In Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later Britain is horrifically decimated by the outbreak of a virus —and it doesn’t merely kill people it transforms them into raging homicidal maniacs. Stephen King’s masterpiece, The Stand, also features the release of a superbug that brings civilization to its knees.
Swine flu may not be as scary as the viruses in fiction, but the outbreak is a potent reminder of how the invisible world around us is rife with danger —real and imagined. There was a quaint time when radiation was the most ominous specter we faced. The atomic age inspired works as diverse as On the Beach, Godzilla, and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.
Of course it was frightening —but somewhere along the line microbes became our most popular boogeymen. Killer bug stories run the gamut from Michael Crichton’s science minded thriller Andromeda Strain to the over-the-top 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead.
It’s still early to say if life will imitate art and the swine flu crisis will hop the fence and become a pandemic. My advice is don’t panic —but just in case you may want to read this handy article about dealing with zombies.