Zombies and doomsday viruses: what is Hollywood really telling us?

August 2, 2015

By Craig McKee

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Of what may come. Of each other.
If movies and television in the last few years are any indication, we have so much more to fear in this world than losing a job or a relationship or our health. Our “entertainment” is telling us that a terrifying future could arrive at any time in the form of a doomsday virus that threatens to wipe out civilization and all of us with it.
Over the past decade, the sheer number of movies and television shows that have focused on killer contagions that threaten humanity with death or some kind of horrible transformation is reaching—forgive me for this—epidemic proportions. And there are more being made all the time. There are so many that it has become impossible to see these shows and movies as being made simply because the topic is “popular.” Something else is going on. It’s downright weird.
These entertainment vehicles seem to be telling us that the things that hold our civilization together can disappear overnight. People can turn into vicious creatures, literally feeding off each other as our emotional connections and our biology betray us. The more fundamental message we get is: Don’t trust anyone. Fear your neighbor. Isolation is survival.
Movies and TV shows about killer plagues are not new; they have been around for decades. In the 1970s, during a very cynical and anti-establishment time, we had “infectious” David Cronenberg horror flicks like Shivers (1976) and The Brood (1979), the film version of Michael Crichton’s cautionary novel The Andromeda Strain (1971) and George Romero’s zombie plague in The Crazies (1973).
Of course, Romero really kick-started the modern popularity of zombie films with Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985). After 20 years away from the series, Romero discovered the resurgence of interest in zombies over the past 10 years, so he made three more films on the subject. And in recent years, Dawn of the Dead (2004) and The Crazies (2010) have been remade. The tagline for The Crazies now is “Fear Thy Neighbor.”
These films and programs are not only showing us what might happen if a catastrophic viral outbreak were to take place, they are also introducing us to the idea of what life might be like if society broke down and we no longer had anything resembling security or technology or rights.
To try to figure out why we have been seeing this bizarre and disturbing trend, it is necessary to consider the concept of “predictive programming.” This refers to the use of entertainment and other cultural artifacts to introduce us to planned societal changes. As we come to see these potential changes as familiar, we also have an easier time imagining them to be normal, acceptable, and inevitable. Frequently, story lines show us the proliferation of video surveillance, electronic eavesdropping, RFID chips, facial-recognition software, and retinal scans to identify us, watch us, and track us. We’ve also become used to the routine appearance of police in full SWAT gear and the accompanying depictions of martial law.
The truly dangerous thing is that we’re getting used to all of it—and that’s the idea. When we saw actual martial law imposed in Boston during the search for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after the Marathon “bombing,” we didn’t blink an eye. Media commentators didn’t even address the question of whether the limited imposition of a police state was in any way justified. No one seemed to mind that innocent people were being forced to close their businesses and remain in their homes, at least until they were forced to leave them at gunpoint to allow for illegal and unconstitutional searches. It was all seen as a reasonable response to a “bomber” on the run.
How did our familiarity with martial law through entertainment aid in our acceptance of this violation of individual rights in Boston? And is it beyond the realm of possibility that powerful interests that want to stifle dissent and tighten controls over all of us would exert influence over which subjects are given vastly increased dramatic treatment? Is it unreasonable to see entertainment as a form of thought control?

