Quiz about Ground Zero
Quiz about Ground Zero

Ground Zero Trivia Quiz


Rather than examining how the world will end in the proliferation of apocalyptic films at our fingertips, this quiz aims to examine how these movies have endeavoured to mirror, or may have been influenced by, the times in which they were created.

A multiple-choice quiz by pollucci19. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
pollucci19
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
410,764
Updated
Nov 02 22
# Qns
15
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
12 / 15
Plays
288
Last 3 plays: Guest 194 (9/15), imustac (13/15), Guest 165 (13/15).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. The 1916 Danish film "Verdens Undergang" (The End of the World) drew inspiration from which 1910 event? Hint

Breakout of the Spanish Flu pandemic
The loss of the Titanic
The passing of Halley's Comet
The start of World War I

2. Abel Gance's 1931 film "La Fin du Monde" (The End of the World) has a stock market crash as one of its central themes.

True
False

3. The events at the end of World War II created new fears for the public that film makers seized upon. With this in mind, what calamity were Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner trying to deal with in the 1959 film "On the Beach"? Hint

Russian spies
Living underwater
Tsunamis
Nuclear fallout

4. The 1950s marked a time when the United States intensified its nuclear programme which created the awkward questions as to what the effects of all this radiation will be. For filmmakers it created the opportunity to give birth to a new age of monsters. Which one of the following mutations was NOT created in the 1950s? Hint

Godzilla
Them
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
King Kong

5. The intensification of the Cold War brought a new kit-bag of fear and paranoia that filmmakers readily exploited. Which of the following films from the 1960s featured Slim Pickens riding a H-Bomb toward its detonation? Hint

Fail Safe
When the Wind Blows
Dr Strangelove
Panic in Year Zero

6. A "virus" destroys wheat and rice in the 1970 film "No Blade of Grass", a film that a number of scholars indicate was influenced by which of the following events of that time? Hint

Climate change
Post WWII pandemics
The Potato Famine
Nuclear fallout

7. Harry Harrison's 1966 novel "Make Room! Make Room!" took advantage of a burgeoning environmental movement, and his story, that was filled with the issues of over-population and pollution, was translated into which of the following films starring Charlton Heston? Hint

Holocaust 2000
Omega Man
Soylent Green
Night of the Living Dead

8. Charlton Heston surfaces as the last real human being on Earth in 1971's "The Omega Man". The rest of the world's population has been affected, ostensibly, by which of the following? Hint

Mercury poisoning
Biological warfare
Water toxicity
Nuclear fallout

9. Which 1973 event created a portent that would, six years later, be reflected in George Miller's apocalyptic film "Mad Max"? Hint

The Vietnam War
Rise of outlaw motorcycle gangs
The battle of the sexes
The OAPEC embargo

10. Don't be daft, machines will never replace humans! However, which 1984 James Cameron film foreshadowed exactly that scenario? Hint

The Terminator
The Abyss
Avatar
Aliens

11. At the start of the 1990s the Cold War came to an end and filmmakers now needed another way for the Earth to end. They looked to space. Which of the following films featured aliens hell bent on wiping out humanity? Hint

Galaxy Quest
Moon 44
Spaced Invaders
Independence Day

12. In the prelude to the arrival of Halley's Comet in 1986, which cheesy 1984 film was released that signaled the world's demise by space dust, would be panned by critics and would go on to become a cult classic? Hint

Evolution
Judgement Day
Night of the Comet
Monolith Monsters

13. At the time "The Matrix" (1999) was released, the world's population was experiencing anxiety over which of the following events? Hint

Indian Ocean tsunami
The September 11 attacks
Y2K Bug
Volcano Grimsvotn's ash cloud

14. In 2006 the film "An Inconvenient Truth" was launched on the public preaching a message about which of the following topics? Hint

Nuclear disarmament
Climate change
Evolutionary inconsistencies
Government funding misappropriation

15. Roland Emmerich's 2009 masterpiece "2012" was based on which of the following events? Hint

The Cicada Internet Hunt
Israel's launch of Operation Pillar of Defence
CERN's Hadron Collider experiments
The end of the Mayan calendar


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The 1916 Danish film "Verdens Undergang" (The End of the World) drew inspiration from which 1910 event?

