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The Spinning Image Newsletter #13

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

Hello and welcome to the thirteenth Spinning Image Newsletter, where we're celebrating an important anniversary. Yes, remember when the world ended? It was twenty years ago this month - hard to believe, isn't it? Total nuclear annihilation, not even the cockroaches survived! Ah, those were the days... But before we get too nostalgic, let's get the business out of the way first.

  • Forums - Now you can do all the usual things you'd expect from a forum. We've created loads of new headings for you to post under, whether it's Questions and Answers (idea for anyone wanting a copy of this film, or which version is better of that film) to Classified Ads (sell you DVDs and anything else), there are Wanted columns (again for DVDs, general and even would-be actors and directors can advertise here). If you can post and help continue to get the forum running smoothly we'd appreciate it.

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  • Comments - All reviews can accept your comments. If you want to add a snippet of info to a film, trivia, comment on the review or anything relevant then feel free. The reviewer will be informed of your comment and so may reply with additional comments. Consider comments as a forum of the film you're posting them to.

  • Login! - To use any of the above features you must be a member (and you are aren't you?!) and you must be logged in! Also, please don't forget, to enter the competitions you must be a member and you must be logged in.

  • Competition - Wrong Turn
    Wrong Turn was a right turn for the three lucky readers below who each won a copy of the newly released DVD - all successfully answering the entry question (answer being Billy Chenowith in Six Feet Under). Thanks to all those who entered (the response to our competitions is slowly becoming overwhelming) - and don't forget if you weren't a winner this time, have a go at our new competition, online now!

    Tony Whitelock (Bridgwater, Somerset)
    Simon Collinge (Blackpool, Lancs)
    J. Burrows (Leicester)


Sobering isn't it? Chilling even. The end of the world must be the single most calamitous event in our history... and therefore great subject matter for popular entertainment! So how have the movies responded? Let's take a look at humanity's chances for survival.

  • La Fin du Monde (1931)
    Abel Gance comes up with disaster on a Biblical scale - tempest, flood and orgies!
    Hope for Humanity: We must repent!

  • When Worlds Collide (1951)
    There's a biiiig planet heading this way - let's get the flip outta here!
    Hope for Humanity: Luckily there's another, habitable planet in range of our spaceships.

  • The Day the World Ended (1956)
    The apocalypse has already happened, and the world is still here. Yeah, sure, there's a mutant hanging around to terrorise the handful of survivors, but the world isn't destroyed outright.
    Hope for Humanity: Where there's life, there's hope.

  • On the Beach (1959)
    This is more like it. Survivors of nuclear war gather in Australia and wait for the inevitable fallout to arrive and wipe them out.
    Hope for Humanity: Nope, sorry, this is the end for us.

  • The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)
    Nuclear tests have shifted the world on its axis and we're headed for the sun!
    Hope for Humanity: Difficult to tell. They try to fix the damage, anyway. Does it work? Search me.

  • Day of the Triffids (1963)
    Man eating plants stalk (geddit?) the survivors of a mass outbreak of blindness.
    Hope for Humanity: Sunny, if you care to take the Triffids on a trip to the seaside.

  • Dr Strangelove (1964)
    They're in charge. You know, the governments. The military. And what do they do? Accidentally start World War Three. Cheers.
    Hope for Humanity: None, but you have to laugh, eh?

  • Fail Safe (1964)
    They're in charge. You know, the governments. The military. And what do they - here, this sounds familiar.
    Hope for Humanity: It's tough, but total wipe-out is averted at great cost.

  • The Last Man on Earth (1964)
    A virus has turned everyone into vampires. Except for Vincent Price! It's one man against the undead hordes.
    Hope for Humanity: Not looking good, but for vampires the outlook couldn't be better.

  • The Bedford Incident (1965)
    This oneupmanship is going too far. American warship versus Soviet submarine in a game of cat and mouse that is taken to extremes.
    Hope for Humanity: You see? Your stupid minds! Fire!

  • Crack in the World (1965)
    Scientists create a big split in the Earth's crust and our planet will be torn in two!
    Hope for Humanity: There had better be, or transatlantic travel is going to be tricky.

  • The Bed Sitting Room (1969)
    The apocalypse has happened, and the survivors wander the rubble, occasionally turning into stuff like a parrot, a cupboard or a bed sitting room.
    Hope for Humanity: You never know, you might turn into something interesting.

  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
    The world is ruled by Apes on the surface, and billion megaton bomb-worshipping mutants underground.
    Hope for Humanity: It's all depends on Charlton Heston. What do you say, Chuck? Oh. Oh dear.

  • The Andromeda Strain (1971)
    Alien virus arrives on a crashed satellite. Experts have twenty four hours to neutralise it.
    Hope for Humanity: This time we're saved. Next time, maybe not so lucky.

