Interest | Art & Culture

Why Do We Love Apocalyptic Movies

Sabtu, 22 Jan 2022 16:00 WIB
Why Do We Love Apocalyptic Movies
Foto: Unsplash Timo Volz
Jakarta -

From zombie outbreaks, contagious viruses, comet threats heading to Earth to the massive scale of ecosystem collapse, apocalyptic movies have provided various scenarios of our demise. My favorite one was 2012, not because the movie portrays the most cliched version of an apocalypse (tsunamis, earthquakes, the world drowning, etc.), but because I remember how thrilling it was to watch our world destroyed while people are still wondering if the Mayan prophecy was going to happen.

Well, it didn't happen after all. But the movie was very entertaining. From romance-filled dystopian movies like Hunger Games to sci-fi movies like The Day the Earth Stood Still, to dark comedy movies like The World's End, apocalyptic movies attracted numerous audiences. But why are people so drawn to watch the destruction of our world?

According to Wes Burdine, a Ph.D. candidate of literature at the University of Minnesota, apocalyptic movies forced us out of our comfort zone and into something more heroic. It's not the end of the world that we crave, but what comes after the end of the world. Apocalyptic narratives allow us to imagine our world being reborn, with us having a second chance to rebuild it from scratch.

After all, the apocalypse came from the Greek word apok√°lypsis, which means 'revelation'. And that's the thing with apocalyptic movies, it always comes down to what happens after the world ends. Not only do they show the struggle when the crisis starts, but also the change it brings; society collapse, a small group of people controlling the entire population, change of state hierarchy, food crisis, and so on.

Talking about apocalyptic movies means talking about the pandemic. A survey in Britain shows that one in four people watched post-apocalyptic movies during the pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic was the closest we ever got to a real-life apocalypse. 72 percent of them who watched this type of movie said that they 'cope' better during the quarantine.

Watching apocalyptic movies during an apocalyptic condition serves as a coping mechanism. According to Jo Hemmings, a behavioral psychologist, watching apocalyptic movies could make the viewers anticipate the worst-case scenario and help them deal with the fear they experience during a crisis. Apocalyptic movies also provide reassurance that everything will be okay in the end.

So far, we know people are attracted to apocalyptic movies for myriads of reasons, from craving revelation to coping mechanisms. For me, it was because I want to imagine what would be like when the world is in chaos? Will I survive? What changes await after the destruction? Perhaps, I crave it because I don't feel satisfied with the world we live in, and I longed for sudden, drastic change. Whatever the reason, apocalyptic movies will always be one of my favorite genres.

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