Quite a niche category, sure, but here are the best apocalyptic comedy films. A wonderful combination of silliness, dark humour and painfully awkward social situations at the end of the world…
Many of the core themes of The Knowledge deal with the traditional crafts and expertise that used to be prevalent in the recent past, but are lamentably sliding into obscurity today. ‘Another Escape‘ is a fascinating new magazine that explores many of these areas.
The delights in this current issue (Volume Three) include: international efforts to construct comprehensive seed banks; how the threads of the lumberjack shirt weave their way back through time and across cultures; how the essential oils are extracted out of plants to make perfumes; reviving the ancient art of Korean paper-making (pictured below); coppicing woodlands for sustainable timber supply; the skill of colliers in creating charcoal; and bamboo-framed bicycles.
‘Another Escape’ is a British-published magazine, but has a truly global outlook in the eclectic topics it features. The magazine is a feast for the eyes as well, and the accompanying illustrations and photography are absolutely gorgeous.
See the Another Escape website for more details and to place a subscription.
The collapse of civilisation and loss of the majority of humanity is the starting point for the thought experiment in The Knowledge. The Introduction explores what sort of world the survivors of the cataclysm might find themselves in, and the challenges they’d face thriving in the immediate aftermath and striving to rebuild civilisation from the ground up. The book touches upon many tropes of post-apocalyptic literature and cinema, which are expanded upon elsewhere in this website (e.g. best post-apocalyptic movies, best post-apocalpytic books, post-apocalyptic art, ruin photography). In this guest blog post, Emma Anne James (Twitter) takes a closer, analytical look at the body of American post-apocalyptic films – their common themes, key differences, and problems with their underlying ideals. Emma is a postgraduate researcher in the Department of History of Art and Film, University of Leicester, writing her PhD thesis on this very topic. Also see Emma’s comprehensive list of 78 post-apocalyptic films from the last 80 years of cinema history.
Emma Anne James (Twitter) is a PhD researcher at the University of Leicester, writing her thesis on the critical analysis of post-apocalyptic cinema. She has written a guest post for The Knowledge website discussing the tropes and common themes, as well as the implicit assumptions within them, of these post-apocalyptic films. Here, she provides for us her exhaustive list of 78 American post-apocalyptic films released in the eighty-year period between 1933 and 2013. This includes absolute classics like On the Beach, some truly awful films like Creepozoids, and all three incarnations of The Planet of the Apes narrative (1968, 2001, 2011).
Emma’s research focuses on films released after 1968, and doesn’t include zombie flicks for various reasons including their general status as apocalyptic rather than post-apocalyptic films (see here for her definitions on this). She also includes a few films that have another type of narrative, but contain a very significant post-apocalyptic aspect in the film (for example, the last third of A.I. is significant for its iconographic and thematic use of a post-apocalyptic setting).
Here, then, is Emma’s complete list of post-apocalyptic films. How many have you already seen…?
An excerpt from The Knowledge is published today on SurvivalBlog.com. The Survival Blog is run by James Wesley Rawles, a former US Army intelligence officer and expert within the Prepper community, who has also published the excellent prepper manual ‘How to Survive The End Of The World As We Know It: Tactics, Techniques And Technologies For Uncertain Times‘. Rawles has also turned his hand to writing novels on this topic, and has published Patriots: A novel of survival in the coming collapse, Founders and Survivors. This excerpt from The Knowledge is taken from Chapter 5, introducing how you can begin to gather and synthesise the chemical substances that will be crucial to your rebuilding effort after an apocalypse.
Read the book excerpt on SurvivalBlog.com here
The September issue of Wired magazine carries an article by me and Leila Johnston about how to make your own wind turbine. This piece draws on the material from the first chapter of The Knowledge, talking about how you can use ingenuity and resourcefulness to scavenge and repurpose all you need to maintain a comfortable lifestyle in the immediate aftermath. For instance, the vital component of a wind turbine that generates electricity for you can be cannibalised right out of any car or truck engine – the alternator.
The article is on the news-stands now, or available on the Wired app on iTunes or Google Pla
Mark Westcott is a TV documentary director from London. He worked on the Discovery channel series ‘Man, Woman, Wild‘, a survival show featuring American special forces expert Mykel Hawke and his broadcaster wife Ruth England. In 2011, the series took the film crew to the Caribbean island of Montserrat, where they got special access to explore regions laid to waste over a decade ago by eruptions of the island’s volcano. In this guest post, Mark describes his experiences in this devastated landscape of decaying collapsing buildings, scavenging vital supplies from abandoned kitchens and garages, and the feral cattle: like a localised apocalypse.
One of the topics I discuss in the opening chapters of The Knowledge is how quickly our asphalt roads would deteriorate after a collapse of civilisation, and so why it might be much easier for long-distance travel and trade in a post-apocalyptic world to use the abandoned railway tracks. Two artists have completed a fascinating exploration project along these lines.
Ivan Puig and Andrés Padilla Domene describe themselves as Los Ferronautas (from ferrocarriles, ‘railway’ in Spanish) and spent 2010 and 2011 travelling along the rusting railways of rural Mexico, and the modern ruins scattered around them. In the second half of the 19th century, the Mexican government partnered with British companies to build a railway line to connect Mexico City with the Atlantic Ocean and the rest of the world. But now this historic railway infrastructure lies in ruins, much of it abandoned due to the privatisation of the railway system in 1995. It was deemed simply unprofitable to continue running the passenger services, and lines became cut off and whole communities isolated.