Apocalyptic viruses - epidemic epidemics
Plagues such as plague and cholera or rabies are the greatest enemy of humans: viruses, not sharks or lions, killed millions. Since AIDS, the vampire's oral blood infection has become more fascinating, and today's horror film zombies are becoming more and more biological: black magic takes a back seat to zombification, because the postmodern zombie generally suffers from a virus that mutates it into a murderous instinct - sometimes he’s not even dead. These viral zombies are seamlessly transformed into virals that are not zombies, but go blind or rage madly.
After AIDS, the zombie film currently reflects the fear of epidemics that globalization can carry to the metropolises from remote corners of the world and against which there is no antidote: in 1994 bats transmitted the Hendra virus to horses and these to humans. The sufferers suffered from severe pneumonia. SARS-Corona killed almost 900 people and probably first appeared in Guandong in 2003. The West Nile virus infected 10,000 people in America between 1999 and 2003, 300 of whom died. These diseases will not be the last to haunt us - and fear is growing.
In addition, traditional pestilences are also causing new victims: flu as well as tuberculosis. Travel to Africa and India are standard today; the risk of being infected with rabies there is much greater than at the time when there were foxes with this disease in Germany.
Outbreak - silent killer
In 1995, Wolfgang Petersen turned a thriller about a virus from the Congo: in 1967, two American scientists witnessed how people in Zaire died from an unknown virus infection. Officer McClintock then wipes out the entire village. But a few years later, the search broke out again in the same area. Colonel Sam Daniels detects an extremely dangerous form of the Ebola virus - then the disease breaks out in a city in the United States. Daniels looks for the transmitter, he suspects an animal as a host and finds him in a monkey.
The US Army developed the virus as a biological weapon and plans to eliminate the researcher; but Daniels convinces a pilot to take him out of town instead of bombing it out. Outbreak tells a credible story; But it's less about the horror of a virus than a detective story.
28 days later
Animal rights activists save chimpanzees from animal husbandry, they do not know that they are infected with a virus that exposes their aggressiveness - the "anger" virus. They free a chimpanzee that bites and the calamity takes its course: in a few seconds the bitten will transform into frenzied monsters that also bite themselves.
London was destroyed 28 days later. The bicycle messenger Jim missed the catastrophe because he was in a hospital with a coma, he meets mountains of corpses - a raging something in the priest's robe pounces on him. The screams of the infected entice the other sick and an unnaturally fast-moving horde chases Jim. Selena and Mark save him from the virals and take him to his parents in Deptford. They killed themselves. An infected person bites Mark, Selena kills her companion immediately. They meet two other survivors, Frank and Hannah. The group made their way to Manchester, when Frank became infected with a dead man, soldiers appeared and relieved the companions of the task of killing Frank; however, the soldiers themselves are dangerous and sexually harass women. Jim flees to the infected area.
28 days takes over the effects of the new zombie films, but is not one. Rabies served as a model. The plot looks fairly realistic; The deserted London is cinematically outstanding at the beginning (when the film was released in cinemas in 2002, a masterpiece). However, the question arises as to why people affected by an illness move unnaturally quickly - and over a longer period of time. Although this brings shocking scenes, it reduces credibility.
28 weeks later
In the second part of 2007, Central London is free from infection. After a few weeks, the sick died of exhaustion. The US Army has occupied the city and is bringing the survivors to a collective camp that is under surveillance by the military.
Survivor Don also comes to the camp and meets his children there. The beginning shows how Don survived by letting his wife Alice die. A horde of infected stormed her house, the woman tried to protect the child, and Don fled with a motor boat.
But Alice survived, traumatized she now crawls around her house. The children sneak out of the security zone and find their mother. Alice is taken to the military station and examined: the senior doctor is surprised to find that the survivor is infected - she obviously has a genetic immunity.
Don meets his wife in the quarantine room, kisses her and also becomes infected. He kills them, bites them, infects others who infect others, and the military loses control. The order now is to kill everyone who is in the zone - without distinguishing between the sick and the healthy.
Scarlett, the senior doctor, wants to save the children because she hopes that they will have their mother's genetic immunity and hope to defeat the virus. The sniper Doyle denies the order to kill and joins Scarlett with the children. He leads them out of Zone 1 - shortly afterwards the army destroys the entire area with incendiary bombs and uses poison gas.