Answer: The passing of Halley's Comet

The amount of panic that the arrival of Halley's Comet caused in the early 1900s shouldn't be underestimated. The British took it as an omen that the Germans were about to invade London, the French were convinced that it was the reason for the flooding of the Seine and some superstitious folks even claimed that it was responsible for the death of King Edward VII. Matters were not helped when French astronomer, Camille Flammarion, declared that, with the aid of a spectroscope, he'd discovered that the tail of the comet was filled with a cyanide gas and that, when the Earth passed through the tail's path, all life on the planet would be extinguished.

In the aftermath of this hysteria came August Blom's science-fiction drama "Verdens Undergang", which told the tale of a comet knocked off its course and passing close enough to Earth to cause a cornucopia of natural disasters and social disorder. The film became a massive success, feeding off the back of Halley's Comet and the great uncertainty that was being generated by the World War. Also known as "The Flaming Sword", the film was restored by the Danish Institute in 2006. Many scholars consider this to be the first of the significant apocalypse films to hit our screens.

(Footnote) Halley's Comet passed the Earth on May 6, 1910, the Titanic sank in 1912, World War I is deemed to have started in 1914 and the Spanish Flu pandemic spread out in 1918.
2. Abel Gance's 1931 film "La Fin du Monde" (The End of the World) has a stock market crash as one of its central themes.

Answer: True

In 1894 Camille Flammarion, a French astronomer and author (who once advised that the tail of Halley's Comet was packed with cyanide gas that would kill all life on Earth), wrote a novel called "Omega: The Last Days of the World". Set in the 25th century, it ventures that a comet would collide with the Earth, causing species to become extinct, and the sole survivors, human beings, would see their culture fundamentally altered. They will evolve with psychic abilities but would devolve (or evolve) to having only one language. Eventually they too would diminish until only two humanoids remained - Omega and Eva.

French film director Abel Gance was inspired by the novel and sought to turn its premise into a three hour avant-garde epic. Sadly, for him, his backers lost patience, seized control and slashed the film to 105 minutes - the US release was further brutalized and cut down to 54 minutes. This, effectively, curtailed Gance's experimentation in film and the rest of his career was reduced to producing mainstream fare.

In Gance's vision with "La Fin du Monde", while the comet hurtles toward the planet, mankind has one chance for its survival - to unite all the nations of the world into a single Republic. Essentially, he places two options on the table - peace and unity or the complete obliteration of the planet. To this end he sets two men, with eyes on the same woman, at odds. The protagonist, Martial Novalic, who chooses to use the media to spread the word for his "One World Congress" and the stock promoter Schomberg, who continues to invest heavily in armaments despite the stock market crashing in the face of the impending doom. This was a clever ploy by Gance, intensifying the audience's fear and isolation, by poking at wounds that still existed from the 1929 stock market crash. The government, in the film, seems to side with Schomberg by suppressing the truth in an effort to reinvigorate the stock market. At the same time, they accuse Martial as the propagator of lies that caused the market to crash in the first place. This marks Martial as a criminal and makes him a fugitive.

The finished film lacked cohesion though, whether this was a result of the savage pruning it received is hard to tell. It does, however, redeem itself in the closing fifteen minutes. As the comet narrowly misses the Earth, its passage triggers a wave of natural disasters, which Gance manages to piece together to form a spectacular conclusion and provide us with a small testament to his special talents.
3. The events at the end of World War II created new fears for the public that film makers seized upon. With this in mind, what calamity were Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner trying to deal with in the 1959 film "On the Beach"?

Answer: Nuclear fallout

The dropping of the atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, despite hastening the end of World War II, caused massive destruction to both lives and property. While ethical questions were being raised about the use of mass casualty weapons and debate raged over whether or not the bombs should have been dropped in the first place, the public continued to be confronted with images and stories of the continued deaths and sickness and the effects of radiation, well after the war had officially concluded.

