The Best End of the World Movies You've Never Seen

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we take a look at some of the best movies you’ve probably never seen about the end of the world as we know it.)

Geostorm hits theaters this week, and if you’re not even a little bit excited then I have to assume you’re dead inside. Gerard Butler shoots storm fronts in the head and kicks tornadoes in the crotch… what’s not to love?! The film promises some of that good old fashioned Roland Emmerich-esque nuttiness, blending massive amounts of CG destruction, an ensemble cast of somewhat recognizable faces, and some poor shmuck’s sacrifice in an effort to save what’s left of humanity. (My money’s on Butler as the shmuck.)

Of course, not all end of the world movies are traditional disaster films. Some destroy cities like Emmerich’s 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow. Some focus on a handful of people fueled by rumor but reacting as if it were fact (Miracle Mile). Some unleash a viral plague that wipes out most of mankind (28 Days Later). And some feature massive demon with giant… Err, some are This Is the End. The common thread between them, whether they feature massive amounts of destruction or not, is the suggestion or reality that humanity is on the way out or at least in store for a world-changing shake up.

Keep reading for a look at six terrific movies you probably haven’t seen about the end of the world as we know it.

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Saul Bass is widely known for his work as an artist, title designer, and corporate logo craftsman. His movie posters and title work for films such as The Man With the Golden Arm, Anatomy of a Murder and many movies by Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese cemented his ideas as cornerstones of cinematic storytelling and advertising. The logos and icons he designed for companies such as Quaker Oats, the United Way, AT&T, and Girl Scouts of America all defined those companies’ public image for years.

Saul Bass also directed one feature film: a very strange and wonderful sci-fi picture called Phase IV, in which a colony of ants evolves into a collective hive mind. When two humans begin investigating the ants’ desert home, the insects go on the offensive. The ants are played by real insects, shot with beautiful macro photography, and the film is defined by a sci-fi ethos that is somewhere between “hardcore” and “dreamlike.”

Which is to say, Phase IV isn’t a traditional film. It prioritizes image over dialogue and is a pure expression of Bass’ design interests. The movie has had a lasting influence on other designers (you can see its influence in other sci-fi, in comics and on album covers) but it originally ended in a way different than what most audiences have seen. And now that original ending is making its way to the public. Read More »