – too damn depressing.

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