Scott offered insight into the strange compulsion felt by many people to watch doomsday movies during the coronavirus crisis.
Scott, who has previously published research on “the allure of dystopia in popular culture,” attributes the desire to watch films about pandemic disasters to “terror management theory,” which is that people are innately afraid of death and disaster, and want to escape from that fear.
Scott tells Buzzfeed that apocalypse movies may be the only reference point that people have for such a crisis as the coronavirus, and people are left to attempt to make sense of reality through fiction. Also, though, apocalypse movies can be reassuring and cathartic, because they put our real-life crisis into perspective, and by the end of the movie, the mess is typically “cleaned up.”
According to Scott, all kinds of movies can function as a much-needed form of escapism during this time of global fear and uncertainty. Turning to apocalyptic ones, then, might offer a unique form of comfort.
“Maybe the world is obliterated and our favorite character bit the dust in a tragic, drawn-out scene, but in the end, the world is saved,” Scott said in the article. “And I think that's part of that terror management theory of bringing us some comfort. There’s hope at the end.”
Read more of Scott’s insights at Buzzfeed.News.