  • The Omega Man (1971)
    Charlton Heston plays Vincent Price battling the mutants as the last man on Earth.
    Hope for Humanity: Erm, well, he's not the last man on Earth, so yeah, we should be OK.

  • The Final Programme (1973)
    Humankind is winding down, so as a last gasp, the scientists get together to take us to a new level.
    Hope for Humanity: We're going to need a hell of a lot of disposable razors and Humphrey Bogart movies. And that's just for starters.

  • Chosen Survivors (1974)
    The World is destroyed in an all-out nuclear attack, and the, er, chosen survivors are trapped underground with only killer bats for company.
    Hope for Humanity: Don't worry, they were only joking.

  • The Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974)
    The great prophet arrives in Japan to tell us of the imminent apocalypse, which does indeed occur.
    Hope for Humanity: Hm, depends on how much faith you have in Nostradamus. He was making it all up, wasn't he?

  • The End of the World (1977)
    It's those darned aliens again, and they've set up a conspiracy to finish us off for good.
    Hope for Humanity: Let's just say the movie lives up to its name.

  • Holocaust 2000 (1977)
    You're Kirk Douglas and your son is the Antichrist. Yeah, Michael looked a little too good to be true, didn't he? Oh, wait, it's not him, it's the head of a nuclear power plant.
    Hope for Humanity: Hey, we've got Kirk to save us - he wouldn't let anything beat his ego into submission, would he?

  • The Last Wave (1977)
    Aboriginal legend tells of a watery apocalypse that lawyer Richard Chamberlain is just beginning to wake up to.
    Hope for Humanity: Well, swimming lessons would be a start.

  • Virus (1980)
    You're looking very pale. Are you feeling OK? No you're not, because there's a killer virus that has wiped out everyone except the members of an Antarctic research station!
    Hope for Humanity: Take two paracetamol and call me in the morning.

  • The Final Conflict (1981)
    It's the Antichrist agin, but this time he's grown up since Omen parts I and II, and turned into Sam Neill. Now he's bringing about Armageddon.
    Hope for Humanity: Well, if he really did kill us all, there would be no more sequels, would there?

  • The Beyond (1981)
    When there's no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth. Which is what happens here, zombies galore as Santa's hordes make their presents felt, no, I mean, Satan's hordes make their presence felt.
    Hope for Humanity: You expect a happy ending?

  • WarGames (1983)
    Uh-oh, someone's set off the computer that looks after America's nuclear arsenal. It's teen hacker Matthew Broderick, and we're headed for Global Thermonuclear War!
    Hope for Humanity: Wouldn't you prefer a nice game of chess?

  • Testament (1983)
    They did it, they dropped the bomb, and now the ordinary folks have to face slow, agonising death.
    Hope for Humanity: Let's just say this isn't a comedy.

  • Day of the Dead (1984)
    Romero's Dead Trilogy draws to a close as the survivors of a military unit bicker amongst themselves about dealing with the problem of peckish zombies.
    Hope for Humanity: I dunno, shoot 'em in the head or something. Let's have another instalment, George.

  • Night of the Comet (1984)
    Earth passes through tail of comet. Result: almost everyone is reduced to powdered form, except for some baddies and two Valley Girls.
    Hope for Humanity: Who cares? Shop till you drop!

  • Offret (1986)
    Yup, it's the Third World War again - how terribly eighties. This time it's happening very slowly.
    Hope for Humanity: Hey, man, we've just got to get in touch with our spiritual side, man. Make some sacrifices.

  • When the Wind Blows (1986)
    Not the Third World War yet again?! How many times is this going to happen? For this old couple, it looks like world events are passing them by as they pass away.
    Hope for Humanity: I ain't gonna lie to you, it's not looking good, no matter where you live.

  • Miracle Mile (1988)
    Well is it happening or not? Mass panic when Anthony Edwards starts a rumour that the missiles are on their way after a strange, late night phone call.
    Hope for Humanity: Looks like we're going the way of the dinosaurs.

  • The Rapture (1991)
    Our Father, Who art in Heaven, sets off Judgement Day and Mimi Rogers is happy to see him.
    Hope for Humanity: What kind of God does that, then? Mimi's not impressed.

  • The Prophecy (1995)
    Christopher Walken is the Angel Gabriel, and he's trying to start the Apocalypse by hunting down a special soul.
    Hope for Humanity: Don't mind us, will, you? I mean, we just live here.

  • Day of the Beast (1995)
    What? More Armageddon? Three Spanish misfits try to prevent Satan wreaking havoc on Earth.
    Hope for Humanity: It's 50/50 with these guys on our side.