This was perfect fodder for the movie industry, and it came as no surprise that there was a big explosion (pun intended) of apocalypse films during the 1950s. "On the Beach" (1959), based on a 1957 novel by Neville Shute, is the perfect example of a movie taking full advantage of that fear. This is a bleak film that is set in 1964, where the Earth has been torn apart by World War III and its profligate use of atomic weaponry. All human life in the Northern Hemisphere has been wiped out and Australia offers the world its last safe haven. Even here the residents know that it is only a matter of time before the fallout and radiation poisoning will be upon them and that they're merely counting down the days to their own extinction.

That same year Ranald MacDougall would release his "The World, the Flesh and the Devil", a film that starred Harry Belafonte and Inger Stevens, as two of the few remaining survivors on a planet devastated by atomic poisoning.
4. The 1950s marked a time when the United States intensified its nuclear programme which created the awkward questions as to what the effects of all this radiation will be. For filmmakers it created the opportunity to give birth to a new age of monsters. Which one of the following mutations was NOT created in the 1950s?

Answer: King Kong

In the early 1950s, "NSC-68" was a report generated by the United States National Security Council that advocated a massive increase in the investment in atomic weaponry. It was a report that was deemed ridiculous and was doomed to fail. Two months later the Korean War broke out and the entire scheme was hastened into motion. The outcome of this was to be a massive arms race between the two super-powers, the United States and the Soviet Union.

In the midst of this was a new social equation. On the one hand there was the fear of two nations at loggerheads and the potential devastation that could erupt from this. At the other end of the scale was an equally viable threat to the American household... the hum-drum of everyday existence. Into this gap came Hollywood and escapism. This became an escapist fantasy that played on the very fear of what radiation may create but, after ninety or so minutes of sheer chaos, it evolved into a suitable happy ending.

To this end, Eugene Lourie introduced us to "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" (1953), a fictional dinosaur that is brought out of hibernation by the testing of a nuclear device in the Arctic Circle. Ironically it is killed when a radioactive isotope is fired into a wound that it developed. This was partly the inspiration for "Godzilla" (1954) who emerges from the depths outside Odo Island, as a result of hydrogen bomb tests in the area, and wreaks havoc on the city of Tokyo. Giant irradiated ants with armoured plating emerged from the Trinity Tests in the New Mexico desert in "Them", a film that became Warner Brothers biggest grossing feature of 1954. Radiation would play a part in other sci-fi/horror of that decade. These included "Tarantula" (1955), "The Deadly Mantis" (1957) and "The Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" (1958).

(Footnote) "King Kong" was made in 1933 (not the 1950s), with other prominent remakes surfacing in 1976 and 2005. There was also a re-issue of the film in 1952 and its popularity definitely gave notice of things to come for the science fiction industry. All of these films featured an over-sized gorilla-like creature that inhabits Skull Island with a range of other over-sized creatures. There is no indication that their existence or size is due to radiation.
5. The intensification of the Cold War brought a new kit-bag of fear and paranoia that filmmakers readily exploited. Which of the following films from the 1960s featured Slim Pickens riding a H-Bomb toward its detonation?

Answer: Dr Strangelove

The Soviet Union successfully tested a nuclear device in 1949. This may well have been the impetus for the United States to step up their testing of the hydrogen bomb in the 1950s. The flow on effect is that it triggered an arms race between the two super-powers. You didn't need to be a Rhodes scholar to understand how fragile the psyche of citizens was. The messages in the United States, to prepare oneself for an atomic attack, encouragement to build bunkers in the backyard, the "duck and cover" exercises and the stories of "communists under the bed", were numerous. If paranoia wasn't ripe in the 1950s, then, by the end of the 1960s, when you add to this, the Kennedy-Krushchev stand-offs, the Cuban Missile crisis, the string of high profile assassinations, and the launch of the Russian Sputnik satellite, then it was safe to say that it was definitely past ripe and starting to rot.

