Regular readers of this column know I am a huge horror fan. I love all aspects of the genre, from B-horror flicks to big studio features. Thereís no sub-genre I wonít watch, but apocalyptic horror is one of my favorites.
Day of the Dead, Escape from New York, Deep Impact, 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead are pinnacles of the sub-genre. George A. Romero was an absolute genius and knew exactly how to make your spine tingle. He revolutionized the way we think of zombies before most people were thinking of zombies at all.
I love these films, but I have had to stay away from that sub-genre lately. The spread of COVID-19 has already got me feeling all kinds of anxious about the health of our general population ó I am sure many of you can relate to that. That means Iím not so keen on watching movies about the end of the world, especially if itís caused by the some virus. Pro-tip: If you have never watched Contagion, this is not the time to do so. I had to learn that the hard way.
Of course, the truly scary thing about the apocalypse is not the end of the world. Itís how people behave when faced with their mortality. Despite our best efforts at predicting how weíd respond to major events, none of us know how weíll react until weíre put in a situation like the one weíre in now. Itís easy to say you wonít freak out and buy 2,000 rolls of toilet paper in a hypothetical situation.
Unfortunately, this pandemic is real. I donít say that to scare anybody. I say it because itís the truth, and the only way to move past a difficult situation is to confront it head on. This is real life horror. We have to call it what it is.
It reminds me a lot of Dawn of the Dead when everyone quarantines themselves in a huge mall to keep the zombies out. At first, they donít know what to do. Everyone is panicked and resisting the need to adjust to the new normal. But slowly our heroes emerge. A new community forms, a small family of former strangers. They implement a plan to escape together. I wonít spoil the end for you, but itís not all doom and gloom. If anything, itís bittersweet.
Thatís a great way to describe the situation weíre in right now. The pandemic is scary. Many people have lost their jobs, lives, livelihoods and will to go on. We canít go back in time and change it, but we can form the kind of community that nurtures our weakest members. We can donate to food banks, practice social distancing and check in on loved ones more than usual. We can self-quarantine as much as possible to slow the spread of the virus so that this new normal doesnít stick around too long.
Thatís our escape plan. Thatís how we overcome this. We band together, protect the vulnerable and move forward. Itís not the end of the world, but it is an opportunity to create a better world.