Soldiers burn Doyle with flamethrowers, Scarlett and the children flee into a subway shaft. Don finds his children and slays Scarlett. He bites the boy, but the boy stays healthy. Son and daughter find the helicopter pilot Flynn, who saves them from the burning city. The film leaves open whether they survive - it ends with the virus breaking out on the continent.
28 weeks later captivates with its realistic representation of the military restricted area and a brilliant implementation of the classic elements of horror: isolation and darkness in the subway shaft with simultaneous permanent threat to the army and the infected at the same time.
Resident Evil from 2002 started a film series: Apocalypse (2004), Extinction (2007), Afterlife (2010) and Retribution (2012). The director filmed a series of computer games and used its aesthetics: the T-Virus turns humans into frenzied undead and depopulates the earth. The last humans starve to misery in hiding. Alice drives the motorcycle through the destroyed USA. She has superhuman abilities - a clone of her is used by the Umbrella Corporation as a biological weapon. The company tries to control the zombies. The experiment succeeds, and Dr. Isaac turns a zombie into a compliant slave - the company develops a mutant killer zombie.
The technical effort is impressive, but the characters lack the meat - even those who are not zombies. Those who like the computer game will be served, those who expect an intelligent action will be disappointed.
Quarantine by John Erick Dowdle from 2007 is not about zombies, but rabies. Quarantine is filmed like a documentary: a reporter makes a report about the fire department in Los Angeles and accompanies it on a mission: a woman screams in her apartment, the reporter intrudes with police officers - the resident seems disturbed. Then she rushes to one of the police officers and bites his neck. The house is quarantined - no one is allowed to leave it.
A sick dog seems to be the cause. Veterinarian Lawrence predicts rabies. He looks at the madmen and recognizes the symptoms of Lyssa: paralysis and drooling. A health official takes a brain sample from the wounded - they become conscious and one bites the veterinarian. The officer clarifies the trapped: In fact, it is a mutated rabies virus that breaks out in a very short time.
The cameraman and the reporter are the last survivors. In the attic you will find the traces of a man who stole the virus from an arms laboratory. The cameraman is bitten by an infected person, at the end the camera shows how someone is dragging the reporter into the dark.
Quarantine shines as a (still) conceivable horror film, because the virus does not serve as a pull out of the brain for a monster story: Real rabies is one of the worst epidemics, incurable and associated with frenzy. The perspective through the television team's camera lens also helps credibility.
The Walking Dead
In the television series "The Walking Dead", a virus transforms people; after her death, it only puts the animal part of the brain back into operation. A group of survivors led by police officer Rick Grimes is looking for a safe place to live; the "biter" constantly threaten them, some of the group are bitten, others kill themselves and some go their own way.
"The Walking Dead" is not a zombie series, but a lesson about people in exceptional circumstances: what happened when everything that was taken for granted disappeared? When is suicide an alternative? How do I save my children? When and who can I kill? How do I change if I kill? How does fear of the infected change behavior? Whom can I trust? How do I deal with strangers?
"Walking Dead" confronts the viewer with existential questions, the pros and cons of which the individual figures represent. Their various solutions are not good or bad, but logical - from the warhorse who kills to survive to the humanist who calls for human rights to those who are potentially dangerous: to kill a prisoner who could betray the group to enemies and out of him It would be safe to torture information beforehand - but doesn't this murder destroy the last thing that separates people from zombies?
What does privacy mean in chaos? Is suicide a solution? Can I sacrifice an individual's life for the survival of the group? Where's the line between man and monster?
The strength of the viral road movie lies in these conflicts; and the characters carry it out credibly. "Walking Dead" dares to tell a story - in times when the special effect displaces the script, it is worth a lot.
The city of the blind
Blindness, produced by Japan, Canada and Brazil in 2008, leads to a city of the blind. People go blind and infect other people with their blindness; the infected are interned in a psychiatric facility and felons and refugees are killed.
A woman keeps her eyesight but stays with her husband. Initially, the inmates democratically split the assigned food. Then a station takes over the dictatorship over food, demands the valuables and later the women. Your accountant is blind from birth and can therefore orientate himself better than the infected - but the dummy blind is more than equal to him.