To add fuel to this fire, there was also a level of information suppression in play, but filmmakers, in particular, were able to circumvent this and then exploit it. For example, the stockpiling of weapons was being portrayed as a battle of good and evil, invading aliens were a substitute for communists and giant ants ("Them" - 1954) were shown to be an organized and conforming society, pretty much the same way that Americans viewed their super-powered, European counterpart. Various films began to surface that would show how that button could be accidentally pushed that would lead to human destruction... and, in that statement, lays another attack on the human psyche. Death for us, as individuals, was something that we were all aware of and expected, but here we were being asked to contemplate human incineration on a massive scale. To coin a phrase from the 1960s... "far out man!"

"Dr. Strangelove" (full title "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb") is a 1964 black comedy directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick. The film centres around General Ripper (Sterling Hayden), a US Air Force general, who orders a nuclear strike on the USSR. The US President (Peter Sellers in one of his multiple roles in this film), along with his advisors and Chiefs of Staff are frantically trying to prevent this from happening. They manage to recall all of the planes except for one, being commanded by Major T. J. "King" Kong (Slim Pickens), whose radio has been damaged. Kong opens the bomb bay doors, but the bomb won't drop due to a mechanical failure. He then straddles the bomb, manages to release it and then rides it home with a loud hoot.
6. A "virus" destroys wheat and rice in the 1970 film "No Blade of Grass", a film that a number of scholars indicate was influenced by which of the following events of that time?

Answer: Post WWII pandemics

The key word in the question, virus, was highlighted, which would have ruled out climate change and nuclear fallout. The Potato Famine was not an event of that era. Cornell Wilde's film, "No Blade of Grass", which was based on the John Christopher novel "The Death of Grass" (1956), zeroes in on pollution being the trigger that creates this virus, which soon sweeps the globe, destroying key members of the grass family. This, in turn, leads to starvation, rioting and anarchy... remarkably, in the face of something unprecedented, the fabric of society begins to unravel.

Pointedly, this film arose from a period in the 20th century that was beset by pandemics. The Asian Flu surfaced in Singapore in 1957 and, though it was less virulent than the influenza pandemic (that we come to know as the Spanish Flu) of 1918, it still managed to kill in excess of a million people across the globe. In 1961 a cholera breakout was identified in Asia and the Middle East, which soon became a pandemic in its own right. Some sixty years later, we are into the new millennium, and we are still waging this war. Let's not forget the Hong Kong Flu that surfaced in 1968 and, almost a decade later there was the Russian Flu.

To deny that environmental factors and the awareness of environmental issues were not a factor here would be wrong, however, the main driver for the question was bugs. Other environmental issues will be dealt with separately within this quiz. It should also be noted that the impact of bugs was not new in films. The most famous example is exhibited in H.H. Wells' "War of the Worlds" (1898) which has been successfully translated into film a number of times. Other stories that dealt with the possibility of viruses having the potential to destroy humankind or the planet included "The Satan Bug" (1965), "The Andromeda Strain" (1971) and Stephen King's chilling 1978 tale "The Stand" which was translated into a tele-movie in 1994.
7. Harry Harrison's 1966 novel "Make Room! Make Room!" took advantage of a burgeoning environmental movement, and his story, that was filled with the issues of over-population and pollution, was translated into which of the following films starring Charlton Heston?

Answer: Soylent Green

Many historians now point to the publication of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" (1962), which awakened the world to the dangers of DDT and the contamination of man's environment, as the kick that propelled the environmental front. The movement also gained impetus with the interest being shown by President Lyndon Johnson of environmental issues and the sudden growth in membership of preservationist groups such as the Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club.

The clear message that was being delivered here was that if the end of the world were to arrive then, we had no one else to blame but ourselves. "Soylent Green" (1973) paints a dystopian future Earth that is stark in nature. The planet is overcrowded, choked with pollution and suffering year round humidity thanks to an escalating greenhouse effect. In addition, the oceans are dying, resources are severely depleted, and the world is fast running out of food.

