You Are There Popcorn Type Scares at a Place of Doom

by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
You Are There Popcorn Type Scares at a Place of Doom

Alien Invasions and flesh eating zombies dominate doomsday cinematic expressions of how human life terminates on Planet Earth. The  tent-pole summer blockbuster bally-ho normally achieves the frights with state of the art digital special effects and the world survives through the triumph of a hero or heroine with extraordinary super powers or just plain old strong abs and good intuition.

For 2012, sandwiched between “The Avengers,” “Men in Black III,” “Amazing Spider Man” and “Dark Knight Rises” rest an atypical group of alternatives aside from the raunchy screwball comedies or animated 3D family friendly talking animal parades. August normally wrought the latest “Underworld” apocalyptic  sequel (It does this year too), but directors seem fixated slipping the sky will fall in the scope of more intimate groups.

The world as we know it still comes to (or close to) an ending; yet, the countless shallow predictable character traits have been confined to a finite number of characters. Romantic meeting , greeting and sticking together flicks have hit a stone wall, so the latest challenge --- small group survival or finding a squeeze before the horn blows, THE END.

Horror found a new nuclear  premise on March 16,  1979 based on industrial dangers. Instead of a stray or intentionally dropped bomb, the lingering potential for radioactive fallout originated within a power plant with a not properly maintained nuclear reactor. A  TV Reporter played by Jane Fonda and her cameraman played by Michael Douglas witness a near nuclear meltdown during a tour of a California facility. What occurs in the control room is swept under the rug to protect the electrical company’s ass; the supervisor played by Jack Lemmon faces a dilemma --- protect his company’s billion dollar investment or reveal that the tremor and radioactive leaks have been falsified in the report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Ironically, less than two weeks later (March 28, 1979) Unit Two of the Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania plant nearly melted down. It was the more horrific commercial nuclear generating plant accident at the time. For Huntington residents, another irony, as the Three Mile Island disaster occurred and crowds packed Huntington's Cinema Theatre for "China Syndrome," in the east end of town trucks were filled with the debris from the in the process of demolition classified Huntington Pilot Plant, which contributed to uranium enrichment activities associated at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. While Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas and Jane Fonda followed their ethics and told the nuclear accident precisely, the tons of Huntington ruins were dumped in a classified pit in Portsmouth under machine gun guard. Some of the deadly debris may have passed through town while YOU went to or from the downtown showing.

On April 26, 1986, a reactor at the Chernobyl , Ukraine facility exploded. The radioactivity release forced a 19 mile exclusion zone  , produced increased cancer in former residents, and lead to deformities in the future populace.

Last year, April 27, 2011, an earthquake and tsunami disabled the Fukushima Daiichi reactors resulting in a series of explosions, escape to the air and ocean of contamination , and still to be determined health consequences on the former residents and , perhaps, the entire globe.

The fictional scenario for “Chernobyl Diaries” comes from the director who captured ‘ultra’ squeals through real time shaky camera , “found footage” perceptions (i.e. “Blair Witch Project” ,”Paranormal Activity.”)  Oren Peli’s chiller about a group of tourists trapped in forbidden territory near the still radioactive facility.

Written prior to unveiling, the secretive scenario (a.k.a. “Cloverfield” & “8mm”) , the answer to the “we are not alone” tags will not be known until the embargo is over. A little research turned up advance pronouncements that a “popcorn film” will follow, just one set  on the edge or a 20th century ghost town where far more than the official 26 people perished.

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