The blind men of the violent regime rape a woman so that she dies as a result. But the mere blind man kills the leader of the perpetrators and the fight begins. The psychiatry burns down, the survivors flee: the guards have cleared the field and there is chaos outside. All people are blind, there is no electricity, dogs eat corpses and the blind are fighting over groceries in supermarkets.
The doctor's wife leads the group to her husband's house. There the first infected person can see again. The others hope for salvation. But the sighted is afraid to go blind now. Blindness is an extraordinary film. On the one hand, he does not stage the usual virus beasts either as zombies, werewolves or vampires, of which the horror film is teeming, but shows blindness.
On the other hand, blindness acts as a metaphor: How do people who lose their bearings behave? Some respect human dignity; the others enforce the rule of thumb. Darkness, disorientation and isolation are core elements of horror, in addition there is the melting pot, here the closed room, here the institution. Blindness brings this structure of the uncanny inside - the loss of sight. The story offers great potential for alternative developments: what if the blindness does not stop and the birth-blind become leaders of a new society?
Are viruses conceivable that make a person a zombie? Blindness and quarantine show possible developments: There are epidemics in which living people go blind or bite. Viruses also destroy brain functions - as well as other diseases that intelligent people are mentally deadened: In Alzheimer's, for example, memory ceases.
However, zombie viruses like in Walking Dead reanimate the brain after a person is dead. There are no such viruses, because death means death. Even if there were viruses that started the regeneration of cells, they would not revive a dead body.
Benjamin Percy / Red Moon
"If George Orwell had envisioned a future with werewolves, that would have been the novel." John Irving
Werewolves who blow up airplanes and a presidential idiot who mutates into a werewolf himself? That sounds like crazy esoterics or a satire on just that. But it is not, but a parable - in the tradition of George Orwell's "1984" or Karel Capek's "The War with the Newts".
In "1984" George Orwell outlines total manipulation that is no longer recognized by the manipulated; In Karel Capek's “War with the Newts”, amphibians serve as slaves for the men until, literally, they undermine the world of men.
What does Percy tell in his novel published in 2014? The Lycans suffer from a mutation that temporarily transforms them into animal species. This is why doctors used to cut out parts of their brains; the victims died or vegetated. At the same time, the Lycans got a “republic” in a wilderness near Finland, where the USA exploit uranium and subjugate the Lycans. Lycans fought for their rights: some became professors at Lycan University, others went into armed struggle. Today Lycans have to take a drug that almost kills their emotional world, and this is proven in blood tests. Most of them falsify the tests, others continue to sue for their rights, and the guerrillas mutate into religious terror.
Lycan terrorists are causing a bloodbath on three planes, and that is the hour of the governor of Oregon, William Chase: “This is a special hour. America is under attack. ”The rancher's son looks as if Charles Bukowski had mixed George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and Arnold Schwarzenegger into a pulp and then pulled through the loo.
He proclaims: "Extreminism can only be combated with extreme measures" and calls for a public database for Lycans; they are no longer allowed in airplanes and civil service; they should get a stamp "Lycan" in the passport. Liberals argue that Lycans are not terrorists; but the public belongs to the demagogues.
The president is bitten - the secret Lycan meanwhile rushes on, but at the same time searches for a vaccine. Patrick, the "wonder boy" was the only one to survive the attacks, and the fascist militia "The Americans" wants to send him to battle as the "chosen one". But his mother has mutated herself and he falls in love with the Lycan Claire. Government killers murdered her mother and father, Claire escapes to her aunt Miriam and learns that her parents fought for the revolution but renounced violence when Claire was born. Miriam's husband Jeremy, on the other hand, is the "Andreas Baader" of the Lycans and responsible for the attacks. Jeremy is arrested and sentenced to death; As a radical civil rights activist, he resorted to (counter) terror, but other motivated people have long taken over arms: Balor sees himself as a tool of God and wants to create a "pure Lycan world".
On the day of Jeremy's execution, the moon turns red; an explosive-filled Cessna races into a nuclear power plant; 100,000 die immediately; the western United States is contaminated and is being evacuated. Balor presents himself as a priest-king in the "ghost country". In the end Patrick is bitten and comes close to Claire; at the same time he finds the vaccine, but Claire refuses to take it - because the wolf is on her side.
