What Hollywood Taught Me About the Apocalypse

Mariette Papic
3 min readOct 5, 2021


Some of it is worse than you think

Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash

I know too many Hollywood movies can destroy a mind, especially if you take them in fast succession. Sometimes though, you have to go on a crash course of all the things you once avoided.

I like movies, don’t get me wrong, but I usually avoid anything with certain apocalypse keywords like “zombie,” “dead,” or “revenge of.” You get the picture. I do like sci-fi but even there I sit somewhere between careful with my psyche, and being a plain old (boring) snob.

So somehow it happened that I watched all these movies that I normally wouldn’t. First, with a guide, I started with the science fiction remakes that were set in dystopias. We then dove deep into AI thrillers. We finally arrived at the no holds barred post apocalypse downers where water is hidden and rationed.

Without mentioning names, or plot lines per se, I think I learned some things that Hollywood in all its early 2000s gore, schmaltz and desensitization, got right, and why that matters. In fact, I should say it probably matters right now too, because depending on your geo-graphic location you might be experiencing apocalyptic conditions.

  1. Count your blessings today, for tomorrow you might lose them. This is a signature of the apocalypse: suddenly all the basics are luxuries.
  2. Expect the government to lie to you during the apocalypse. Expect it and don’t act hurt, it will only cost you time.
  3. Expect people to burn books. Don’t be one of those people.
  4. No matter what you will need allies. That most annoying person in your social circle is now your lifeline. Practice your social skills.
  5. Choose how you treat people wisely, still expect some betrayal.
  6. Everything evolves. Zombies created from viruses or from escaped military lab experiments evolve and so should you.
  7. Learn how to generate your own power. Live wires are ultimately more useful and powerful than bullets. Good lights also keep the baddies away.
  8. Grow your own food and learn how to make it long lasting and portable. Otherwise you will be spending your last days eating dry baked goods made of cheap sugar and low quality fat.
  9. The last shall be first and they may try to eat you. Understand that the days of term life insurance for 99 cents a month are in the rearview mirror. Expect that as a human you are no longer on the very tippy top of the food chain.
  10. The blind will lead. Sometimes faith, creativity and self-discipline will create leaders from unexpected quarters and other times this axiom will be a metaphor for leaders who are blind to all needs but their own. Go with the unexpected but awesome leaders, avoid the ones with gold toilets.
  11. Lastly, money will shift after the apocalypse. It will become totally different. Money will be about powering you up so you can stay alive, or stay in the game or breathe in the existing atmosphere. You will probably need two or three types of “money” to make exchanges and trades and to stop angry baddies.
  12. The apocalypse is all about compromise. It will go on longer than you want. It will not have nearly enough bathroom breaks. It will have way too many product placements. Accept that this is everyone’s apocalypse and not just yours.

Any tips of your own? Let me know.