The Planet of the Apes series (the first one began in 1968) is now being remade, and guess what caused the apes to take over the world this time? Yup, you guessed it. As we see in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), a virus sweeps the globe and kills most of humanity. This leads to a shutdown of all technology, another theme that has become significant with TV shows like Revolution and Under the Dome.
In the ‘90s we had the TV mini-series of Stephen King’s opus The Stand (1994) and the Terry Gilliam sci-fi fantasy 12 Monkeys (1995)—both of which saw most of humanity wiped out by a virus—and Wolfgang Petersen’s Outbreak (1995), which brought us martial law and the possible bombing of a town to destroy an Ebola outbreak.
When it comes to TV success with the apocalyptic zombie genre, it’s tough to top Frank Darabont’s The Walking Dead, which debuted in 2010. So it would seem reasonable to suggest that other producers have simply jumped on the bandwagon. And in some cases this is undoubtedly true. But one “hit” can’t come close to explaining the incredible proliferation of these shows. We also have, starting later this month, a prequel to The Walking Dead called Fear the Walking Dead, which shows how the plague that created all the zombies got started. The catch phrase on the poster is “Fear Begins Here.”
Starting in 2008, The History Channel produced the documentary series Life After People, which looked at what would happen to the Earth if people suddenly disappeared. Another British show called Survivors, which ran from 2008 to 2010, looked at a virulent flu virus that wipes out most of humanity. Then we have The Last Ship (2014), which follows the exploits of a group of survivors after 80% of the world’s population has been wiped out by a global viral pandemic. Helix (2014) looked at a viral outbreak in a scientific outpost in Antarctica that turns victims into zombie-like creatures.
Guillermo Del Toro has created another contagion show called The Strain (2014) that features a plague spread by ancient creatures that feed off humanity. That one gives us zombies, vampires, and a mysterious infection all in the same show. One of the heroes is from the Center for Disease Control, an organization that pops up often in these programs. A new show called Zoo, based on a James Patterson novel, looks at another pandemic that turns animals against humans. And there is Z Nation, which is about yet another plague that causes yet another zombie apocalypse.
It gets really interesting when we note that shows about plagues in past decades are being remade now as if we didn’t have enough shows on the topic already. Both The Stand (2015) and The Andromeda Strain (2008) have been remade as TV mini-series while 12 Monkeys (2015) has been turned into a TV show. Tagline for The Andromeda Strain, “It’s a Bad Day to be Human.”
Starting to get the picture? Starting to see a pattern? And that’s just TV. In the past few years, there have also been many feature films that combine zombies with the notion of a viral plague. We have World War Z (2013) about a zombie pandemic that threatens humanity with the UN coming to the rescue; 28 Days Later (2002), about animal rights activists who release animals that carry a deadly virus; and the sequel, 28 Weeks Later (2007), which shows us London under martial law as it tries to regain control after the plague, only to lose it again. By the way, World War Z 2 is coming out in 2017. For more examples of zombie/plague movies—and there are a lot—check out the list later in this article.
But not all plague films deal with zombies; some are just about mass death and the end of the world that we know. Recently, we’ve had Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion (2011) with its telling slogan “Nothing Spreads Like Fear.” Other posters for the film (one shown above) feature this teaser: “Don’t talk to anyone. Don’t touch anyone.” I kid you not. Parts Per Billion (2014) gives us an apocalypse for the mature set (thanks to stars Frank Langella and Gena Rowlands) with its schmaltzy tag, “When the World Ends, Will Love Survive?” Yuck.
So we have seen epidemics combined with zombies, but we’ve also seen them connected to the idea of an alien invasion in aptly named films like The Invasion (this 2007 film is the fourth based on the 1955 novel The Body Snatchers), The Signal (2014), and Slither (2006), which combines aliens, zombies, and an epidemic. In 1982, we had The Thing (which was a remake of the 1951 thriller The Thing From Another World) and its delightful slogan “Man is the Warmest Place to Hide.” Not shockingly, this alien contagion thriller was remade in 2011. It appears that we literally can’t get enough of these films. Ironically, it is the aliens that are infected at the end of War of the Worlds (2005).
We even have comedy and romantic zombie movies like Shaun of the Dead (2004), Zombieland (2009), Warm Bodies (2013) and the TV show iZombie.
Here is a list—undoubtedly incomplete—of films made since 2000 that deal with people being “infected” with some kind of virus that leads to horrifying consequences:

