As if there aren’t enough ways to die.
On top of the usual stuff that can kill you like smoking, drinking, poor diet, traffic accidents and plain old age, the movie-making industry seem hell bent on pointing out several other scenarios that could see the population of Earth decimated, or at the very least hundreds of thousands dead.
Today I hope to identify some of the umm… less likely things that might happen, along with the likely body count and the chances of this ever happening.
The Film: Pontypool
The Cause: Certain words and sounds have become ‘infected’, resulting in the listener becoming an inadvertent carrier. Those listening to the radio or television are obviously exposed to more phrases and therefore more susceptible.
To exacerbate this the film is set in a talkback radio station.
The Effect: The infected become agitated and unpredictably violent, though most of the violence occurs offscreen. My ‘go to phrase’ in the film was when an onlooker described certain people as ‘trying to find someone to suicide into’.
That could mean an awful lot of things if you think about it… none of them nice.
Likely Bodycount: Look if it could actually happen the repercussions could be incredible. Imagine the aftermath of the Oprah finale. She could singlehandedly turn every woman on the planet into a mindless killing machine; of course I think Oprah already has that power to begin with.
OK bad example.
Essentially though anyone with a TV or radio worldwide is very susceptible, so even if the virus was only active for a short span of time that could wipe out everyone bar remote pygmy tribes in the deepest jungles, monks taking a group vow of silence, and nerdish guys locked in the basement playing video games for months on end.
Chances of happening: Ummm… infected words???
The Film: The Signal
The Cause: Similar to Pontypool, people exposed to electronic devices become suddenly and randomly violent.
The Effect: Aside from a pretty shitty one-note movie, the same as Pontypool again, though without the subtle nuances and creative handling.
Likely Bodycount: Again anyone with a TV, radio or even a mobile phone. Only people in their 90s who have run out of batteries for their ‘wireless’ might survive the initial onslaught.
Chances of happening: This actually very nearly happened to me recently when I decided to check out Two and a Half Men to see why anyone gave a fuck that Charlie Sheen had lost the plot. I wanted to kill someone and claw out my own eyes.
The Film: The Happening
The Cause: The wind carries microscopic stuff that causes those who inhale it to become instantly suicidal.
The Effect: Mass suicide to anyone outdoors. The last straw for many ticket buyers where M. Night Shyamalan is concerned…
Likely Bodycount: It’s pretty hard to outrun the wind. Boys in bubbles would be OK I guess, but would find it hard to commence global repopulation…
Chances of happening: The scary part is that this could conceivably happen, I mean a lot of viruses are actually airborne, one day it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that one of them might prove particularly nasty to humankind. (Doesn’t mean that there is a decent film in the concept though.)
The Cause: A virus emanating from Africa crosses oceans to the USA – meaning NOW we are supposed to care – in a carrier monkey.
The Effect: Only severe bleeding and the liquefying of internal organs, same stuff that would happen to me if I was exposed to a Lady GaGa concert.
Likely Bodycount: Again airborne stuff or anything passed by random body contact would in reality be catastrophic (in Contagion I think it ran into the hundred millions?), and if Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan got it then no-one would be safe, those skanks get everywhere and touch everything.
Chances of happening: Like The Happening there is enough going on at biological level on the planet to suggest that eventually something will mix with something else to form something altogether entirely. Perhaps something quite nasty indeed.
The Films: Scads: Rec 1&2 / The Crazies / Twelve Monkeys / Children of Men / I am Legend / 28 Days Later / 28 Weeks Later / Daybreakers / Doomsday / Night, Dawn, Day of the Dead / Resident Evil, I could go on… The Horde?
The Cause: You name it really. Quite often directly created by an inadvertent act of science. Equally as frequent is my preferred option: no reason given.
The Effect: Can you say Zomb-pocalypse? Probably not. Essentially the dead rise to feast upon the living, with gloriously over the top gore effects and oodles of blood the only certainty.
Likely Bodycount: This is one cause that I think can be contained. Assuming the initial occurrence was a one-off, and that the infected were your standard ‘braaaaaaiiiiinnnnns’ shufflers – I can’t see why someone couldn’t live around them for a while, if they were careful of course.
Chances of happening: I would strongly suggest this as less likely than your viruses and diseases that effect the living, and that’s kinda why zombie movies are generally so much more fun. Zombies can be carved, battered and exploded on a guilt free basis – hey they were already dead anyway!
The Cause: Bugs people. Giant, gross disgusting bugs hell bent on penetrating your outer defences and sucking back your sweet, sweet innards, probably before using the remaining shell as some form of cocoon for their offspring.
The Effect: A fair degree of pain for the afflicted, especially if you have more innards than the normal person. The good thing is that – unlike head lice or termites – with giant bugs there is a fair chance you can see the suckers coming and prep the Mortein.
Likely Bodycount: To be truthful this would have to be incredibly low, I would think little kids and a bowls club or two might bear the brunt, but after the remaining 6 odd billion of us became aware the chances of severe loss would be low.
Chances of happening: Maybe if we wait a few hundred thousand years for bugs to evolve and gradually grow, but in that case shame on us for not noticing sooner. The odds of a superbug growing overnight are as likely as a radioactive spider biting a person and giving him superhero powers.
The Cause: Ummm, global war or vast nuclear strikes, probably brought about by differences in opinion caused by religion, politics or plain stubborness.
The Effect: Mutation (hopefully not of the froggy kind), immense loss of life, radiation, looting and roaming hordes of psycho killers. Collect the whole set kids!
Likely Bodycount: Depends who starts shit. If it’s Latvia most of us should be OK. If it’s one of the Big Boys – or a little Boy with ego issues and connections – we’re pretty much rooted.
Chances of happening: Depends on the environment, thankfully the last couple years have seen a great reduction in tyrannical dictators and megalomaniacs, but where power and ego is concerned you can never tell.
I can tell you it will happen at one point, hopefully hundreds of years in the future and on a small scale.
The Film: Killer Klowns from Outer Space
The Cause: As the title so succinctly suggests evil (and mis-spelt) clowns arrive from deep space.
The Effect: Various circus related fatalities, none of which were remotely funny, meaning that there is no other possibility than the fact that they are absolutely real.
Likely Bodycount: I think less than a dozen in the film, but the potential for global havoc is simply enormous.
Chances of happening: Might I get serious here for a second people. It might be stating the obvious but as I and millions of others see it this is the greatest threat humanity has ever seen. It is a near certainty that these evil fuckers will soon arrive to wreak their multi-coloured blend of anarchy across the globe. It was foretold in the Mayan calendar (probably) and I for one am already petrified.
You should be too…
110% I’m amazed it hasn’t already happened.
Watch the skies people. And look both ways before crossing the street…