It's been hard not to be glued to my computer and television, watching images of violence and looting in one of the world's most storied cities flicker across the screens. The riots that have been going on since Saturday don't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. People's homes have been burned, Parliament has been recalled and a soccer match between England and the Netherlands has been canceled (in a country where the Footie reigns, this is a big deal). The riots have also claimed their first victim: a 26-year-old was found shot dead in his car.
It is, to be sure, a devastating situation. Last night, I was combing Facebook for friends in London, to make sure they were safe. To my surprise, one of my English friends had posted as her status "going to the Winchester, having a pint and waiting for all this to blow over." BritCom fans will recognize the line from Shaun of the Dead, in which a barfly wakes up to a zombie apocalypse and proceeds to kill the brain-eaters with a cricket bat so he can make his way to his favorite pub.
I was relieved to see that she (hopefully along with many others) had not lost her sense of humor in light of this tragic episode in English history. These are the folks who withstood the Blitz; they'll withstand this, too; already, people are organizing mass cleanups of the affected areas via Facebook and Twitter.
Maybe it's the city's resilience that makes it such a go-to location for postapocalyptic settings. Here are five movies about a postapocalyptic London.
5. 28 Days Later
A deserted Piccadilly Circus gives me the creeps.
The adaptation of Orwell's book is only so-so, but the gray buildings, rubble-filled pathways and police state have all the hallmarks of an apocalyptic aftermath.
In Derek Jarman's 1978 cult classic, Elizabeth I time-travels to late 20th-century London to find it crumbling. The movie was shot entirely in London and used many derelict buildings left standing from the Blitz.
2. A Clockwork Orange
I mean, duh.
1. Shaun of the Dead
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Pretty much what you would actually do in the midst of a zombie crisis.