This was not the first time that Heston had featured in films where humanity had disappeared or was in danger of doing so. His 1968 outing in "The Planet of the Apes" delivered the ultimate, if not ironic, slap in the face to man, closing out with the iconic image of the Statue of Liberty lying in ruins.

As a footnote to "Soylent Green", two strong themes emerge. One is man losing a war with nature and the other is the suppression of the truth by those in authority. It seems ironic then that this film, among others, was launched in the decade of the ultimate cover-up, the Watergate affair.
8. Charlton Heston surfaces as the last real human being on Earth in 1971's "The Omega Man". The rest of the world's population has been affected, ostensibly, by which of the following?

Answer: Biological warfare

"The Omega Man" was based on the novel "I Am Legend" (1954) written by Richard Matheson. The novel is set (specifically) in Cimarron Street in Los Angeles, twenty two years into the future, after an apocalyptic war has completely ravaged the planet. Apart from the story's protagonist, Robert Neville, the rest of humanity has either been killed or turned into vampires.

The novel identifies that the reason behind the mutations and the deaths is a strain of bacillus bacteria. It only hints that this may have been the result of biological warfare. The film, however, firmly points the blame in that direction. The change may appear subtle on the surface, but it is important to bear in mind that, at the time, the press was using the war in Vietnam as a means to promote newsreels and newsprint. One of the major talking points at the time were the accusations being levelled at both the United States and the Soviet Union, and their use of chemical weapons in the conflict.

To this end, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had released reports of the rapid growth of Pneumonic plague, previously restricted to a few river valleys in Vietnam, spreading across the country. Killer insects had, supposedly, been let loose in the Tan province in 1966 and Agent Orange, the deforestation herbicide that the United States was using as part of their war programme had become a buzzword that is likely to be, forever, linked with that conflict.

Charlton Heston's "The Omega Man" was not the first adaptation to film of Matheson's novel, that distinction belonged to "The Last Man on Earth", a 1964 film that had Vincent Price in the lead role. A third film, the Will Smith vehicle, "I Am Legend", would arrive on our screens in 2007. However, Matheson's novel would inspire another form of apocalypse on the Earth, the zombie apocalypse. George A. Romero advised that he drew heavily on Matheson's story, when he created his ground-breaking "The Night of the Living Dead" in 1968.
9. Which 1973 event created a portent that would, six years later, be reflected in George Miller's apocalyptic film "Mad Max"?

Answer: The OAPEC embargo

In October of 1973 US President Nixon sought to raise some $2.2 billion to aid Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) responded by placing an embargo on US oil imports. They immediately began to cut production, which had the effect of changing the world oil price. In a short space of time the price of oil went from $2.90 (US) a barrel to $11.65 (US) a barrel. Essentially it nearly quadrupled. Petrol/gas was in short supply and there were massive queues at service stations that stretched for blocks and generated spontaneous acts of violence. The world was given a microcosm of what the Earth would be like without fuel.

From this toxic topsoil would emerge the society that "Mad Max" (1979) would be born in. As to how the social fabric (in the film) managed to disintegrate, we are given few clues but what is abundantly clear is that fuel is in desperately short supply. In the second feature, "Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior" this is beautifully spelled out when the protagonist, Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), is torn between saving his own neck or stealing a hubcap full of petrol.

George Miller created a cocktail of destruction and vigilantism in a land that was stark and lawless and the realm of feral road gangs. In doing so he delivered a new spin to the apocalyptic film genre that continued to be imitated into the new millennium. Was the oil embargo an influence for Miller or was it mere coincidence that the two events occurred within such a short space of time? Miller has indicated that his initial inspiration was the 1979 black comedy "A Boy and His Dog" but I prefer to see that film as the seed and the OAPEC crisis as the top-soil that it germinated in.
10. Don't be daft, machines will never replace humans! However, which 1984 James Cameron film foreshadowed exactly that scenario?

