Best Doomsday Scenarios

Friday, November 13, 2009 at 5:46 pm
By Shane Rivers

With the release of 2012, I started pondering the best doomsday scenarios available to mankind. While some of these require effort on our part (just keep driving those Hummers), others can up and occur all on their own. But whether they’re natural or man-made, each of these entries is guaranteed to give the human race an impressive send-off. And if you’re gonna go, why not go in style?

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nuclear-blastMethod of Destruction: Nuclear War
Where It Happened: Panic in Year Zero!, Fail-Safe, On the Beach, The Day After, Dr. Strangelove
The Lowdown: Of all the best doomsday scenarios listed, this is the one most likely to wipe out humanity in our lifetime. Sure, global warming isn’t exactly helping the world, but it’ll take a lot longer to work its destructive magic than a sky filled with ICBMs. There’s something inherently primal and terrifying about the sight of a nuclear explosion, even if it’s all done with CGI effects. That’s because, unlike zombies and alien invasions, the real thing is just one bad day away. And that’s not even taking into account the fallout and wholesale anarchy which awaits any “lucky” survivors. Yes, I realize these entries are supposed to be somewhat comedic, but nuclear war is no joke.
The Moral of the Story: Not all scientific developments are positive.
Method of Escape: Establish world peace or start digging a really deep hole. If you choose the latter, be sure to load up on shotgun shells, radiation sickness pills, and plenty of canned beans.

Method of Destruction: Solar Disasters
Where It Happened: Knowing, Sunshine, The Day the Earth Caught Fire
The Lowdown: The Sun, also known as Sol, provides our little ball of dirt with life-sustaining light and heat, but what happens when it emits a massive solar flare or decides to up and burn out completely? Answer: the human race is up shit creek without a paddle. The balance is so delicate that either too much or not enough sunlight would be disastrous and totally irreversible. In the movies, there’s always a chance that you can load up a ship with a group of courageous scientists, but that’s not gonna fly in the real world. As the sun goes, so go we all.
The Moral of the Story: Every morning when you get up, pray that the sun is still shining. If it’s not, throw away the condoms and blow all your cash on hookers.
Method of Escape: You can try adjusting the thermostat, but you’re ultimately screwed.

zombie-apocalypseMethod of Destruction: Zombie Apocalypse
Where It Happened: Resident Evil, Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland
The Lowdown: Imagine waking up one morning to find your neighbor clawing at your backdoor, a vacant look in his eyes and his mouth caked with blood. If you’re lucky, he’s one of the weak, slow-moving zombies from the single-minded imagination of George Romero. But if Fate has picked this particular day to be a total bitch, then he might be a lighting-quick Zach Snyder version or one of the Rage-infected nutjobs from 28 Days Later. Whatever the case, a doomsday scenario involving zombies is about as messy an option as possible. While a giant comet slamming into the planet will end things nice and quick, a zombie apocalypse is going to be filled with all manner of biting, screaming, and bloodthirsty acquaintances. And to top it all off, anyone not killed by the initial wave of terror will also have to contend with survivors driven to madness and desperation. Then again, maybe you’re a-hole neighbor had it coming.
The Moral of the Story: When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth.
Method of Escape: Shoot ‘em in the head.

Method of Destruction: Mother Nature
Where It Happened: The Happening, 2012, The Birds, Volcano, Dante’s Peak, Waterworld, The Day After Tomorrow
The Lowdown: In recent years, Mother Nature has been reduced to the equivalent of a rape victim, pinned down while humanity has its way with her. But if the movies are any indication, all that could change at any moment. Maybe the planet’s birds will decide to go on an eyeball-pecking rampage, or perhaps it’ll be destruction by earthquakes, volcanoes, or mass flooding. Frankly, it’s kinda scary to think of all the weapons that Mother Nature has at her disposal.
The Moral of the Story: Payback is a bitch.
Method of Escape: Build an ark or hope that those aliens who saved Nic Cage’s kid will put in an appearance.

alien-invasionMethod of Destruction: Alien Invasion
Where It Happened: Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Andromeda Strain, Mars Attacks!, Independence Day, The Thing, The Mist, War of the WorldsThe Lowdown: Why can’t those damned aliens just leave us alone? It’s not like we don’t already have enough problems without freaky-looking invaders coming to take over the planet. Granted, sometimes we bring it on ourselves with our warlike nature and curiosity about nearby dimensions, but other cases are just completely uncalled for. And what possible reason could there be for grafting Sarah Jessica Parker’s head onto the body of a dog?!
The Moral of the Story: Visitors from outer space never have good intentions. Kill them on sight.
Method of Escape: It always helps when the alien invaders don’t have the sense to realize our atmosphere is poisonous to them. You’d think a race that can master laser weapons and giant robots wouldn’t overlook that rather important detail.

