Published March 07, 2012
This week Discovery Channel’s new series “Doomsday Bunkers” offers a look into how some Americans are preparing for what they believe is a rapidly approaching end of days.
But what exactly is a 'doomsday bunker'?”
As entertainment writer Hollie McKay puts it, they are “secret, underground safehouses built to house families and keep them safe through Armageddon-like catastrophes. For some [families], the biggest concern might be power grid failures, nuclear disasters or earthquakes. Others are more focused on preparing for shooting sprees, tsunamis, terrorist attacks or even an extreme economic collapse.”
Sounds a little scary, doesn’t it?
So let's imagine that you and your loved ones need to head down into your doomsday bunker. What will you do with all that free time and how will you keep your mind off the impending doom?
Watch a movie or two... of course.
Here's our look at the top 10 films, in no particular order, you've gotta have while waiting for Armageddon to strike (and 10 more you should be sure to stay away from). They’re all great films and can act like a first aid kit in your new temporary home.
Hopefully you won’t be the last person on Earth, but in case the world is overrun by the walking dead, this Vincent Price classic, based on the Richard Matheson story “I Am Legend” is essential viewing. It will give you tips on how to ward off those brain-munching creeps. Plus, there’s nobody else quite like Vincent Price.
If you’re feeling lonely underground you can always watch Tom Hanks and listen to those soothing sounds of the waves. He’ll teach you how to make fire (not recommended indoors), give you hope for survival, and ultimately pat you on the back and let you know it’s okay to befriend inanimate objects in extreme situations.
This is probably my favorite movie. This would definitely come with me in the bunker. “Sneakers,” which is about computer hackers who break into banks to test their security systems, has a fabulous cast featuring Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, River Phoenix, Ben Kingsley, David Strathairn, Mary McDonnell and James Earl Jones. If you have a working computer and if your Internet connection is still working, then using “Sneakers” as your guide, you can learn to control the outside world with just the click of a mouse.
Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” is essential because it gives a brief history lesson of movies in a loving and entertaining way. If all movies are wiped out and “Hugo” is the last, it’s a great blueprint to making others so you’ll have more films for future bunkers. Double whammy!
This is one of the most beautifully shot films ever made. William Wyler’s (Ben-Hur) epic is very long, almost three hours, so it will certainly help pass the time. Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Jean Simmons and Burl Ives star in this western. The characters are incredibly layered and the gorgeous cinematography, with beautiful panoramic vistas, will satiate that desire to be outside. It’s better than hanging a painting on the wall.
“Surely you can’t be serious.” You’re stuck in a bunker. You’re going to need to laugh at some point. “Airplane” is one of the funniest movies ever made. In case you age in the bunker, the jokes never will, so you’ll have great laughs for a very long time. Plus, Lloyd Bridges is an excellent indicator of crazy. If you start sniffing glue like him you know it might be time to check outside.
Some “Star Wars” viewing is essential. I chose this one, not because it’s the best, but because it has a cliffhanger ending so you’ll have the will to survive to leave said bunker and watch “Return of the Jedi.” Otherwise you’ll never know if Darth Vader has a daughter! Say it ain’t so, Yoda. Say it ain’t so.
If you’re stuck in the bunker over Christmas, it’s good to have this on hand in case the cable’s out. It’s either this or “A Christmas Story.” You can’t guarantee that USA will have the “Christmas Story” marathon running, so stick with a copy of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Jimmy Stewart will make you shudder with pride and feel all warm and fuzzy. For those frosty evenings where you need a pick-me-up.
More Jimmy Stewart! He’s just irresistible, isn’t he? Your bunker may not have windows so you can live vicariously through this peeping Tom. It’s exciting and suspenseful, too. And has Grace Kelly. She’s gorgeous. Like “The Big Country,” better than hanging a picture on the wall.
In case you can’t get the news, Sidney Lumet’s eerily relevant 1976 classic is the best movie about the news. Great script, great acting, just all around brilliant! Just check for safety first before you stick your head outside and, like Peter Finch, yell, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more!”
Here is our list of movies you probably shouldn’t take with you into the bunker:
REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (2000)
This movie makes you feel like you’re on drugs. Not good for small, enclosed spaces.
THE ROAD (2009)
A bleak movie about the end of the world. Your hope may as well die along with you.
This movie’s simply terrible.
PANIC ROOM (2002)
If you’re already feeling claustrophobic, this thriller about a women trapped in her own panic room won’t help matters.
A movie about people tortured is not recommended for a bunker.
This movie is so bad it’ll make you want to wander away from the screen and go outside. Dangerous!
THE THING (1982)
This film focuses on people stuck in a snow camp (a situation similar to a bunker). One of them is an alien. They turn on each other. After watching this one it will take all your strength to sit down for a nice paranoid dinner with the family.
THE PARENT TRAP (1998)
Steer clear of this version of the classic film -- it has twice the amount of Lindsay Lohan.
Justin Craig reviews movies for FoxNews.com.