Cli-Fi: Mother Nature vs. the Energy Crisis, Pollution, and Climate Change by Brandon Engel

The Daves would again like to welcome guest writer Brandon Engel with yet another of his insightful blogs!

Zombie movies are plenty scary, and horror films featuring psychos on a rampage are horrific, but there’s one thing that’s even worse: when mother nature gets fed up and doles out some hellish comeuppance. Such movies are increasingly referred to as climate fiction, which combines the horror and sci-fi genres. The scariness lies in the fact that the scenarios presented in these films aren’t far off from becoming reality – ENMAX estimates that in the US alone, only about 20% of our energy needs are met by renewables or cleaner fossil fuels like natural gas; mostly we’re still using energy sources that have been linked to climate change. Here are some cli-fi movies that imagine the consequences of nature truly going wild.

The Thing

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Much like some of the climate phenomena that the world is witnessing today, the villain in the 1982 movie The Thing is hard to describe. This sci-fi thriller starring Kurt Russell was a hit because it maintained its mystery right through to its conclusion. What, exactly, is this thing? Where did it come from? How does it keep turning random guys and dogs into terrifying monsters? No one could answer those questions, but what the survivors did know at the movie’s end is that The Thing would eventually be how they met their end.

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Cosplay & Tony Todd our Final Destination at “Days of the Dead!”

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Friday night at Days of the Dead didn’t have quite the after party Russ and I hoped for. That wasn’t shocking since Saturdays tend to be when convention festivities kick off and it certainly wasn’t everyone else’s fault that we were only staying over on Friday. After we ate dinner the convention rooms closed but Days offered activities in the hotel lounge which included a monster burlesque show.

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THING-FEST Contaminates “Days of the Dead!”

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Next to where the cast members of THE THING reunion were signing, was the amazing THING-FEST! This private collection owned by super-fan, Joe Hart, would feature the largest acquisition of props and memorabilia from the 1982 John Carpenter classic.

Though born and raised in New Jersey (a childhood friend of Kevin Smith), Hart now resides with his wife in Canada. What makes him so exceptional isn’t simply that he’s a fan who’s amassed lots of amazing goods, but that he’s one who willingly shares them with the rest of us. He does this utilizing his own time and resources and, in doing so, enhances the overall experience for everyone; something never more evident than at the Days of the Dead Indianapolis!

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John Carpenter’s THE THING Reunion!

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Days of the Dead’s THING-FEST; which not only included the largest gathering of actors from John Carpenter’s THE THING but also the biggest collection of props and collectibles, was well worth the trip to Indianapolis in itself. Russ and I are both huge fans of the movie and I’m expressing no hyperbole here when I say we were ECSTATIC to see a convention finally give it some proper attention.

From the film’s first pulse-pounding moments (enhanced even further by Carpenter’s fantastic score), I was captivated by it. And, in keeping with the film’s overall theme of paranoia, I also found myself rooting for the wrong side even before the opening credits had finished. Perhaps my devotion to THE THING is a prime example of how we, as adults, tend to be enthralled by the very things that provoked us as children.

…and seeing a “defenseless” dog getting shot at by a sniper in a helicopter absolutely provoked me.

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THE THING about “Days of the Dead” Indianapolis!

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The inimitable “Russ Wrangler” arrived at my place around 1pm; all smiles and full of energy. Clad in sunglasses and sandals, he looked more prepared for a day at the beach as opposed to a horror convention but clearly the overall message was “vacation” and a welcomed one at that. We loaded my things and immediately embarked for Indianapolis with no lulls in conversation, making the drive go by much quicker.

This was my third Days of the Dead in Indianapolis (fourth overall) and Russ’ second. I remember attending the very first one while being impressed with how fan-friendly it was; something I’d hoped hadn’t changed. It seems like fan conventions of any kind start off slow and friendly and, should they find success, later become out-of-control Goliath’s with the fans getting lost somewhere in the mix.

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What’s growing inside me!? Parasitic Horror/Sci Films to make your skin crawl!

Not long ago, I had a bit of a health scare. It started while I was on vacation in March enjoying the Horrorhound Weekend while also embarking on a zoo tour with the other Dave. I started feeling sore on my left chest and, after investigating, discovered a lump. I started getting scared as breast cancer is not a disease relegated to women (just ask Peter Criss from KISS) but also runs in my family. My mother successfully fought it back in the 90’s and last year my grandfather on my dad’s side was diagnosed as well.

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