  • Twelve Monkeys (1995)
    Bruce Willis arrives from the future to prevent the virus that will decimate humanity, but will he do more harm than good?
    Hope for Humanity: What goes around comes around.

  • Deep Impact (1998)
    First of '98's killer asteroid movies, and there's a ginormous rock headed straight for us.
    Hope for Humanity: With this soap opera, you never know.

  • Armageddon (1998)
    Second of '98's killer asteroid movies, but this ginormous rock has to face Bruce Willis.
    Hope for Humanity: Hey, we've got the Boss on our side. Huh? Oh, wrong Bruce.

  • Last Night (1998)
    It's the last night of planet Earth, there's nothing we can do about it, so just get used to it. Relax.
    Hope for Humanity: Nice knowing you.

  • End of Days (1999)
    Only Ahnold can save us from Satan bringing about the Apocalypse at the end of the Millennium. Has there ever been a film that dated quicker?
    Hope for Humanity: He may get beaten up by Miriam Margoyles, but Ahnold won't let us down.

  • The Core (2003)
    The Earth's core is about to, erm, spin in the wrong direction or something (the details escape me), and a only boring machine will save us.
    Hope for Humanity: The machine is quite interesting, really.

  • Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines (2003)
    It's about time, those computers from the future get their act together and really put their collective electronic minds to destroying humanity.
    Hope for Humanity: How important can John Connor be? I'm sure if we all chip in we'll beat 'em. Let's have another sequel.

So, it seems as if we're pretty resilient, most of the time we don't get completely wiped out at all. We're the new cockroaches.


It's not just the movies that have tried to kill us all off, television has made its own attempts on our lives. In the sixties, The War Game was banned for beiong too controversial and had to be released to selected cinemas - questions were asked in Parliament. In the seventies, the world ended during The Goodies and Tim, Bill and Graeme made the best of the situation. Then Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy had planet Earth blown to smithereens, and in The Martian Chronicles everyone was wiped out except for the human settlers on Mars. The eighties was a prime era for human extinction: in the UK, Threads gave us sleepless nights, and in the USA, The Day After went for the soap opera style of killing us all. During the nineties, it wasn't nuclear bombs but a deadly strain of the common cold that destroyed civilisation in The Stand, and an asteroid hit us in The Last Train. Mass destruction in your own home, eh? Cuh.


This site gives you the basics of the End Times, but the movie section is just a big list. Who wants to read that? Ahem.

This one is a more Brit-o-centric version of nuclear paranoia, very informative. Check out the Atomic Culture page.

Here's an essay on End of the World culture that makes the point that the world very rarely ends absolutely in these things.

Lastly, a little quiz to test how you'd react to our ultimate demise.


Veteran of stage and screen Sir Alan Bates died after a long battle with cancer, aged 69, in December. He first gained attention as one of the archetypal "angry young men" in John Osborne's play Look Back in Anger, and took film roles soon after: The Entertainer (another Osborne play), A Kind of Loving, Whistle Down the Wind (as the convict children think is Jesus Christ) and The Caretaker. He continued to choose unusual, distinctive projects throughout his career, including Georgy Girl, King of Hearts, The Go-Between, Women in Love (with the famous nude wresting sequence), A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (a great performance), Royal Flash, strange horror The Shout, An Unmarried Woman and Nijinsky. Recently he appeared in Gosford Park, The Mothman Prophecies and Sum of All Fears.

Legendary British comedian Bob Monkhouse will be best remembered for his televison work, but in film he was in the first Carry On movie, Carry On Sergeant, the Dentist films, Dentist in the Chair and Dentist on the Job, and The Bliss of Miss Blossom. He also provided voices for Thunderbirds Are Go and was even in a film with Anna Karina (She'll Have To Go). He died aged 75 in December.

Stage actor Dinsdale Landen appeared in a few films, including Rasputin the Mad Monk, Digby the Biggest Dog in the World and Morons from Outer Space, and also in TV series like The Avengers, Jason King and Doctor Who. He died aged 71 at the end of December.

A big star in British films of the 1940s, Patricia Roc is best remembered now for her role in the then-controversial cult favourite The Wicked Lady. Other films included Millions Like Us, Madonna of the Seven Moons and The Perfect Woman. She died aged 88 at the end of December.

Director Brian Gibson died aged 58 in January. After starting in television, with the classic Dennis Potter play Blue Remembered Hills to his credit, he moved into films with Breaking Glass, What's Love Got To Do With It and Still Crazy.

Actress Ingrid Thulin gained fame in Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries, and went on to appear in his other works, including The Silence, The Face, Hour of the Wolf and Cries and Whispers. She also had roles in The Damned, Short Night of the Glass Dolls, Salon Kitty and The Casandra Crossing. She died aged 76 in January.