Answer: The Terminator

The fear of machines taking our jobs has been there for centuries and it can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain during the 18th century. Move forward, and you can hear the tales of the Luddites attacking the textile machines with mighty sledgehammers in the early 1800s and then jump forward to the introduction of Electronic Data Processing (EDP) in offices in the 1950s. The latter being hauntingly demonized in Ida Russakoff Hoos' 1960 article "When the Computer Takes Over the Office". This paranoia is fanned further in the 1990s as a computer defeats the world's best chess player in Gary Kasparov and then fuel is thrown on the fire by the likes of eminent scientists such as Stephen Hawking who, in a 2014 interview with the BBC, warned that "the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race."

Hollywood, for its part, has had a long fascination with this concept, and it did not start in the 1970s or 1980s. Drift back to 1927 and Fritz Lang's masterpiece "Metropolis". Whilst it was met with mixed reviews and dealing with comments such as "ludicrously simplistic" (The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction), one of the clear messages it delivers is that machines will, eventually, destroy humanity. Man's interaction with machines is explored further in the 1960s and 70s in movies such as "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) and "Star Wars" (1977). In "Demon Seed", also 1977, Julie Christie's character is raped by a robot.

In the 1980s James Cameron delivered our damnation in the form of "The Terminator", where the machines have finally taken over but are faced with a rebellion. They send back a being (the terminator) to kill the mother of the leader of that uprising so that he is never born.

The deviousness of computers is further expressed in films such as "Tron" (1982) and "WarGames" (1983). The new millennium, rather than slowing down the nightmare, continues to accelerate it with tokens such as "Ex Machina" (2014) and "CHAPPiE" (2015). The 2015 film "The Avengers: The Age of Ultron" produces the ultimate sentient being that becomes self-aware, decides that humans are the enemy and makes it its mission to wipe out humankind.
11. At the start of the 1990s the Cold War came to an end and filmmakers now needed another way for the Earth to end. They looked to space. Which of the following films featured aliens hell bent on wiping out humanity?

Answer: Independence Day

The Cold War, which had bridged almost five decades, ended abruptly. In 1989 the Berlin Wall was torn down, which opened the door to German re-unification. This duly happened a few months later in 1990. The behemoth that was the USSR, once an intimidating force, had become, in the words of historian John Lewis Gaddis, "a troubled triceratops" and, it wasn't long, before it too collapsed under the weight of its own systems. Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika reforms could not revive the beast and the state dissolved into its own separate republics.

Hollywood had thrived in this atmosphere of threat. Initially bitten by its forays into politics after World War II and suffering from the scars of its blacklists and HUAC - the House Commission on Un-American Activities - it would make sure that it pointed out who the good guys (the freedom-loving west) were and who (that cold-hearted beast from the east) the bad guy was. And, you did not have to attend a spy thriller, an action blockbuster or a war film that would show the end of the world to recognize this. You only needed to view films such as "Rocky IV" (1985) to identify this delineation. Deliberately billed as David (the good guy) versus Goliath (the big bad guy) clash, the directors added to this illusion by installing the towering Dolph Lundgren as the destructive Russian slugger alongside Stallone's pugilist Rocky, who could only stare at his opponent eye-to-chest.

Hollywood now needed a new villain to be the destroyer of the world and so, they turned to space. In the 1990s, our screens were dominated by a variety of aliens seeking to take us out. We saw Bruce Willis racing to save the planet in "The Fifth Element" (1997), Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones dispatching aliens in "Men in Black" (1997), aliens dispatching Jack Nicholson in "Mars Attacks" (1996), "The Terminator", well... he was back, in 1991s "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" and the "Starship Troopers" flew off to save the Earth in 1997.

By the end of the decade there was definitely some sci-fi fatigue, but it couldn't take the gloss off the daddy of all of the "save the planet" films, "Independence Day" (1996). In a special effects extravaganza, Bill Pullman leads a team that includes Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, to knock over a mothership of seemingly indestructible aliens, intent on wiping out humans and stripping the planet of its resources. In a jingoistic ending America saves the world from an alien force that has the capacity to build a spaceship a quarter of the size of our moon but forgets to leave home without a virus protection programme
12. In the prelude to the arrival of Halley's Comet in 1986, which cheesy 1984 film was released that signaled the world's demise by space dust, would be panned by critics and would go on to become a cult classic?