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014): Some sort of global plague has wiped out most of humanity, giving apes a definite leg up.
  • Absolon (2003): A virus wipes out five billion people and the only thing standing between the rest and death is a drug called “absolon.”
  • Retreat (2011): A couple in a remote cottage get a visitor who tells them that an airborne killer disease is sweeping Europe. Tagline: “No neighbours. No help. No escape.”
  • Slither (2006): An alien plague infects a small town with really disgusting slithering slug-like things.
  • Dawn of the Dead (2004): A global plague creates flesh-eating zombies while people hide in a mall.
  • Azaan (2011): A secret agent must stop “terrorists” who are about to unleash an unknown strain of the Ebola virus.
  • The Invasion (2007): Aliens use a plague to take over people’s minds and flatten out their facial expressions.
  • I Am Legend (2007): The last man on Earth talks to himself a lot and fends off zombie-like survivors infected with a virus that wiped out humanity.
  • The Crazies (2010): Residents of a small town become insane killers after a mysterious toxin infects their water supply. It’s considered too late to bring in bottled water.
  • Parts Per Billion (2008): A global pandemic kills millions, and three couples get all romantic and sad about it.
  • Contagion (2008): Another global pandemic kills millions very unpleasantly. Revealing tagline: “Don’t talk to anyone. Don’t touch anyone.”
  • World War Z (2008): A UN employee attempts to save the day as he tries to find a cure for a zombie pandemic that threatens humanity.
  • Shaun of the Dead (2008): A light-hearted look at zombies trying to eat everyone in an English village.
  • Warm Bodies (2008): A romantic comedy about a young woman falling for a surprisingly engaging zombie. A rare optimistic film on the topic.
  • Cell (2015): A mysterious signal is broadcast that turns people into maniacal “zombie-like” killers.
  • The Signal (2008): A pulse is transmitted that turns people into maniacal killers: zombies, if you will.
  • Zombie Apocalypse (2011): A zombie plague kills 90% of the American population.
  • Quarantine (2008): Residents of an apartment building are infected with a virus that turns them into bloodthirsty killers of the zombie variety.
  • Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011): They thought they had it contained, but passengers on a plane are infected with the same virus, and it turns them, as you might expect, into bloodthirsty killers.
  • [Rec] (2007): Firefighters enter an apartment building and are attacked by the victims of a terrifying virus who have turned into zombies.
  • [Rec]2 (2009): Cops in riot gear go into the building with the terrifying virus, and they find out that riot gear doesn’t work against zombies.
  • [Rec]3: Genesis (2012): A couple’s wedding is ruined when the guests turn into zombies and kill everyone.
  • [Rec]4: Apocalypse (2014): They try to isolate a virus in the middle of the ocean that turns people into zombies, but it doesn’t work. More zombies.
  • The Happening (2008): A mysterious plague causes people to begin committing suicide. Many watching this movie had a similar impulse.
  • Virus Undead (2008): A virus carried by diseased birds causes corpses to reanimate in search of human flesh.
  • Pontypool (2009): People are driven mad by a virus carried by the spoken word.
  • Flight of the Living Dead (2007): A virus causes people to turn into zombies on a plane. (A line you won’t hear in the film from Samuel L. Jackson: “I have had it with these motherf*#king zombies on this motherf#@king plane!”)
  • I Am Virgin (2010): The survivor of a global pandemic is hunted by other survivors. Not sure where the virgins come in.
  • Blindness (2008): An epidemic of blindness causes society to break down. People become disagreeable without literally turning into zombies.
  • Extinction (2015): They thought the cold had killed all the zombies, but they were wrong. I guess regardless of the movie, you still have to shoot them in the head.
  • Doomsday (2008): A virus kills millions and a wall is built around Scotland to contain those infected. 25 years later the virus is back and lots of things get blown up.
  • Mulberry St. (2006): A deadly infection in Manhattan causes humans to “devolve into blood-thirsty rat creatures.” Actual rats are not sure what to make of this.
  • Resident Evil (2002): A lab accident causes hundreds to turn into flesh-eating creatures. The story continues in Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), Resident Evil: Extinction (2007), Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), and Resident Evil: The Last Chapter (coming in 2016).
  • Bio-hazard: Degeneration (2008): A Japanese film about a deadly virus being deliberately unleashed.
  • Cabin Fever (2002): Five college kids rent a cabin and are infected by a flesh-eating virus.
  • Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009): A flesh-eating virus is spread through bottled water.
  • Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero (2014): The flesh-eating virus is back, this time on an island.
  • The Roost (2005): The undead arise on a farm.
  • Carriers (2009): Four friends fleeing a global pandemic find out they are carriers.
  • The Thaw (2009): An Arctic research expedition releases a deadly prehistoric parasite.
  • Mutants (2009): A couple hides from the zombie apocalypse spread by a virus only to find one of them is infected.
  • Last of the Living (2009): A virus turns people into zombies, essentially.
  • Mission Impossible 2 (2002): Tom Cruise and his team try to recover a man-made bioweapon virus.
  • Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005): Army loses control of bacteriologic weapon that changes human DNA. Conflict ensues.
  • Infection (2004): A Japanese film about a virus that breaks out in a hospital. You’d think that would be convenient, but it isn’t.
  • Ultraviolet (2006): A virus gives a woman super powers in the future. (Now this sounds like fun!)
  • Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America (2006): An avian flu is transmitted to humans, as the title fully explains.
  • The Terror Experiment (2010): A terrorist tries to expose the government’s biological warfare weapon, a deadly virus that causes people to kill each other as viruses in movies tend to do.
  • Zombie Strippers! (2008): A zombie epidemic sweeps through a strip club. Still looking for the virgins from the other movie.
  • The Veil (2005): A town is infected by a deadly virus and military types are sent in to find survivors.
  • Antiviral (2012): Obsessed fans pay to have viruses injected from celebrities. If this sounds like the plot of a David Cronenberg film, it should because it was the directorial debut of his son, Brandon.

