News Column

'This Is the End': L.A. Takes on Apocalypse (Again)

June 12, 2013

YellowBrix

Seth Rogen's raunchy comedy "This Is the End," which opens Wednesday, is the latest entry in a long line of apocalyptic films set in Los Angeles that includes 1991's "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and 2009's "Terminator Salvation."

Here are some other end-of-the-world examples that run the gamut from comedies to sci-fi epics to zombie thrillers:

"Night of the Comet" (1984)

Thom Eberhardt directed this sci-fi, horror, zombie, apocalypse, comedy and romance story about what happens when the tail of a comet -- the same comet that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years earlier -- passes by Earth. Catherine Mary Stewart plays a teenager working at a movie theater in Southern California who has sex with her boyfriend in the theater's steel-lined projection booth the night of the comet. The next morning they discover the landscape is caked in red dust and there are no signs of life save for -- you got it -- zombies.

"Miracle Mile" (1988)

Another cult fave that tanked when it was released, this Steve De Jarnatt thriller stars Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham as a young couple who meet and fall madly in love at the La Brea Tar Pits. But true love is thwarted when the young man gets a call saying a nuclear war has erupted and the missiles will hit L.A. in just over an hour.

"The War of the Worlds" (1953)

Martians make mincemeat of Los Angeles -- especially the iconic City Hall building -- in this classic sci-fi thriller based on the H.G. Wells novel. It was produced by George Pal and stars Gene Barry and Ann Robinson. The film won an Oscar for its special effects.

"The Omega Man" (1971)

Films don't come any campier than this Boris Sagal-directed adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1954 novel, "I Am Legend." A very un-Moses-like Charlton Heston plays a U.S. Army colonel who injects himself with an experimental vaccine that saves him from the effects of biological warfare that annihilates most of the world. In typical Los Angeles fashion, the survivors of the plague, who have transformed into albino nocturnal mutants, join a cult called the Family led by a former news anchor (Anthony Zerbe). While cruising L.A. knocking off these pesky mutants, Heston discovers he's not the only human still left in the City of Angels.

"Panic in the Year Zero" (1962)

Oscar-winning actor Ray Milland ("The Lost Weekend") stars in and directed this Cold War thriller abut a family who leaves Los Angeles for a camping trip in a secluded location only to hear that thermonuclear war has begun. As lawlessness prevails, Milland turns into a Rambo in order for his family to survive.

"Zombieland" (2009)

Ruben Fleischer directed this clever comedy starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg about survivors of a zombie apocalypse who go on a cross-country road trip to find a zombie-free area. In Hollywood, they hang out with Bill Murray at his mansion. He's managed to survive being turned into a zombie by disguising himself as one.

"The Rapture" (1991)

Michael Tolkin ("The Player") wrote and directed this intense 1991 drama about a hedonistic Los Angeles woman (Mimi Rogers) who becomes a born-again Christian upon learning that the Rapture is near.

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