At times infectious diseases in horror films seem to be the cause of such horrible things as zombie outbreaks or alien plagues that spread throughout the planet and kill everyone and anything. 28 Days Later, Stephen King’s The Stand, The Crazies, and Stake Land are just a few examples of this. The disease itself is just the spark for a theme that takes different paths than the story of the plague itself. Yet both film and fiction have actually used diseases as the main theme behind their plot where together sickness and paranoia spread and each become the antagonist of the premise.
With the home release of director Steven Soderbergh’s film Contagion infectious diseases once more are the forefront of table talk. Antibacterial gel, sexually transmitted disease, terrorist threats, swine flu, contaminated food … society has become not only more aware of such threats but also more fearful. Michael Crichton’s Andromeda Strain, Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever, and Masayuki Ochiai’s Infection are just some of the takes in art on how an infectious disease may extend through a group or population.
Dark Discussions discusses the impact of how such real world threats have brought about some films and novels of significance to the fan of techno-thrillers and horror cinema. Unlike zombie plagues, a disease itself can be based in the possibility of fact as much as a movie about war or natural disaster. With that in mind, this type of cinema or fiction can be more frightful than anything supernatural. Co-hosts Mike and Philip take a look into these nightmares. Before we begin let’s all press once more on our antibacterial gel hand pump.