Incredible, isn’t it? Over the top? I would add “disturbing.” That’s 57 movies, and it’s not a comprehensive list. All of these have come out since 2000 and 50 of them in just the last decade.
Does this simply reflect our anxiety about the state of the world? Is it a depiction of some of the things we fear most about the future? Or could it be an effort to cause anxiety, to distract us from the atrocities routinely carried out by the elites who currently run things in our world? What is the military-industrial-entertainment complex (as dubbed by Fox Mulder in an episode of The X-Files) trying to tell us? Is it trying to prepare us for things to come? Does it want us to be ready to meekly accept the horrors that our elite rulers have in store for us?
It’s interesting that in the late 1990s and early 2000s—especially prior to Sept. 11, 2001—we had a lot of movies that featured aircraft and asteroids and monsters crashing into buildings like the World Trade Center. I wonder what they were preparing us to accept then…
And now we have epidemics, including man-made ones, threatening to wipe out humanity over and over and over again. And in the midst of all this “interest” in epidemics, we had a real Ebola outbreak in Africa last year that made a brief appearance in North America.
Ever get the feeling the powers that be know something we don’t?
It seems that this explosion of films and TV about contagions and plagues is telling us several things. It tells us that we shouldn’t worry about fixing the world so that it has justice, peace and freedom; we should just be glad the lights work and that we can watch football once a week. The alternative is going back to basics in an effort to outsmart flesh-eating zombies. No more football, and probably no more lights.
These movies and TV shows tell us that living in peace, co-operation, and connectedness with others on this planet is an illusion, a luxury we can’t afford when survival is on the line. In the end, it’s eat or be eaten. The message is that we must be suspicious of each other, mistrustful of each other, isolated from each other, and when it comes down to it, we have to struggle against each other to survive.
As with all forms of control, it’s about fear. People who are afraid, don’t question, don’t challenge—they will do what they are told. They don’t look up the food chain at the psychopaths that are truly feeding off this world; they look sideways, at their neighbors. And they fear and suspect them instead.


  1. Yeah, it’s not a pretty picture. But then, considering ‘sustained development’ is precisely the principle of cancer and looking at the state of nature (our life source) something will have to give in any case. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if there were a ‘plan’ going forward that does NOT include Mr & Mrs John Doe (the name of the entirety of the inhabitants of your former neighborhood reduced to future archaeology site)

    “As with all forms of control, it’s about fear. People who are afraid, don’t question, don’t challenge…”~Craig McKee
    This is very true. And it is people who fear who write this stuff as well as produce the media representations of it. I think we have a more complex psychological situation than simply putting this into the context of a ‘conspiracy’.
    Demonic entities have been part of folk lore of humanity since humanity came into existence. Fear of the dark, fear of the unknown arose with the consciousness of future and the imagination of what might be beyond the edge of the camp fire. Distrust of “other” is not a modern phenomena. It is primordial.
    ‘The Revelation of St. John’ is “predictive programming” for Christ’s sake (literally)!
    This is a huge subject, that must be investigated from many angles, and states of mind.
    Craig has opened a Pandora’s Box presented by but one perspective.

