Feeling a bit too chipper, eh? Well – I’ve got just thing thing for that. Broadcast on the BBC in 1984 – one year after ABC’s The Day After – Threads is a punishingly depressing and horrific account of Sheffield, England in the wake of a nuclear attack. Comparatively speaking, Threads is orders of magnitude more terrifying than Nicholas Meyers’ vision – post-bomb Sheffield makes atomic Kansas look like Disneyland.
Threads wasn’t the BBC’s first foray into nuclear war deterrence. Peter Watkins‘ 1965 effort The War Game, a documentary-style depiction of ‘life after the bomb’, was a similar and no less depressing account. (In fact, it was deemed so terrible that the BBC shelved it; The War Game remained unseen via television broadcast until 1985.)
While the immediate effects of the nuclear attack are nightmarish enough, what makes Mick Jackson‘s effort all the more effective is the depiction of Britain falling into a new Dark Age. While it pulls the film into the realm of science-fiction, watching barely literate schoolchildren fighting over scraps of food in a neo-medieval nuclear wasteland is awful in the extreme.
BONUS: Peter Watkins’ The War Game