The Sunday Movie Apocalypse! “Special Bulletin”

14 Nov

Good afternoon children. Have you all heard of the Doomsday Clock? There are several versions, but the main one is run by the board of directors at the Bureau of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago. Essentially the closer the clock moves towards midnight, the closer we are to Armageddon. Currently the clock stands at 6 minutes to midnight (it was 5 minutes a couple of years ago), which means that we’re fairly close but no need to panic buy just yet. wow i feel safer already! And with that in mind it’s time for our weekly instalment of the THE SUNDAY MOVIE APOCALYPSE!!

And we return once again to the idea of nuclear disaster (after all they make the best scenarios), with the made for TV film “Special Bulletin”

Made in 1983, it shows a 24 hour news channel covering a situation where a group of terrorists have a home-made atomic bomb on a tug in Charleston, South Carolina. After taking several hostages (including several of the news crew), the group demands that the US disarm all their nuclear weapons… or they will detonate the bomb. What happens next is a tense standoff between the terrorists and authorities, all of it captured by the news channel.

Special Bulletin was made at the time of the rising of new tension between the US & USSR over issues such as the Star Wars programmes and the soviets in Afghanistan (remember when the Taliban were their buddies?). This brought a slew of new socially conscious dramas containing a “what-if” idea that we may be lurching again towards nuclear Armageddon. The films itself is pretty much ahead of its time, both in the use of 24 hour news networks as the driving narrative, and the use of video cameras to create an authentic “live” TV feel, as well as some fine acting (for a TV movie anyway).

Special bulletin has become a minor cult classic, but one that’s worth watching. Amazing to see how different it was all then (the terrorists are WHITE ferchrissakes!), to how our new War on Terror has got us all crapping our pants….

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Posted by on November 14, 2010 in Film


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