"You cannot defeat us, because we are part of you," civil rights activists called to the police in 1968, and Percy outlines an America that oppresses a minority and thus goes to the very hell that the agitators previously painted on the wall. The cracks go through each individual's psyche. He understands the craft of the higher-level narrator who shows but does not teach; in this way it challenges the reader to take a position himself - and at the same time presents a black pearl of the fantastic.
"Another zombie novel, but now it is enough", the reader may groan and leave the professed on the shelf. That would be a mistake, because the novel by M.R. Carey is great.
A fungus that normally uses ants as a host mutates and attacks humans. The parasite controls its behavior in its sense. Almost all of them are infected and move through the country as externally controlled cannibals.
But some infected children are different. As soon as they smell people, they too become monsters; otherwise they behave as normal. Researchers examine them in a militarily sealed institute, lock them in single cells, shower them with chemical soap and feed them with maggot porridge. The researchers use a preparation that covers their human smell.
Most teachers have no problem violating children's human rights because they believe that children's behavior is also controlled by the mushroom. Mrs. Justineau, on the other hand, treats them like people and teaches with warmth. Melanie, 10, is the most talented of the infected children. and she loves Mrs. Justineau. But an ice-cold researcher wants to kill the girl to dissect his brain. In it she suspects the cure for the pliz.
There is an open conflict between the two authority figures. Then hell breaks loose: “Schróttwühler”, not infected, who roam the area as privateers, break into the station and drive the infected like a herd of cattle.
The researcher, Mrs. Justineau and a soldier flee in a military vehicle - Melanie is there. The soldier sees her as a monster that he would kill at the next opportunity, and the researcher wants to continue dissecting her - but both are only true of Mrs. Justineau's body.
Melanie not only accepts her identity, she also sees the danger it poses. The others are dependent on them, because the infected person is the only one who can venture out and explore the area.
On a foray, she sees a group of wild children their age. They have built up a kind of tribe and hunt rats. She doesn't tell her group about the discovery, but claims that she came across a gathering of junk burrows.
The fungus spread so quickly at the time that the British government set up a mobile laboratory on a bus. The group now encounters this laboratory on their odyssey. The researcher feels in paradise; she has been poisoned with blood and knows that she will soon die.
But it is facing a groundbreaking discovery. She saw an infected person pushing a stroller and realized that some of the infected people had more areas of the gehrin than was suspected. Children like Melanie are the key; that's why she needs the girl alive now.
The researchers had overlooked one point: infected people reproduced. That's where children like Melanie come from. The mushroom mutated; in the second generation he no longer destroys his host, but enters into a symbiosis with him. Children like Melanie are no longer destroyed by the mushroom, but live with it. You are human and mushroom at the same time.
The group meets the center of the mushroom in London. A fungide wall extends from one horizon to the other. Melanie persuades the group to burn the “forest”. The fire spreads like lightning.
However, Melanie's goal was not to destroy the fungus. She learned in Mrs. Justineua's class that plants in the rainforest need fires to blow up their seed pods. This is exactly what is happening now with the spores of the mushroom, which spread like snow in the sky.
That is the end for the earlier people. Melanie comes to Mrs. Justineau with the wild children, and just like her, these symbioses of mushroom and human are. Melanie says that the junkyard and the infected destroy each other. But your generation will survive as people - but differently than the people of the old days. Mrs. Justineau is supposed to teach them to tame the monster in them.
The characters initially look like woodcuts: the ambitious scientist who walks over dead bodies; the teacher who protects her students; and the experienced soldier who thinks hard and pragmatic. But they develop, and at some point it is unclear who is good and who is bad. At its core is the relationship between the teacher and the student and the message that a warm education brings hope - even under the worst circumstances.
Justin Cronin's end-time episode, "The Passage," split readers into enthusiasts and haters. Cronin develops its novel world in detail. He keeps the distance to these people in a completely different society: They think differently, they move differently in time and space. They lack the means to communicate globally. Your communities know nothing about each other.
Hollywood action lovers will find this too literary - friends of Orwell, Melville or Faulkner, on the other hand, will find something that has become rare: an elaborated epic.