Answer: Night of the Comet

Whereas the arrival of Halley's Comet in days gone past was seen as a harbinger of death, the coming of the ball of gas in the 1980s was the polar opposite. The excitement was palpable. Media reports were filled with scientists discussing the new potentials, how they would be following its course from as far away as Saturn, how five space craft were going to be launched to greet the comet and collect invaluable data on it, how this would be our first "real" close up look at it. Schools were creating millions of projects and assignments across the globe and sky watchers were clamouring for the best positions to get a brief look at a once-in-a-lifetime event.

In between all this Thom Eberhardt put together and released his little B-grade film, "Night of the Comet", which was made on a shoestring budget of $700,000 and garnered $3.5 million in sales in its first week of release. With a beginning that was going to eerily follow the actual arrival of Halley's, most of the Earth is hosting skywatch parties as the Earth was to pass through the tail of a comet shooting past it. One minute you are dealing with a string of relationships, on the screen, that have gone south and the next the population of the Earth is either turned to dust or zombies... all except for two Valley girls. I can tell, you're cringing already and understanding how this could become a cult classic.

Whether the pending arrival of Halley's was an influence on the film's creation, or its success is not clear, but that doesn't matter. They happened coincidentally and, as a result, it fits the parameters of this quiz. To this point, significant asteroid/comet style films were few and far between. Before "Night of the Comet", you needed to go back to 1979 and the Sean Connery vehicle "Meteor". Prior to that you quest back to 1963 to see "The Day of the Triffids", 1958 for "The Day the Sky Exploded" and, the year prior, for "Monolith Monsters". What were drips before became a trickle in the 1980s with such creations as, the afore mentioned "Night of the Comet", "Lifeforce" (1985) and the Stephen King creation "Maximum Overdrive" in 1986. This became a downpour in the 1990s, with the stand outs being "Armageddon" (1998), "Deep Impact" (1998) and "Without Warning" (1994). Even "Starship Troopers" (1997) got in on the act with an asteroid being re-directed to wipe out Buenos Aires. Films such as "Melancholia" (2011), acknowledge this was a rogue planet, not an asteroid, "Don't Look Up" (2021), "Asteroid vs Earth" (2014), "Ice Age: Collision Course" (2016) and "Colour Out of Space" (2020) are among the many that have flooded our screens since.
13. At the time "The Matrix" (1999) was released, the world's population was experiencing anxiety over which of the following events?

Answer: Y2K Bug

In the ten or so years leading up to the launch of the film "The Matrix" the world's people were coming to grips with the brave new world that was the internet (with acknowledgement that its official birthday is 1 January, 1983). This ability to have computers talking to each other on various networks was fundamentally changing the way we would conduct business, talk to each, in fact, the way that we lived. Problem was that it was happening so fast that we were unable to come to grips with it and, under these conditions, when some smart alec identified that there was a problem called "Y2K" it almost created mass hysteria.

What was the "Y2K" bug? Early computer programmers recorded the year (for dates) using two digits to save memory, which was, initially very expensive. This was OK in the 1970s and 80s but as we approached the end of the millennium there was concern as to how the system would identify the year 2000. Would it, instead, see it as the year 1900? Despite the fact that programmers were working feverishly behind the scenes to fix this, the moment the public became aware it was as if the prophet of doom had spoken, banks were going to lose interest, video stores would be sending out fees for overdue returns that were a century late, planes were going to fall out of the sky and we were looking down the barrel of a computer induced apocalypse.

In the end, virtually nothing happened which led many people to believe that the whole thing was little more than a hoax or simply the mad ravings of some end-of-the-world cultists. "The Matrix" was born in this environment, however, even if it wasn't, it would have succeeded as it was cleverly written, and conceptualized a brave new dystopia for us to feed on. It shows humanity trapped inside a system called the Matrix controlled by sentient machines. These devices had created a simulated reality that deceives humankind into believing it is the actual reality and, while they remain in this distracted state, the machines utilize the human bodies as a source of energy.
14. In 2006 the film "An Inconvenient Truth" was launched on the public preaching a message about which of the following topics?

