- The Washington Times - Friday, May 1, 2009

With the swine flu spreading around the globe, we should count ourselves lucky that even the worst communicable diseases still have relatively low mortality rates. If we lived in the movie world, we wouldn’t be quite so lucky.

1. The Stand’s superflu — An altogether scarier version of the flu bug than the pig-borne variety, the virus in the television adaptation of Stephen King’s opus ravaged the world. Captain Trips, as the bug came to be known, was less a disease than the wrath of God, and its spread brought about the final conflict between good and evil. Not a bad day’s work for a self-replicating organism.

2. 28 Days Later’s rage virus — Though often described as zombies, the mindless infected in Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later” aren’t really the undead. They just have a real nasty virus, one that turns them into uncontrollable monsters and devastates the English isle.

3. The Andromeda Strain — Which would you prefer: quick death from your blood instantly turning to dust, or madness leading to suicide? Note to NASA: Please step up the virus-screening efforts.

4. Outbreak’s Motaba virus — Based on the real-life killer Ebola, the Motaba virus that spread throughout Cedar Creek, Calif., was especially nasty because it evolved into an airborne pathogen. Fortunately, Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo and Cuba Gooding Jr. were on hand to cure the terrible disease, which causes the organs to liquify and blood to pour from the eyes.

5. Blindness’ white sickness — In the land of the blind, Julianne Moore is queen. After everyone on earth is struck blind by a mysterious disease, society breaks down, and we see the world through the eyes of Miss Moore, the one unaffected person. Here the disease is far less worrisome than man’s wickedness toward his fellow man. Can someone say “symbolism”?

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