    1. I have no doubt that there are many perspectives from which one could look at the subject I have addressed here. And art being a product of the things that our culture fears or reviles or is a very important area of study, one that I learned about in my days as a film student. In particular, I had a professor named Robin Wood (he wrote Hitchcock’s Films, one of the most respected books about the Master of Suspense.) who taught courses on the horror film. It is from him that I learned about David Cronenberg, Roman Polanski, George Romero, Brian De Palma, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, and a host of others. For Wood, horror was an expression of the things our culture cannot accept, cannot absorb. The “monster” directly represented this. He taught that the horror in films is what happens when there is “surplus repression” (repression that is in excess of what is needed for us all to live together) in a culture – in this case a patriarchal culture based on the nuclear family.
      In the American horror film (especially of the 1970s) we definitely looked far beyond what a filmmaker consciously was trying to say with a film. We looked at works of art as being the product of a culture, influenced by what that culture fears and feels threatened by. For this article, I consciously chose to look at the phenomenon of films about the destruction of society (by contagions, in this case). I could also have looked at other types of “end of the world” or “end of society” films (which I will do in the future). The reason I focused on conscious decisions to produce films of the type I describe is that I think there are simply too many of them for it not to be conscious on someone’s part. Horror films of the ’70s brought showed us that the horror was a product of the family, and one could see this being something more than just the work of “auteurs.”
      I think the recent obsession with end-of-world scenarios does reflect our fears in a frightening time in the world, but I think it is too over the top to be just about our fears. The phenomenon is trying to create fear.

    1. But why is this so-called ‘predictive programming’ so popular and ‘successful’?
      It is because it has RESONANCE with the human psyche; as my first comment proposes. An analogy to what I am suggesting can be found in the way that mind-altering substances work on the psyche molecularity through what are called RECEPTORS:
      THC the active molecule of cannabis – Cannabinoid receptors, located in the brain, are part of the Endocannabinoid system which is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite.
      LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide has a structure that is very similar to a few neurotransmitters that are naturally produced. The key it is most similar to is a neurotransmitter known as serotonin. Serotonin is used to modulate and signal a variety of things in the brain. Visual processing (or what you see) utilizes a lot of serotonin. Almost all of the senses have some serotonin input as well. Emotional processing (sad, happy, excited, etc.) is also heavily serotonin influenced.
      LSD happens to be even better at activating serotonin receptors than serotonin itself, so it essentially increases the normal levels of signaling by serotonin (it does this through a variety of mechanisms, not just limited to better binding – it actually releases extra serotonin, changes the lock to accept keys more readily, etc.).
      Dimethyltryptamine, aka DMT, is a naturally occurring substance … DMT binds to serotonin receptors in a manner similar to how psilocin and LSD does.

      1. So could you tell me to what extent you see predictive programming as a conscious propaganda tool (or secret societies telling us what they are going to do before they do it) and to what extent a product of our subconscious?

        1. As a researcher into such areas as propaganda, the Public Relations Regime spawned by Bernays and Lippmann in particular, I think there is certainly a large aspect of this that is based on the agendas of the elite and the secret societies, and the power politics of the State.
          What I am pointing out here is that the human mind is naturally receptive of these messages.
          I think the key to grasping the power these messages have over us as individuals and societies is first and foremost; understanding ourselves.
          This is why I ended my last comment with this advice:
          Remember it is your personal reaction to stimulation that matters. Whether you accept being driven by fear or wonder is up to you.

    2. I am very interested to know this also. Thank you for the suggestion. I have a book called The CIA in Hollywood by Patricia Jenkins, which looks at films the CIA has had a direct hand in, but I very much want to explore the subject further – not just CIA influence, but the influence of the powerful over films for propaganda purposes.

  3. It would be great, Craig, if you could do a follow up piece fleshing out this sentence:
    “In the late 1990s and early 2000s—especially prior to Sept. 11, 2001—we had a lot of movies that featured aircraft and asteroids and monsters crashing into buildings like the World Trade Center…”

    1. 9/11: Hollywood Preps the American Goyim
      One of many movies from that Israeli ‘kibbutz’ on the West Coast, Hollywood, that teaches, no, propagandizes into gullible Gentile minds how to hate Arabs, but particularly Palestinians.
      The movie is “The Siege,” from 1998. Didn’t do too well at the box office, until the FALSE FLAG of 9/11, when it made the Big Time in the rental market.
      What is especially eerie about this movie is the background prop, the World Trade Center, which appears no less than eight times in a movie less than two hours long. Nearly every time the WTC is in the background, there’s violence in the front, always attributed to radical Muslims who want to cause harm to the USA.


