With the John Martin exhibition on at Tate Britain, we've been looking at apocalyptic visions.

Tate Debate Banner image

Writer Will Self chose an apocalyptic film season, including The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961), The Towering Inferno (1974) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004). Curator of the show, Martin Myrone, wrote about how John Martin has influenced game design, while a Late at Tate Britain in November explored the apocalypse through performance and music.

John Martin The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah 1852
John Martin
The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah 1852
Oil on canvas
136.3 x 212.3 cm

You’ve still got time to catch the screening of The Day After Tomorrow, but in the meantime, we’d love to know what you think has best raised a vision of the apocalypse.



That episode of Twilight Zone where a man all alone in a post atomic bomb world (he is the only one alive) goes to the ruined public library and find loads of books but then he breaks his own glasses! That's apocaliptic: solitude without being able to reed.


Definitely movies... Marlon Brando's impeccable performance in Apocalypse Now. Remember Kurtz? Remember "It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror... Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror." That and the first time you hear him just killed me: " I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That's my dream; that's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor... and surviving. " That was simply brutal. And recently Melancholia...it made me feel the panic, the anguish of the end like crazy! Really good...


Computer game Fallout 3, set in post apocalyptic Washington DC and it's locality. Wonderful visuals and many difficult moral choices.


In the week of author Russell Hoban's death, it has to be the fabulously dark novel Riddley Walker


Mixture of all three mediums best depicted the apocalypse

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Bruce Billis in Armageddon

upton bucle (pr...

Bruce Willis in "Armageddon" cheers upton x

M.K. Hajdin

Films: Blade Runner and Threads.

Art: I like the lurid lavishness of John Martin's vision, it seems so Victorian to me. Hironymous Bosch was interesting too with his queer bird-headed demons.

Music: Joy Division, Arnold Schoenberg. Neither is specifically apocalyptic, but there is in both the feeling of being overwhelmed by chaos and the forces of darkness.

Joe Hibbs

Personal favourite has to be the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty in Planet of the Apes. What a climax!

Great to see Brando's performance as Kurtz get a mention, I'd say the whole film is worth worth including. Not just because of the name - but the way it lifts the veil on the heart of darkness in a setting we can relate to.

M.K. Hajdin

I'm also fond of Nevil Shute's book On the Beach, though it has apparently fallen out of favor over the years.