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Creepy Campy Cinema: Apocalypse

All apocalypse all the time. I love a good apocalypse movie! The more destruction, mayhem and romance the better! When it’s time to explore the lighter side of the end count me in!

Warm Bodies 2013

This is a relatively unique story because it is told from a zombie’s point of view. We spend most of the movie following our hero R, who is charmingly played by Nicholas Hoult. He narrates his struggles with his feelings, everyday zombie life, which includes a whole social structure, and what’s going on with the world in general.

One day R and his zombie buddies attack a group of human survivors. During the fight R takes down Perry (Dave Franco), a guy who embodies all the angst, sorrow and hopelessness of the post-apocalyptic world. This is where it really gets interesting. R explains the best part of eating people brains is getting the their memories. When he looks up and sees Perry’s girlfriend Julie (Theresa Palmer) valiantly fighting BAM he is in love. R saves Julie from the other zombies by disguising her. Then he brings her back to the airport where he resides.

Romeo and Juliet?

After the initial shock and freak out wears off Julie notices R is not exactly a mindless killer. He can talk a little, he likes music, and he collects things that remind him of being human. Julie is amazed and touched by R. The more time R spends with Julie, the more he changes, becoming more human.

When R doesn’t take her home after a few days Julie runs off and is cornered by other zombies. R shows up just in time to save her. The zombies see how much Julie trusts R and are so affected they let them go and begin to change as well. Julie heads home alone to the human city and back to business as usual.

R's zombie best friend M (Rob Corrdry) tells him bonies, the desiccated skeletal zombies feared by normal zombies for their savagery, are on their way to kill R and Julie to stop the Zombie changes. Can they fend off the bonies’ attack?

This is a light, funny zombie romance with a lot of heart. Oddly it is the Zombies who are the most hopeful. Also big kudos for the zombie mechanics going on which make for a unique and fun ride. This is based on Isaac Marion's book of the same name.

2012 2009

This movie came out in 2009, perhaps to give us time to get ready. 2012 capitalizes on the Mayan calendar end of world rumor in the best way. Its tag line is “We were warned.”

In 2010 the core of the earth is heating up and will result in catastrophic upheaval ending the world as we know it. World leaders keep this secret and start building nine arks hidden away in the Himalayas to save what humanity they can. And for the low, low price of a $1 billion a person you can go too!

It is now 2012 and struggling writer Jackson (John Cusak) is moonlighting as a limo driver for a Russian billionaire. Frustrated, divorced and disconnected from his kids he takes them for a weekend camping trip in Yellowstone. They wander onto a government post monitoring geologic events and meet the president’s science advisor Adrian (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Adrian let’s them go after recognizing Jackson as the author of book he loved.

Outrageous chaos

Then they meet Charlie (Woody Harrelson), a conspiracy theorist broadcasting a radio show live from Yellowstone so he can witness the end of the world firsthand. He correctly details everything that is happening in the world and claims he even has a map to the Arks. No one believes him because he is a crazy conspiracy theorist.

As the red flags pile up for Jackson, he goes to get his ex and their kids to try make it to the Arks. The drive out of the city is one of the longest, most epic scenes of chaos and devastation ever to hit the screen. Every moment of the next 7-10 minutes is filled with this awesome destruction Jackson ridiculously and narrowly avoids. They reach the airport and take off in their rented plane just as the earth crumbles away beneath them and above them. The plane ride is almost as awesome as the drive to the airport for sheer outrageous chaos. Will they make it to an ark?

This is an easy fun watch with outrageous destruction and excellent special effects.

The Cabin in the Woods 2011

At first glance this seems like the typical horror movie fare. An overly attractive group of young college students are heading to someone’s cabin for a weekend getaway. In the isolated and run-down cabin the students get down to the business of partying. Pretty standard stuff.

However, paralleling all of this are scenes from some sort of facility staffed by hundreds. They are watching, planning and directing everything that is happening to the students. These guys are great and supply most of the comedy and atmosphere for the movie. The facility is full of experienced jaded pros complaining about other departments, taking bets, bragging about their past victories, trash talking and making fun of their coworkers. You start to get the feeling something bigger is going on here.

Choosing the horror trope

As night falls, we see them taking last bets on the office pool in front of a board that has options for almost every horror trope you can think of like sexy witches, hell lord, wraiths and a whole lot more. They also explain to the disapproving new guy how the game is rigged as much as they can make it. However, in the end the students must make the choice themselves or it doesn’t work.

Back at the cabin the kids are drinking and messing around helped along we now know by all sorts of chemicals, pheromones, and spiked drinks crafted to manipulate them into a specific scenario. They notice a door that leads into an unknown basement. When they all pile down the hatch in the floor the place is wall to wall creepy stuff. They all pick up or look at different items including a diary one of the girls opens and starts to read. It tells about a zombie redneck torture family complete with a warning and Latin incantation she reads. The choice has been made.

Back at the office everyone is cheering or complaining as the office betting pool pays off to the winners. On the cameras behind them we see the zombies rise from the ground and head for the cabin. Things start as they do in these situations, the zombies begin picking off the kids while the office dwellers do all they can to help the situation progress normally. It is a gleeful gore fest with a fun cameo from our favorite Alien survivor Sigourney Weaver.

Will the students figure out what's going on? Will anyone survive? Love it or hate it, I do both sometimes; this is a fun must-see movie that tips horror tropes upside down.

More apocalypse flicks

Take a look at these and other fun scary movies you may have missed. Don’t forget to check out Hoopla where streaming titles are always available free with your library card!

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