    2. Indeed, I shall produce such an article or articles, thanks Barbara. I have studied this phenomenon for some time now. In fact, this current article is the product of that original study going back four or five years.

      1. “Indeed, I shall produce such an article or articles”~Craig
        Fabulous! This is such a deep and multifaceted topic, that it can be explored almost endlessly.

  4. Godzilla
    Traumatic Reaction is a counterpoint to Predictive Programming.
    The psycho-sociological aspects of the original Japanese film ‘Godzilla’ is a case in hand. We can look at many of the late 40’s and early 50’s sci-fi and horror films in this light. Standouts would be, THEM, TARANTULA, and the penumbra of “Mad Scientist” horror films of isolated “doctors” doing bizarre human experimentation.
    “Art imitating Reality/Reality imitating Art” a socio-psycho dialectic cycle.
    “Is it live or is it Memorex?” … Is it a Threat or a Warning?
    This question goes all the way back to analysis of Plato’s REPUBLIC, and moves forward to, THINGS TO COME, BRAVE NEW WORD, NINETEEN EIGHTY FOUR, and so many other speculations couched as metaphor and story.
    The agenda of authentic and “real art” is a personal quest following the Muse. The attempt to hijack this agenda for the purposes of political power has been a constant since the first “fertility figure” was sculpted by some neolithic proximate artist [see: ‘Art & Artist’ by Otto Rank, as well as ‘Denial of Death’ by Ernest Becker]
    The double bind here is the paranoia – the very fear we wish to avoid, being permeated by our social theories and accepting a black & white simplistic explanations for what are in fact many shades of gray and complex questions.
    Remember it is your personal reaction to stimulation that matters. Whether you accept being driven by fear or wonder is up to you.

  5. I feel we need to draw some distinctions between predictive programming and the social engineering aspects of the fear-porn we have been exposed to. And, the cumulative effect that the combination of the two in varying doses have on individuals, as well as groups and societies.
    As Craig points out in his article, the predictive programming aspect of it numbs the society to sights like shutting down a metropolitan city at gunpoint to hunt down just two people. It’s a familiar sight after all. Seen it in many movies, tv series, comic books for decades. And it is always performed by selfless and altruistic “good guys”, who are portrayed by well liked actors, out to protect “the citizens”.
    Even if we would buy into the full effectiveness of predictive programming, and the notion that what is portrayed in these “dystopian future” narratives are soon to come to a neighborhood near you, and accept that this is the future that has been planned for us in a very literal sense, the masses ultimately still feel somewhat “good” about the relative comfort and order they are experiencing in our dystopian present. The frogs, no matter how hot the water gets, go to work, come home, eat drink, make love and carry on with their daily existence, and feel grateful that at least they are not in the frying pan they keep seeing in the movies.
    Societies seem to rarely become aware that when that future finally comes, although the core principles are the same, it looks very little like what they have been presented in the form of fiction. For example, when I first read 1984 in the late 70s, when it could still be considered a futuristic novel, I, along with millions of people, lacked the imagination to foresee that the telescreens would not be a state enforced, mandatory implementation, but rather something that we would actually willingly and happily pay a lot of money for and willingly place on our desks, in our living rooms and carry in our pockets.
    How much of predictive programming is by design, and how much of it is generated in a feedback inhibition cycle by writers, directors and actors who buy into what eventually becomes folklore, and produced by people who are not really conscious of the true effect of their creations is a very interesting and nuanced question to explore. Was Orson Wells aware of the social engineering aspect of War of the Worlds, or was he just a young artist who was savoring the power that his art and his intellect could have on people? Or was he just hired talent for the true designers of an experiment? Whatever the answer to these questions may be, during the 80 years since then, the play’s effect on people and the ensuing hysteria in reaction to it have been thoroughly and scientifically examined, improved, and weaponized in the hands of people who make it their business to control and manipulate the masses.
    For one to be afraid of something, one would need to have actually thought of it first. If you were to airdrop an 18th century Chinese person in the dark Rumanian forest at night time, he might be scared alright, but his will certainly not be a fear of a blood sucking man with a cape and a tuxedo who comes out at night and does not react well to garlic. In that sense, Hollywood’s job, with its reach into minds in all corners of the world, seems to be to create this shared folklore that the shitizens of the world lack. Once the buttons are installed, they can be pressed as needed ad nauseam. Global governance requires global fear.
    This is where the topic moves from predictive to suggestive programming.
    Let’s say the genocidal maniacal rulers do not really have a plan to wipe out 2/3 of earth’s population with some sort of engineered virus (although, even if they don’t, I’m pretty sure they’d like to have it in their arsenal of “options”). Now that we have been primed with all these works of fiction, and a fear button has been installed in the masses, all they have to do is to make up a story of a viral outbreak, report as few as 20 dead, and our minds quickly go to such extremes, which, in turn, induces such great (and totally disproportionate and unjustified) fear, that “they” are given full license to tighten the healthcare noose around our necks without even a peep from the people… Even from well meaning doctors and scientists who would ordinarily be intellectually aware of the absurdity of the laws passed based on baseless claims. Just like mere mention of a “school shooting”, even one without casualties, induces memories of much bigger ones like Columbine and Sandy Hook, or a retarded and drugged out Muslim getting caught with firecrackers in his underwear induces memories of planes crashing, buildings “collapsing” and thousands dying. Or just use any of the trigger words like terrorism, extremist, jihadist, epidemic, virus, etc.
    You whip a wild beast really hard to induce pain, and subsequently fear of the whip… Then, all you need to do is to crack that whip in the air to make it do what you want… But the best part, so to speak, is that all the other beasts watching this succumb to the whip almost without the need to go through the real whipping stage.

