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When I was a child I was fearless when it came to the woes facing the world. My fears dealt more with issues at school or being embarrassed because I did something stupid. Nuclear destruction or devastation from natural forces barely crossed my mind other than a certain fascination with those things. Disasters such as these were movie themes or fantasies in my head. Nothing to be concerned about or of which to be afraid.
Even though in school we regularly had disaster duck and cover drills, the concept was far from any reality in my mind. Even during the tension of the Cuban Missile Crisis, hiding under my desk periodically in preparation for the bombs to come or hearing the ominous sounds of the air raid sirens that were tested precisely at noon one Friday each month did not instill trembling within me. On the contrary the drills and exercises were fuel for fantasy rather than a reminder of the reality of any threat to my existence.
During the fifties and sixties I developed a curiosity and edgy enjoyment regarding things that should reasonably instill fear and dread in most of us. A part of me longed to see giant mutated insects, prehistoric beasts, or monstrous entities roaming my neighborhood and destroying the city in which we lived. An atomic bomb detonated in some nearby city seemed like an interesting possibility.
When I was in junior high school I read John Hersey's Hiroshima--a true account of the first use of the atom bomb on a city. The book impacted me, yet still did not frighten me in any way. If anything, reading the book made me even more curious about the horrors of a major disaster. My interest wouldn't necessarily translate into any strong desire to experience actual horror, but I did have a deep seated interest in the subject.
Since childhood I've had an interest in the topic of world annihilation and that continues to this day. Judging from the popularity of apocalyptic and dystopian genres I'm not the only one. The B sci-fi movies of the 1950's have become in more recent times big budget extravaganzas as well as intriguing low cost indie films. More than one television show has addressed the topic in varying ways from the serious to the comedic. Apocalypse, death, and destruction seem to translate into big money.
Do you think many people in our time have a societal death wish of sorts? Do you enjoy films in the genres that center around fear and oblivion? Do you have any favorite apocalyptic or catastrophically themed films?