Anita Mui, successful singer and star of many of the best Hong Kong films of the 80s and 90s, lost her battle with cancer at the end of December. She was 40. Among her films were Rouge, A Better Tomorrow III, The Heroic Trio and its sequel, Saviour of the Soul, Drunken Master II and Rumble in the Bronx.

Ron O'Neal, who played one of the coolest characters in blaxploitation movies, died of cancer aged 66 in January. Superfly made him a star, but it was shortlived as the follow up, Super Fly TNT, flopped and he was relegated to supporting roles for the rest of his career in films like The Master Gunfighter, A Force of One, When a Stranger Calls, Red Dawn and Original Gangstas, which saw him united with his fellow seventies action stars.

Ann Miller, the musical star best known for her tremendous tap dancing, died of lung cancer aged 80 in January. She gained fame in low budget musicals in the forties with great titles like Reveille with Beverly, What's Buzzin', Cousin? and Eve Knew Her Apples, but is probably most celebrated for her roles in Easter Parade, On The Town and Kiss Me Kate. At one point her legs were insured for a million dollars. She returned to the big screen after decades away in 2001 with David Lynch's Mulholland Drive.

Rikki Fulton was a legendary comedian in Scotland, where his Scotch and Wry show was a New Year's TV institution. On film, he appeared in the Bill Forsyth comedies Local Hero (a personal favourite of mine - Ed) and Comfort and Joy, and had an uncharacteristically villainous role in Gorky Park. He died aged 79 in January.

Actress Frances Dee died in March aged 94. She will be best remembered for starring in I Walked with a Zombie, which she said she appeared in to afford a car, and as one of the Little Women in the thirties version of the classic tale. She was happily married to star Joel McCrea for many years, and had been the last surviving actress to be considered for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind.

Actor Spalding Gray, who became famous for his witty monologues in such films as Swimming To Cambodia and Monster in a Box, was found dead in a New York river in March, having been missing since January. He also had roles in The Killing Fields, Beaches, King of the Hill, The Paper, Diabolique and Kate and Leopold, and had been suffering from depression for some time. He was 62.

Actor Paul Winfield died in March aged 62, having enjoyed a successful career appearing in the likes of Sounder, Trouble Man, Damnation Alley, White Dog, Mike's Murder, The Terminator and Mars Attacks. He also played Martin Luther King on television.

Robert Pastorelli was a supporting actor in Dances with Wolves, Striking Distance, Eraser and the Get Shorty sequel Be Cool, but was probably best known for his role in sitcom Murphy Brown. He also starred in the American version of TV series Cracker. He died aged 49 of a suspected drugs overdose.

Mercedes McCambridge, who earned her place in movie history as the voice of the demon in The Exorcist, died aged 86 in March. A talented stage and radio actress, she won an Oscar for her film debut in All the King's Men, and went onto appear in cult movies as diverse as Johnny Guitar (taking part in a gunfight with Joan Crawford), Giant, Orson Welles' Touch of Evil, Suddenly Last Summer, Angel Baby, Jess Franco's Justine and The Concorde: Airport 1979. Off screen, she battled alcoholism and was hit with tragedy when her son murdered his family and killed himself.

Actress Jan Sterling was best known for her cynical roles, in particular the female lead in Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole. She also appeared in Caged, Union Station, 1984, Female on the Beach, early disaster movie The High and the Mighty, and cult classic High School Confidential. She died aged 82 in March.

Famed raconteur Sir Peter Ustinov died aged 82 in March, after a career in film, books and television, as well as charity work as an ambassador for Unicef. He directed Vice Versa and Billy Budd, won Oscars for his roles in Spartacus and Topkapi, and also appeared in Quo Vadis, Lola Montes, Logan's Run, Death on the Nile (as Hercule Poirot), The Last Remake of Beau Geste and Lorenzo's Oil.


New reviews on the site include:

Dawn of the Dead
Gauntlet, The
Osterman Weekend, The
Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon
Bloody Birthday
Fist of the North Star
Shaun of the Dead
Some Kind Of Wonderful
Horrors of the Black Museum
The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea
Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Last Exit
Deadlier than the Male
The Terror of Tiny Town
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Army of Darkness
Carry On at your Convenience
Cabin Fever
American Movie
Repo Man
Fantom Kiler
Airport 1975
The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Brute Man
House of 1000 Corpses
Tunnel Vision
Tiger on the Beat
Carry On up the Khyber
Who Done It?
My Bodyguard
Girl on a Motorcycle
Full Metal Yakuza
The Dreamers


Hey. We're still here. We're alive! Ahahahahaa! What a relief, eh? I thought we were goners for sure. Life goes on, and so does The Spinning Image, so if you have anything to say, let us know. Use the forum. Keep in touch. We're all in this together. Um... what does this button do?


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