    1. Excellent comment Lilaleo! You seem to mirror my views in your own unique personal style.
      A clear and distinct style that I have always admired in your commentary.

      1. Well is sarcasm an “empty defense” that would be the question. After all the first attack on the World Trade Center blamed on Muslims was in 1993. We know that aircraft as a weapon was not the novel idea we have been told to believe.
        To point to this cartoon illustration of definitive proof of some “inside connection” of the authors, you are reaching towards a wobbly hypothesis. This can be said for most of these images: This was a popular motif of the time, that it was ‘popularized’ is the basic argument that this was all an agenda for an event that was at hand in the near future. This is plausible, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of those who used the motif and meme were “part of the agenda” – that is not the way popular culture actually works. Fads are ubiquitous in this petri dish we cal “culture”.

        1. In Stephen King’s novella ‘Running Man’, a plane was highjacked and intentionally crashed into a high-rise building in a futuristic Co-op City (Bronx).

          1. I haven’t seen the film version. Probably a blessing really. I have always hated watching a Hollywood version after reading the book.
            That Italian 9/11 documentary is quite comprehensive, I am watching it right now. Thanks for turning me on to that.

  6. There is no hypothesis in my providing the link for Vice commentary, Willy.
    Not everything that has any similarity to major events needs to be predictive, or show some kind of foreknowledge. Not to mention that whether or not Vice had any foreknowledge is quite irrelevant and unnecessary to show that the attacks had required years of planning, and chances are, it was already in the works by 1994, and that the first attack was the seed attack that primed us to accept muslims as the attackers on 9/11.
    But, when a “journalist” decides to write a few words on the claim that tinfoil crowd is making about the eerie similarity between the cartoon and the event, signs it as “Vice staff”, opens it with a lizard joke, and goes through other wisecracks without even addressing the issue in any intelligent way (like you did for example when you talk about the motif of the times) and ends it without using a single adjective that classified the similarity at least as peculiar, or unfortunate, or something, I feel I have every reason to point out the extremely disingenuous brushing off that little piece accomplishes.
    I know you to be an expert in argumentative fallacies and language in general. And this vice “explanation” of “ha ha, they think bla bla, lizard bla bla, bildererg bla bla” stinks to high heaven whether the cartoon is proof of anything or not.

  7. I had also noticed the proliferation of zombie movies and wondered what it was about. My best guess is that our fascist overlords do plan to snuff out a large number of us by engineering a collapse of the electrical grid, thus leaving us alone in the cold and dark. They are hoping for the maximum in suffering, hoping that we will turn on each other in aggression or hide from each other in fear, when society breaks down and food and water become scarce.
    I think they create these movies to literally program us to behave in the most negative way possible, even to the point of killing and eating each other. They will watch the chaos on their surveillance cameras, as they sip cognac and dine on rare lamb chops and braised asparagus.

