The Rock’s newest action-disaster flick San Andreas officially hits theatres Friday, and it got us thinking. Whether it’s movies about natural disasters, alien invasions, zombie epidemics or other unpleasant forces, we have so much fun scaring the bejesus out of ourselves by watching the world crumble on the big screen with a side of popcorn. And with the films’ varying degrees of possible reality, boy have there been some freakin’ terrifying ones!
So in the spirit of San Andreas making our hearts race this weekend, here’s a look back at the top ten scariest end-of-the-world movies ever made, ranked from the least plausible to the ones that feel so real, it’s freaking scary.
The 10 scariest end-of-the-world movies ever made
10. The Birds (1963)As much as everything with feathers flocking together to kill the human race feels like a stretch, it happened in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. It was an unexpected and terrifying attack on humanity. Yikes. But you have to figure our winged brethren have some pent up anger after all of our Thanksgiving dinners.Universal Pictures
9. War Of The Worlds (2005)We loved the concept of our planet getting eviscerated by giant, ugly, mechanical aliens so much, that the film, War Of The Worlds, was actually made twice (in 1953 and 2005). We gotta hand it to those metal alien spiders. They zapped us real good!Paramount Pictures
8. This Is The End (2013)As funny as This Is The End was, the film's choice for earth's destruction was biblically terrifying. Literally. Hell rose, a demon came, and all sinners met their demise...especially those filthy rich Hollywood types. What was really scary was how much the cast got paid to goof around on camera with their friends.Columbia Pictures
7. 28 Days Later (2002)Waking up from a coma to find out that a monkey virus turned earth's population into infected killer zombies isn't exactly a treat. It's even scarier when dealing with it alone. That's the journey Jim took us on in 28 Days Later. It was one hell of a scary apocalyptic thriller that kicked some serious butt.Fox Searchlight Pictures
6. 12 Monkeys (1996)The potential of a deadly virus spreading uncontrollably to wipe out earth's population feels a little too close for comfort, doesn't it? The nasty virus theme has been common in a lot of great apocalypse films that we've loved. But 12 Monkeys did it the best and scared the crap out of us, even without zombies!Universal Pictures
5. Armageddon (1998)Forget the corny Aerosmith song and the terrible acting, the premise of Armageddon was scary, man! How often have we heard science-types say that a giant asteroid could come obliterate earth? One even beat up the dinosaurs. This was too close to home. Thank god for Bruce Willis' astro-mining team.Touchstone Pictures
4. 2012 (2009)Remember how terrified everyone was that the prophets might be right? That 2012 could have been the end? (A little, right?) Obviously Hollywood capitalized on that. And we ate it up with some Sour Patch Kids and a soda. Earth's expiration in 2012 was real rough, and at the time it spooked us into thinking "what if?"Columbia Pictures
3. Dr. Strangelove (1964)Dr. Strangelove might have been a dark comedy, but it was a spooky, political satire. Crazy, trigger-happy world leaders with nuclear weapons, hastily deciding to blow up enemy countries, ultimately leading to an apocalypse (ha ha)? Um, does that sound terrifyingly familiar? Yeesh. Kubrick was so good.Columbia Pictures
2. San Andreas (2015)Yes, San Andreas is just coming out, but after seeing the trailer for months now, it looks disastrously epic and scary as hell. The creepy part is that with all of the real earthquakes in California, who knows what the heck could actually happen there. Let's keep the effects to the big screen, shall we?Warner Bros. Pictures
1. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)Yes, The Day After Tomorrow was by far the scariest end of the world movie ever made. Didn't it feel way too plausible for comfort? The whole issue of climate change leading to an apocalyptic storm? The film may have stunk, but the concept felt real. Geez, why do you have to scare us like the Hollywood?20th Century Fox