Mushroom clouds. Vast, barren wastelands. Deserted roads.

The apocalypse is a paradise for misanthropes, but for the rest of us, it means a life of unending solitude, fighting off mutant creatures and getting drunk off Lysoltinis while eating Spamyonaise sandwiches. To paraphrase a wise cartoon clown, the survivors would envy the dead.

As John Hillcoat's 'The Road' shows us, life is hard after the world comes to an end. But as a public service to you, here are some tips you could use to make life that much more bearable. You'll thank us later. Mushroom clouds. Vast, barren wastelands. Deserted roads.

The apocalypse is a paradise for misanthropes, but for the rest of us, it means a life of unending solitude, fighting off mutant creatures and getting drunk off Lysoltinis while eating Spamyonaise sandwiches. To paraphrase a wise cartoon clown, the survivors would envy the dead.

As John Hillcoat's 'The Road' shows us, life is hard after the world comes to an end. But as a public service to you, here are some tips you could use to make life that much more bearable. You'll thank us later.


Make Sure You Are Heavily Armed

As Kurt Russell in 'Escape from New York' and Mel Gibson in 'Mad Max' have proven, he who controls the weapons, controls the people. When you're the last of a dying breed with very limited resources, people tend to get a bit edgy. Use force accordingly. Guns are key. Weapons that end in "launcher"? Even better.


Do Not Go Back in Time
Should the world spiral into a violent, free-for-all state, it may be very tempting, given the opportunity, to go back in time, especially if your success means a pardon from your prison sentence. But as Bruce Willis finds out in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys' (based on Chris Marker's revolutionary short film 'La Jetée'), unexpected (to him, at least), tragic consequences may occur.

If All Your Human Friends Die, Find a Animal (Or Don't)
If you're lucky (unlucky?) enough to survive, most likely, all your friends will be dead. Bummer. But there's hope to stave off loneliness. Find a talking dog, like Don Johnson in 'A Boy and His Dog' that can sniff out safe zones and steer you in the right direction, or a mule that you can brush the teeth of and perform Shakespearean plays with like Kevin Costner in 'The Postman.' If the animal in question is simian, though, a la 'Planet of the Apes,' prepare for a life of enslavement and mockery.

Study Science and Medicine Before the Apocalypse
As exemplified in films like 'The Last Man on Earth,' 'The Omega Man' and 'I Am Legend,' (all based on Richard Matheson's 1954 novel 'I Am Legend'), the last person alive will inevitably have to face some gang of vampires or other assorted, murderous miscreants. Staying alive means knowing how to develop a vaccine that reverses the world's descent into mindless, flesh-eating killers.

Always Seek the Advice of Someone Who Remembers When Things Were Better
It's a new world, and you're going to need the advice of some elder statesmen who can tell you endless stories about the "good ole days" when things were pristine and lively. If you're in a population where no one lives past 30, as in 'Logan's Run,' an old man will most likely scare the hell out of you. If there's worldwide infertility, stick with the old, long-haired hippie who grows his own weed, like Michael Caine in 'Children of Men.' Either way, age equals wisdom. Stick with them.

Don't Let A Lover Get in the Way of the Job
After setting yourself up with the basics -- food, clothing, shelter -- other needs will inevitably have to be met at some point or another. Amid the loneliness, you may find love a la Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner in 'On the Beach.' However, just like Captain Towers refuses to abandon his crew on the USS Sawfish, you should never let a lover distract you from doing the job at hand.

Avoid Mutating
With all the radioactive dust presumably in the air, this one may be tough to adhere to. But in films like 'Hell Comes to Frogtown,' where mutant amphibians take female humans captive for breeding, lunatics like Sam Hell (Roddy Piper) will come after you and dispose of anything green and moving.


If There's Only a Small Group of You, Be Cool
So maybe you're not the last person on Earth, but one of only a handful of survivors. Don't forget: all it takes it one person to ruin any semblance of group unity and harmony. In 1951's 'Five,' the first post-apocalyptic film, five people must work together to ensure the group's survival. Correction: four people and one obnoxious, gun-toting, racist loner. There's always one, huh?

Don't Trust Technology
As shown in any of the 'Terminator' movies, robots can be your friend, but more likely than not, they're out to get you. Rule of thumb: exercise caution with anyone who walks a bit wooden and makes electronic noises every time they move their head.



Dress Properly

We understand that in a future netherworld, nice clothes may be hard to come by. But for the love of Bond, just throwing on the first thing you see -- in this case, a bandolier-type shirt, codpiece, and Julia Roberts' boots from 'Pretty Woman' -- may result in your otherwise distinguished career being forever tainted. Just ask Sean Connery in 1974's 'Zardoz,' the sci-fi cult classic set in 2293. Or rather, just erase this picture from your memory forever.
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