  8. Anatomy of Fear
    Psychology Today

    Fear is an emotion we all experience at one time or another, and its effects are important to understand when talking about disasters. As soon as you feel fear, the amygdala (a small almond-shaped organ in the center of your brain) sends signals to your autonomic nervous system (ANS), which then has a wide range of effects. The ANS kicks in, and suddenly, your heart rate increases, your blood pressure goes up, your breathing gets quicker, and stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released. The blood flows away from the heart and out towards the extremities, preparing the arms and legs for action. These effects served us well millennia ago, in situations where we were faced with beastly animals that thought they had found dinner.
    In modern times, however, bodily responses to fear can be detrimental, especially since the most important one is a negative one: the brain basically shuts down as the body prepares for action. The cerebral cortex, the brain’s center for reasoning and judgment, is the area that becomes impaired when the amygdala senses fear. The ability to think and reason decreases as time goes on, so thinking about the next best move in a crisis can be a hard thing to do. Some people even experience feelings of time slowing down, tunnel vision, or feeling like what is happening is not real. These dissociative symptoms can make it hard to stay grounded and logical in a dangerous situation. Essentially, the body’s response to fear or stress can be stressful in itself.


    1. “Anatomy of Fear – Psychology Today” is a good primer on the psychology of fear, but there are more complex issues involving how media interfaces with this psychology.
      I have dedicated two threads on HR1blog to some of these issues;
      Take note especially to this section:
      Media psychology draws from multiple disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, neuroscience, political science, rhetorics, computer science, communications, and international relations.
      How TV Effects Brainwaves
      “Formal Features” are the camera cuts, pans, zooms, etc. used very frequently in TV and movies. Because these “formal features” are so novel, and different from normal everyday reality, they trigger the brain’s “orienting response”. The “orienting response” is an important brain reflex that alerts us when there is a change in the environment. This “orienting response” is an essential survival mechanism because it forces us to pay attention to any (potentially dangerous) changes in the environment. Because of the involuntary nature of the “orienting response”, another name for it is “involuntary attention”.
      It turns out that the “orienting response” has a particular brainwave effect. Namely, when the “orienting response” is triggered, the alpha brainwaves decrease. This decrease in alpha waves has the effect of making the brain more alert. Once the brain ascertains that whatever triggered the “orienting response” is not a threat, the Alpha brainwaves quickly return to their previous level.
      Also, during the “orienting response” (“involuntary attention”) the Gamma brainwaves disappear. This decrease in Gamma waves has the effect of breaking the person’s focus. Unlike the Alpha brainwaves, the Gamma brainwaves have a harder time returning to their previous levels. If the “orienting response” is triggered too often (as with TV watching) the brain stays unfocused.
      The greater the frequency of these formal features, the fewer the number of fast brainwaves, the less focused the mind. An important feature of the Orienting Response is Habituation…

      1. In effect “the medium is the message” just as McLluhan revealed. It is what TV does to you that is most important, the content is incidental to the effects on the human brain waves.

  9. How Netflix’s New @Daredevil Series Makes: Torture Into a Virtue
    from reason.com: The Daredevil series on Netflix is about how one man, alone and with right in his heart, can change a city for the better using only one weapon: torture.
    Politically the Daredevil series, based on the long-running Marvel comic about a blind superhero whose alter-ego is a criminal defense lawyer named Matt Murdock, is a casual mess — a melange of half-digested, not especially coherent liberal and conservative talking points thrown together almost at random.
    The series’ working-class Hispanics living in rent-controlled apartments under threat from evil developers is a basic lefty meme. The all-consuming corruption of government institutions, from politicians to police, is borrowed from libertarian or right-wing distrust of government. The Kingpin — a powerful crime boss and one of Daredevil’s arch enemies — is a villain to liberals because he’s super-rich. He’s a villain to conservatives because he’s a dreamy and hypocritical help-the-poor idealist. In short, there’s a reason for people of every political persuasion to be flattered or irritated, as long as no one thinks about it too hard.
    But amidst the ideological confusion, the one consistent value is torture. To unravel the Kingpin’s web of corruption, Daredevil resorts again and again to threats and violent interrogation.

  10. I think the zombie theme is effective in introducing the idea that large segments of society are expendable. It gets us used to the idea that the sick, the poor, the elderly, the people in the twin towers are expendable. We are being conditioned to accept that people will be sacrificed so that the most valued can survive.

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