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We know what you're thinking. No, "sexy" might not be the first adjective that most people would attach to the end of the world. And yet, while there's definitely something about the apocalypse that's a bummer, especially if you've been saving up coupons, it has its fun side, too. The collapse of civilization does give you a chance to throw caution to the winds, go for broke, explore your uninhibited side — and, in the case of The Road, John Hillcoat's film adaptation of the novel by Cormac McCarthy, reflect that if you have to be cast into a wasteland to fend for yourself, it can't hurt to have Viggo Mortensen's cheekbones. By now, there's a sizable movie history of apocalyptic visions, and we can definitely say that some of them are easier on the eyes than others.
1. GLEN AND RANDA (1971): The '60s counterculture produced many a doomsday scenario, but none more nakedly tie-died than this hippie dream, directed by Jim McBride (The Big Easy, the Richard Gere remake of Breathless) and written by the novelist Rudy Wurlitzer, whose work suggested ancient Mayan prophesies of world destruction even when he was just writing down his to-do list. Steve Curry, a member of the original Broadway cast of Hair, and Shelley Plimpton (Martha's mother) play the perpetually naked title characters, who are too young to remember civilization and so spend their days frisking about the woods — at least until an older stranger (Garry Goodrow) passes through, visiting just long enough to impregnate Randa and pollute Glen's mind with fantasies of the big city by lending him a Wonder Woman comic book.
2. THE ROAD WARRIOR (1985): George Miller helped do his part to create cyberpunk with the first sequel to 1979's Mad Max, sexier and more apocalyptic than the original because more of society has been replaced by paved highway surrounded by desert and because more of Mel Gibson's face has been stripped of its baby fat. For those who like their action hard and lean and sprung like coiled steel, it's a hard one to top, and the S & M biker-bar trappings of the marauding villains confirm your worst suspicions that the rough trade will inherit the earth.
3. THE TERMINATOR (1984): James Cameron picked up the ball where Miller dropped it, with his first effort at (surprisingly low-budget) future-shock sci-fi. Can the human race, threatened by the rise of our mechanical overlords, fuck its way to salvation by producing a savior? The change-of-pace sex scene that leads to John Connor's conception shows that there are still some things that human beings just do better, even the ones played by Michael Biehn.
4. THE QUIET EARTH (1985): This New Zealand film stars the late cult actor Bruno Lawrence as a scientist who seems to be the only person left on Earth after a project he's been working on misfires. His responses to this turn of events — driving very fast on the unoccupied roads and wearing a woman's nightie while standing on a balcony and telling off an audience of life-size cutouts of world leaders (including Hitler and the Pope) — make as much sense as anything I'd probably think to do under the same circumstances. The fantasy takes a turn for the salacious when it turns out there's one other person left, and that you wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers. The subsequent discovery that there's still one other person left, and that the woman seems to prefer him to the hero, confirms that this is a realistic movie after all.
5. THE RAPTURE (1991): Michael Tolkin's controversial attempt to show that it's possible for a movie to take Biblical prophesy at least as seriously as vampires and zombies, The Rapture stars Mimi Rogers, arguably the most underappreciated actress and lust object of her time, as a Los Angeles woman who picks up good-looking strangers at the airport and takes them home with her co-orgiast, decadent Frenchman Patrick Bauchau. The film's first half hour is pretty steamy, but then Rogers makes the mistake of getting involved with the soulful young David Duchovny, who fixes his dreamy zombie stare on her and persuades her to marry him and get right with God. What follows makes for a great commercial for a life spent cruising for one-night stands at LAX.