Answer: Climate change

"An Inconvenient Truth" follows former Vice President Al Gore as he toured the world in 2004 preaching his gospel of climate change. He spends the first half of the film reflecting on glacial retreat, rising water levels, the disruption of the currents that keep Northern Europe warm and how this could bring a sudden cooling and, how all this was man's fault. He does finish on a positive note to advise how we can fix this.

It is not an apocalyptic movie, but its message could be seen as such. It also arrived at a point when public awareness of the crisis was warming up (pun definitely not intended). Step back (almost) ten years to 1995 and the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) released its second report, which indicated that humans were having a "discernible influence on Earth's climate". Two years later the Kyoto Protocol is agreed to. As if to drive the message home, "El Nino" arrived a year later (1998) to give the world its warmest year on record and the infamous "hockey graph" about rising temperatures was released. In 2001 the world gasped as the USA pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, a document that would become international law for the remaining participants in 2005.

Accordingly, it is not surprising that, in the slipstream of all of this a series of movies would emerge where the Earth is either threatened or impacted by climate change. It would be fair to say that the majority of these movies have tended to take a more pessimistic outlook on man's ability to survive these threats. Not discounting Kevin Costner's "Waterworld", which arrived in 1995 and featured a planet where the icecaps had melted and humans were reduced to living on boats and tiny atolls on what resembled a desert made of ocean, 2004's "The Day After Tomorrow" eerily makes the Al Gore prediction that the Gulf Stream disappears and Europe and the northern hemisphere freeze over happen. "Flood" followed in 2007 as did Keanu Reeves' vehicle "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (2008) where he is an alien seeking to wipe out humanity because they are destroying the planet. The chilling (pun intended) "Snowpiercer" (2014) displays a frozen planet where humans survive on a train that is constantly circumnavigating the Earth. Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" provides us with a planet where the oceans cannot breathe, there is a lack of oxygen and, as a consequence, crops fail. Even the "Kingsman" franchise jumped on the bandwagon. Their first film "Kingsman: The Secret Service" (2014), has Samuel L. Jackson's eco-terrorist, Richmond Valentine, looking to wipe-out humanity as his way of curing global warming.
15. Roland Emmerich's 2009 masterpiece "2012" was based on which of the following events?

Answer: The end of the Mayan calendar

It seems rather appropriate that we end a quiz on end-of-the-world films with a film based on, what some have mistakenly deemed, an end-of-the-world prophecy. What would become known as the "2012 Phenomenon" was the culmination of a cycle of the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar, alternatively known as the Mayan Long Count Calendar. This was a 5,126 year cycle that ended 21 December 2012. For those countries that were a part of the Maya civilisation, this represented a time of rejoicing and celebration, because the Earth was about to undergo a positive change and a new age was about to be born. Accordingly, festivities were organised by these countries to mark the event. For the doomsayers, this was the end of the world. All sorts of rumours were promulgated such as "the world would get swallowed up by a super massive blackhole" through to "the Earth would collide with the mythical planet Nibiru.

It was lunacy. Too many people reacted with fear rather than scepticism. Religious splinter groups were spreading the gospel of the apocalypse. A story surfaced of a Chinese farmer who fell into heavy debt building escape pods that were supposed to be resilient enough to survive the coming disaster. Superstition reared its ugly in corners it should never have been in.

Emmerich's tale slotted in nicely with this approaching madness. It told the tale of the Earth's core heating up thanks to the radiation from an unprecedented solar storm. As the Earth's crust became increasingly unstable, government leaders and the rich elite were putting forward billions of dollars to garner tickets on a range of "arks" that would manage to save the rare few. The film would culminate in a series violent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis of extraordinary power that would wreak havoc across the globe.
Source: Author pollucci19

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor skunkee before going online.
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