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Surviving The End of the World: What We've Learned From Movies

Congratulations! The end of days is here! Bet you wish you'd spent a little more time in devotion to the organized religion of your choice, don't you?

It' too late now, though, and as the world comes to its bitter end, plan your next step carefully. The choices you make in the near future will determine whether you end up as an embittered, struggling survivor, or a mourned member of the deceased masses. So look around, takes notes, and let our cinephiliac tendencies become your salvation as civilization falls to shambles around you.

Is your former bucolic small town/major urban center now dead and deserted? Does the scent of decaying flesh hang over the local mall just a tad more than usual? Is the social commentary so heavy and thick that you would need a chainsaw hand to cut through it? Guess what! You're in…

A Classic Night of the Living Dead Zombie Plague Outbreak

Now, if our research has taught us anything, it' that when the zombie apocalypse finally does come, the first 30 minutes of it will be spent in utter, moronic ignorance. "What are these creatures?!" scared civilians everywhere will shout. "If only these monsters had been the basis for an over-mined cinematic sub-genre over the past 20 years, we would know exactly how to respond!"

It' 2007, people. If you don't know what to do when your neighbors start shambling around and getting all bitey, you probably deserve to die. Still, we'll spell it out for you one last time: hole up somewhere safe. Don't get eaten. Aim for the head. Also, don't bother worrying about the near-genocidal numbers of undead you'll be wasting. The great thing about zombies is that they're the post-modern equivalent of Nazis-you can kill as many as you want, and nobody bats an eye.

Further Research: There isn't enough space on the Internet to list all the zombie movies made in the last 30 years. However, besides the follow-ups and new classics (see: Dead, Dawn/Day/Land of; 28

Has humanity' wonton disregard for the environment finally caught up with it? Is a formally plentiful non-renewable resource finally running out, and are pieces of S&M gear the new Gap khakis? Are the Jews probably responsible for the whole mess? Mazel tov! It's…

A Mad Max Gasoline-Starved Societal Breakdown

So the temperature is rising, most of the world' landmass is slowly turning to desert, and you need a new wardrobe. We've got one word for you, post-apocalyptic bargain shopper: leather. And lots of it. But wait, wouldn't some loose linens or some sort of easy-breathe nylon be much more comfortable in such arid climes? Perhaps. All I'm saying is you're going to have a hard time getting people to call you "Lord Humungus" in seersucker.

However, before you become too fixated the mental image of a desert warlord dressed as a gentleman Southern lawyer, let us remember that it' not truly a Mad Max apocalypse without everybody' favorite: creepy little feral kids! Whether they're attacking you with improvised, metal boomerangs, or growling because they never had the chance to learn human speech, our advice when it comes to these prosecutably adorable tykes is pretty much the same as our policy on zombies: shoot first, don't really care enough to ask questions later.

Further Research: Since Mad Max, on the budget of a Confederate nickel, grossed monocle-and-top-hat money, it predictably spawned dozens of forgettable rip-offs. So while you're not short on choices, the genuine item is still the only one really worth watching.

Does it turn out that Eisenhower was right, and that international politics is just a big ol' game of dominoes? Is Gorbachev chomping down on cheeseburgers at the local malt shop? Is (God help us all) Yakov Smirnoff relevant again? Congratulations, comrade, you've found yourself in…

A Surprisingly Implausible Red Dawn Soviet Occupation of American Soil

Okay, so it isn't technically the end of the world. But hell, in an alternate timeline that conceivably precludes the creation of both specialty Internet pornography and Kelly Clarkson, is existence really worth it? Regardless, the Soviets are here, and, thanks to a strange twist of events and an overreaching scriptwriter, you and your high school buddies are the last line of defense.

So forget for a second that, unless the United States military suddenly developed a crippling vulnerability to homemade vodka and dead livestock, a post-1980 Russian invasion was about as likely as the Ewok' victory at the end of Jedi. You're about to become a true-blue American hero, and your girlfriend is a pre-nose job Jennifer Grey. Things are looking pretty good, not counting the whole "end of the American way of life as we know it" bit. Go Wolverines!

Further Research: Just as enthralling as any fictional account of communist infiltration is the real paranoid two-stepping America did around the issue throughout most of the '50s and '60s. For real entertainment value, check out Joe McCarthy' scenery-chewing turn as a man on a mission of freedom in the McCarthy Hearings.

Are large, menacing craft of unearthly construct suddenly appearing everywhere? Does their invasion strategy seem based around destroying famous landmarks in scenes of budget-wrecking pyrotechnics? Well, probe my anus, it's…

A Poorly Thought Out Independence Day Alien Invasion

Oh no! They blew up the White House! How will we ever function without the effective and intelligent leadership of our executive branch? What extremely integral segment of our civic leadership will these monsters attack next? Mount Rushmore?

Don't worry. It' fine that you're not mourning our nation' losses, and instead secretly rejoicing that you probably won't have to file another tax return for the better part of a decade. Oh, and extinction of the human race? Fuhgeddaboudit. Whether it' not getting a flu shot, forgetting to upgrade from Windows '95, or (it' even embarrassing to write) being water soluble, seemingly invincible alien invaders always have some hideously glaring Achilles' Heel. So cancel the vacation to your major monument of choice, count to 42, and don't panic—everything will resolve itself in an appropriately ludicrous fashion soon enough.

Further Research: Although invaders range from the poorly vaccinated (War of the Worlds) to the hydrophobic (Signs), the most genius (maybe even plausible) are our cosmic neighbors in Mars Attacks, and their unique vulnerability to yodeling.

Is the weatherman calling for cloudy skies with a chance of large, existence-ending hunks of rock? Does Earth suddenly seem less like a tender mother, and more like your girlfriend on day three? Is Bruckheimer producing? Holy tent-pole flick, Batman, it's…

A Geologically Catastrophic Armageddon

"Damn, we're kick-ass. You know, it took us a few hundred thousand years, but I think we've finally got this whole dominant species act figured out. Hey, what' that up there in the-" That, according to the most recent archaeological records, was the last recorded LiveJournal entry of the Cretaceous period. It was by a Stegosaurus. His favorite band was Fall Out Boy, and his current mood was listed as "quixotic."

But we digress. The point is, as stable as our planet may seem, statisticians with large government grants have proven that there is, at any given moment, a 73 percent chance that a massive geological disaster will wipe out life as we know it before week' end. Luckily, though, there' usually a plucky cast of slumming A-list celebrities with a plan. A plan that is so crazy, so scientifically complex (but, luckily, explainable through idiotically simple metaphor) that it just might work. Still, beyond betting the future of the species on a guy who' had his personal assistant tie his shoes for the past 10 years, opt out of that time-share in Miami and head for the Midwest. Don't worryâ€"chances are, you'll have that waterfront property back soon enough.

Further Research: Both The Day After Tomorrow and Deep Impact feature plenty of over-the-top images of nature kicking the shit out of humanity. However, for real entertainment, check out The Core, in which Hilary Swank mustâ€"wait for it—restart the center of the Earth. By nuking it.

Hey, don't look at us—science is science.

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