Imagined visions of the future are often terrifying.
For any number of reasons, from environmental concerns to technological developments, creative minds around the world have looked forward and found reason for concern. Luckily for us, these anxieties have resulted in many memorable works of art.
So in light of the BBC’s recent “Visions of the Future” contest, in which the network challenged artists and filmmakers to come up with interesting and powerful visual representations of times yet to come, here are six films that did it already, and did it brilliantly.
Let’s hope that nothing depicted in these dystopian visions ever comes true.
1. THX 1138 (1971)
Photo Credit: Screen Insight
Before American Graffiti and the cultural behemoth that is Star Wars, George Lucas expanded his college thesis film into this horrifying vision. Everyone is bald and lives underground, no one falls in love, and creepy silver people taze you with metal rods. This is a world I’d never survive in.
2. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
Photo Credit: Drafthouse
George Miller’s sequel to Mad Max has our Aussie hero at war with a psychotic gang of oil-hungry marauders. The car chases and action sequences are beyond phenomenal, but the fact that everyone is so violent and fixated on oil is incredibly upsetting (though sadly not far from our present predicament). And any future where Mel Gibson is the best person is enough to terrify anyone.
3. Blade Runner (1982)
Photo Credit: Contains Moderate Peril
Adapted from Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” this Ridley Scott classic depicts a world where androids (or “replicants”) move seamlessly among us, and are hunted down by bounty hunters, called “blade runners.” None of this really bothers me. What upsets me is that the Los Angeles of the future is so dark and rainy. If this ever really happens to my beloved hometown, I don’t know what I’ll do.
4. 12 Monkeys (1995)
Photo Credit: Vigilante Detective
Based on Chris Marker’s brilliant short film La Jetée, Terry Gilliams’s movie takes place in a future where disease has driven the human race completely underground. Sure, there’s time travel, but who wants to deal with no sunlight forever? I’m talking to you, Seattle.
5. Battle Royale (2000)
Photo Credit: Cynicritics
This contemporary classic from Kinji Fukasaku features a group of middle school children who are forced to kill each other on an isolated island. Nothing pleasant to see here, just a lot of heartfelt bonding followed by merciless and bloody carnage. Incredibly entertaining, but not something you’d want to actually happen.
6. Children of Men (2006)
Alfonso Cuaron's film has Clive Owen navigating a world in which reproductive fertility is a thing of the past. In other words, no more babies. Besides a world without puppies, can you imagine anything sadder?