As I considered the scope of the blog, I decided to open the focus up to included other texts beyond film. While I will still try to largely focus on films, I’d like to at least consider film and other media contemporary the films under examination. For example, I can place The Day of Triffids along side Invasion of Body Snatchers in order to discuss the similarities in concepts of nature/plant based ‘enemy’ or threats in the 1950’s.
However, one of the first things I read in journal articles specifically about concepts of the apocalypse is an attempt to define, or limit the scope, of the term as it applies to the author’s project in that particular article. This makes perfect sense — and I will need to do the same basic thing — however the idea of limiting or defining the concept of an (or THE) apocalypse is not an easy task. It’s a task that deserves whole reams of academic and pop-culture writing, hours of documentaries/pod-casts, etc.
As such, I am going to go with the ‘simplest definition’ I can — and this is not drawn from a dictionary or some academic work anywhere — it’s just my own thoughts and it applies to, predominantly secular, Western cultural portrayals of the apocalypse. The apocalypse is as follows:
- It is an end
- May be total — end of all life on Earth
- May be partial — with little life surviving
- If partial, results in a lasting regression which may result in a some sort of rebuilding, for example the book Earth Abides
- It is presumed to be global in nature
- Such that it doesn’t impact a single group, but impacts all (for example, in this definition The Holocaust was not an apocalypse, but rather a horrible genocide, whereas an asteroid hitting earth and wiping the dinosaurs would be considered an apocalypse — at least as far as the dinosaurs were concerned.
I am sure there could be a more succinct definition that doesn’t leave so many potential holes/areas of interpretation in my definition. However, I wanted to keep idea more vague to allow for a larger set of possible depictions in different texts.
I hope to have an examination of two movies, both named “End of the World” posted in the week or two.