Justin Cronin interpreted the motif "the monsters of human mind are turning to flesh" in "The Transition" and "Twelve". A virus is said to make people immortal. Scientists are experimenting and testing the virus on twelve very serious criminals. The twelve become monsters with supernatural abilities, break out, scatter the pathogen and within a short time the virals dominate most of America. But a test object does not mutate into a monster and carries the hope of being saved: Amy.
Cronins Plot is classic - almost too classic. But the professor for “creative writing” masters his craft masterfully. The destroyed America is becoming very plastic, as are the relationships between people. For example, a addict of fame gains world fame because he bunkers in a high-rise building in viral-dominated Denver and posts his "Last Stand" on the Internet.
An autistic bus driver perceives the downfall in his closed world. Cronin makes the reader tremble from one cliffhanger to the next; and the reader realizes that Virals America is no stroll - at the latest when his darlings die.
Cronin says: “I develop the world before I tell the story. I keep the distance to these people in a completely different society: They think differently, they move differently in time and space. Your communities know nothing about each other. What does love or friendship mean to you? When it comes to the characters, I go intuitively, watch my characters closely and pay attention to the details. ”
Cronin doesn't like illogic. The fight scenes seem lifelike; he got advice from professional soldiers. He meticulously researched how long a group would need from A to B with the available technical means, what people in the destroyed world would eat, how this food would affect the body. How do survivors get resources? Seemingly banal questions, such as how a car works, are vital for people who are on their own.
Cronin says: “How does someone improvise when driving a Porsche for the first time? Which weapons can be used in which situation? A soldier in a house war knows that, or dies - just like in the fight with the "virals". Being a soldier means making decisions about life and death and changing everything in a second. ”
In “Twelve” Cronin uses (old) old literary patterns: “I start with a chronicle, as it can be found in scriptures. The beginning of the community in the fight against what we call evil is also very classic. I was inspired by “The lonesome dove”, a western. It contains all elements of the Western genre, rattlesnakes as well as revolvers or whores and is also a literary masterpiece. "Twelve" is also a road novel. The Western lives from city dwellers who prove themselves in the wilderness of America and have no idea what is in bloom for them. In the destroyed America of the future, this wilderness is returning. "Twelve" is a second Noah story: what happens after the deluge? "
The journey through the destroyed country is only one motive; another is society. How do people organize themselves in an environment full of monsters? Cronin differs here from the horror mainstream of America, in which the effect is in the foreground. It shows political contradictions. How people build their respective colonies has advantages and disadvantages.
Cronin says: “People in the city are closest to the Texans. Civilians and military officers divide the forces and believe in their personal strength, they know the story. You decided to fight. The first colony, however, is reminiscent of a kibbutz in Israel and is organized almost Marxistically. Their members survive because they are entitled to them. Everyone brings in their skills and only together they are strong. The separation of powers and the collective characterize these two paths; the third is cooperation with the powerful. Some people want to benefit from the power of the immortals and run their camps. Democracy, communism and the third way is fascism. In contrast to Gulag and KZ, the inmates are not wiped out, but serve as feed. They are working slaves and cattle for slaughter. ”
Cronin develops his story and personal conflict for each of dozens of characters. What happens to the missing? Should I have a child in this world? It follows the protagonists that the virals they killed were once thinking and feeling people.
Post-apocalypse and post-modern
Today's post-apocalypse lacks the utopia of a better future as well as the absolute end of the world. It goes on, somehow. Cronin and Percy share that they compare without immediately judging.
As in Nietzsche's Zarathustra, the characters roam a world in which people (and other intelligent beings) organize their societies very differently. There is no salvation like in the Christian Apocalypse.
Nietzsche's conclusion “God is dead” suggests to relentlessly confront what is - and the dark heroes of the post-apocalypse have no choice.
The sociologist Ulrich Beck rightly called the situation in the "West" risk society. Traditional ties have lost their validity. What is euphemistically called "lifelong learning" means that there is nothing left to rely on: an apprenticeship does not guarantee a job; Family planning is a career risk. "Egotactic" - that is, acting in the situation - takes the place of life planning.
The post-apocalypses infected with viruses reflect this uncertainty. The “heroes” are on their own, have to constantly reorient themselves and nothing is what it seems. Success is achieved by anyone who is opposed to the situation without prejudice, and Melanie in Die Berufene looks like a dark version of Alice in Wonderland. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Professional supervision: Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch (doctor)