Method of Destruction: Asteroids and Comets
Where It Happened: Deep Impact, Armageddon, Night of the CometThe Lowdown: In 1908, it’s believed that part of a meteor or comet exploded somewhere between three and six miles above the Earth’s surface over Russia. Known as the Tunguska Event, the explosion knocked down 80 million trees and was estimated to be 1,000 more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. And that was just a chunk of an asteroid. Imagine if the whole enchilada came crashing into our favorite planet. Many scientists also believe that a similar event 65.5 million years ago was responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. Anything that’s bad enough to wipe out those clever little Velociraptors is something to be both feared and respected.
The Moral of the Story: With all the asteroids and comets flying around, the universe seems like a giant bowling alley. Let’s hope God doesn’t pick up the spare.
Method of Escape: Send a crew of blue-collar types to nuke the approaching asteroid. The presence of a Hollywood action hero only increases your chances. If that doesn’t work, blame the black president.

terminator-robotMethod of Destruction: Robots and Computers
Where It Happened: Terminator, Colossus: The Forbin Project, I Robot
The Lowdown: Computers and artificial beings are created to make man’s life more convenient. After all, why should thousands of people have to waste their time overseeing the world’s nuclear stockpile when a single, intelligent computer could perform the same task? Nevermind the fact that the computer is sure to achieve sentience and launch a preemptive strike. The same goes for robots and androids tasked with cleaning our toilets and looking after our children. Sure, these creations can bend steel like paper and perform mental feats that make Einstein look like a douchebag, but who could ever imagine that they’d turn on their masters? Don’t the people in movies ever watch movies?
The Moral of the Story: When you turn over all the important work to robots and computers, you forfeit the right to sit at the top of the food chain.
Method of Escape: If a super computer is causing the problem, try checking the wall for a power cord to unplug. And if all else fails, start looking for a cheeky youth who’s been prophesized as the savior of mankind. If the kid isn’t available, start searching for a dour-looking Christian Bale.

Method of Destruction: Insanity-Inducing Transmissions
Where It Happened: The Signal
The Lowdown: Anyone who turns on the radio, watches TV, or gets a whiff of any electronic signal will go stark raving mad within minutes. Sure, these victims will think their subsequent actions make perfect sense, but that’s little consolation when you’ve been clubbed to death or had a fatal dose of pesticide sprayed into your mouth. And unlike zombies, these infected can drive cars, fire guns, and presumably fire off a nuclear salvo.
The Moral of the Story: Read a book.
Method of Escape: Get back to basics in an isolated cabin. Be sure to bring a dog and plenty of nudie magazines.

end-of-daysMethod of Destruction: The Forces of Hell
Where It Happened: Prince of Darkness, In the Mouth of Madness, End of Days, The Omen, Left Behind: The Movie
The Lowdown: The forces of evil are always lurking and waiting for their chance to rampage across the planet. In this scenario, they finally get their way. Whether they take the form of gibbering monstrosities from the mind of Lovecraft or horned devils from the Bible, there’s little doubt that mortal man could stand to their fury. Those who aren’t eaten or driven mad might at least get a cool tattoo out of the deal.
The Moral of the Story: Evil is inevitable and eternal. It’s also very dramatic, wears lots of black, and often isn’t too bright.
Method of Escape: Stop it from happening, as it’ll be too late once things get rolling. To do this, you’ll most likely need a secret order of devil-slaying priests, a professor from Miskatonic University, or the wholesome goodness of Kirk Cameron.

Method of Destruction: Dragons
Where It Happened: Reign of Fire
The Lowdown: Imagine if the skies were suddenly blackened by hoards of gigantic, flame-spewing dragons. Sure, the militaries of the world would put up one helluva fight, but they would ultimately be overwhelmed by the hungry beasts. And then the nukes would be brought out, only making a bad situation even worse. Forget about some knight with a sword fixing this problem; the planet is toast. One of the best doomsday scenarios I can think of, and also one of the most outlandish.
The Moral of the Story: Unfortunately, sometimes fairy tales are true.
Method of Escape: Slay the lone male dragon, preferably with something other than a battle axe. If Christian Bale is handy, convince him to do it (no matter how much he scowls).