Ancient Apocalypse films use the past to project a reactionary present into the future.
When we think apocalypse, we tend to think of the future. Accordingly, the apocalypse seems to show up on film only in the realm of sci-fi or, occasionally horror. But while every single hair on the rotting scalp of zombie cinema has been analyzed under bloodstained microscopes, a new subgenre has been emerging that wields the potent thought of the end of the world to even more reactionary ends. It uses the trope of apocalypse to project current power into the future by situating catastrophe and its overcoming in the past. These movies give voice to the blind hatred of the disgruntled agents of collapsing empire.
These films span a number of generic registers, from animated kid’s movie to big-budget summer production. You’ve probably seen one: 300, Noah, Gladiator, The Croods, Centurion, etc. These are the Ancient Apocalypse films, and they have opened up whole cinematic territories for a far-right theory of terminal crisis to play in.
Ancient apocalypse. Cognitive apocalypse.