The apocalyptic results of humankind’s self-destructive tendencies is a preoccupation that horror shares with science fiction. From careless littering and reckless toxic waste disposal to the exploitation of resources by profit-driven corporations and manipulative politicians, filmmakers have visualized terrifying scenarios of the natural world’s revenge that seem less fantastic and more urgent with each passing year. Relatively restrained works like The Crazies (1973) and Long Weekend (1978) laid the foundations for the more gruesome viral epidemic of 28 Days Later (2002) and the forest’s fungal vendetta in Gaia (2021). These films often ask whether human life is sustainable; at least one, The Girl With All the Gifts (2016), suggests it isn’t worth the effort at all. As we experience a summer with planet-warming CO2 levels at their highest in human history, these “fantastic” films are deadly serious.
Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Curator, and Brittany Shaw, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Film, with Caryn Coleman, guest curator.