These days, there’s no shortage of dystopian movies that deal with the idea of society gone wrong, but if there’s one genre horror fans seem to enjoy even more, it’s post-apocalyptic movies where civilization has ended all together. For a few years now it’s been difficult to avoid zombie apocalypse television shows even if you wanted to, with the theme even having crossed to comedy with The Last Man on Earth, while at the box office the Mad Max franchise continues to thrive.
So, what are the best post-apocalyptic movies of all time? Let’s take a look.
3. Stalker (1979)
When it comes to horror in post-apocalyptic movies, perhaps the scariest elements are those that actually came true. The best example of this is Stalker, a Russian sci-fi movie that takes place in a ruined industrial area known as the Zone. In this devastated Zone, Stalker (Aleksandr Kaidanovsky), Writer (Anatoli Solonitsyn) and Professor (Nikolai Grinko) search for a mysterious room that can apparently fulfil wishes.
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and written by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, Stalker is haunting, to say the least. Especially after the 1986 Chernobyl Power Plant exploded, creating the Zone of Alienation. Spooky, huh?
2. Planet of the Apes (1968)
Based on the 1963 science fiction phenomenon La Planete des Singes by French novelist Pierre Boulle, the original Planet of the Apes is perhaps the most surprisingly successful franchise of all time. After all, the first movie is based in a world where apes have enslaved humans and have their own primitive society, which sounds like a mad idea at first. However, according to an infographic created by 888poker, the odds of an ape uprising are 1/4600, which is actually less likely than the odds where on Leicester City winning the Premier League in 2016, which actually happened!
In the film that started it all, Charlton Heston stars as American astronaut George Taylor who somehow ends up on a post-apocalyptic Earth and must save his fellow humans. The screenplay was co-written by Rod Sterling, creator of The Twilight Zone, which may be just one of the reasons why Planet of the Apes continues to influence cinema to this day.
1. Mad Max (1979)
Finally, we couldn’t possibly write a list of the best post-apocalyptic picks of all time without mentioning the ultimate futuristic, post-civilization nightmare that is George Miller’s Mad Max. You could argue that this franchise has more dystopian themes, but as it influenced pop culture so heavily it simply can’t be ignored.
In the Australian outback, many of the few remaining humans have gone rogue, terrorising the regular citizens as biker gangs and scavengers. The only group that can put a stop to these rebels is the Main Force Patrol, or more specifically Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson). As the movie begins, Max wants nothing more than to retire but when Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and his gang kill Max’s family, all he has on his mind is revenge.
There you have it, perhaps the best three post-apocalyptic movies of all time. Other honourable mentions go to Escape From New York (1981), The Road (2009), The Book of Eli (2010) and, of course, Wall–E (2008). As always, if you’ve got some movie suggestions for your fellow Popcorn Horror fans leave them in the comments below, or let us know if we’ve missed out a movie.