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"The Eastern world, it is explodin'

Violence flarin', bullets loadin'

You're old enough to kill, but not for votin'

You don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin'?

And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin'

But you tell me over and over and over again, my friend

You don't believe we're on the eve of destruction"
Barry McGuire, "Eve of Destruction"

An obligatory trope for any depiction of The End of the World as We Know It or other potential disasters is some crazy-looking person (usually holding a sign) or street preacher declaring that we should all repent because the world is coming to an end. Ha! As if that will ever happen!

Examples of The End Is Nigh include:


Comic Books

  • Tintin ("The Shooting Star"). The mad ex-astronomer Philippulus goes around in white robes, banging a gong and generally making a nuisance of himself.
  • Watchmen. Rorschach uses this as his cover. It also lampshades the threat of nuclear annihilation hanging over everyone (not to mention future events in the comic).
  • A guy like this is featured in one of the early issues of Buffy Season Eight.
  • Sight gag in an Italian comic book. Two men, holding signs that claim "The world will end tomorrow" and "The world will end the day after tomorrow" respectively, are beating each other in the background. In the foreground, a third man is reading a newspaper article titled "Is the world ending today?"
  • In one Batman storyline, the Anti-Hero Anarky distributes money to a wide variety of anti-establishment groups and individuals, one of whom is a doomsday prophet who uses part of the money to pay homeless people to walk around Gotham wearing sandwich-board signs proclaiming his message. (Unfortunately, he uses the rest of the money to finance his plan to blow up most of downtown Gotham, which he believes will kick-start the apocalypse.)


Comic Strips

 Ernest:You think that's right, Frank?

Frank: Of course not! They haven't even started rolling the credits yet.

    • In another strip, one man predicts the world will end today, one tomorrow -- and Frank observes they can't make ends meet.


Film

  • Played for black comedy in the opening titles of Zombieland, where a man with a sign saying THE END IS NEAR is being chased by zombies.
  • Don't forget that guy in Bruce Almighty who turns out to be God all along.
  • There is a random guy like this in 2012, seen on a street corner during the earthquake that eats California.
  • In the movie 28 Days Later, the main character Jim stumbles into a church that has 'THE END IS VERY FUCKING NIGH' written on one of its walls. Of course, the church is full of zombies...
  • There's a drunk guy in the diner in The Birds who claims that the apocalypse is coming.
  • In Independence Day, there is a preacher in the ruins of Los Angeles who is like this. Justified in that the end already came.
  • Sherlock Holmes. Crowds of of these are seen being broken up by mounted police outside the Houses of Parliament, indicating the "Panic, sheer bloody panic!" inspired by the villainous Lord Blackwood's return from the dead. One man really goes to town describing the terrible events to come.

 "The end is nigh! Blackwood's come back from Hell, and laid a curse upon this land! He walks in every shadow, and every puff of smoke. Behold, he cometh with clouds, and everyone shall see him!"

  • In The Seventh Seal, a radical flagelante comes before a crowd to tell them their all doomed, and says it several times in succesion. Lots of people actually pay attention to him, though, because they're all afraid of The Black Death.


Live Action TV

  • Doctor Who ("The Shakespeare Code"). The doomsayer is quite delighted that the end of the world is happening, crying: "I told ye so! I told ye so!"
  • Seen in the miniseries of Hitch Hikers Guide to The Galaxy, before the Earth is destroyed. When he realizes the end actually IS nigh, he abandons his sign.
  • The mini series version of Stephen King's The Stand featured one of these, played by Kareem Abdul Jabbar of all people. He goes all around New York City screaming "Bring out your dead" in a reference to the Black Plague, even before people start dying en masse from a disease with a 99% fatality rate. He actually survives the plague, and continues his doomcrying until Randall Flagg kills him personally.
    • The character was present in the book too, although in an even smaller role than he had in the mini series. Like in the series, he does the "Bring out your dead" shouting, but IIRC is a short, overweight white guy who runs away from Larry when Larry tries to approach him.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Towards the end of Season 7 as the population of Sunnydale pack up and flee, a crazy homeless guy is hauled into the police station shouting the Arc Words "From beneath you, it devours."


Music

  • Pretty much the whole point of Jethro Tull's album Stormwatch.


Newspaper Comics

  • Calvin had at least one strip with snowmen doing this. Jason as well.
  • The Far Side has a cartoon with a flea holding up a sign saying "The end of the dog is coming." He's right.
  • A cartoon in Private Eye parodied the media's constant scaremongering over issues like climate change and terrorism by having everyone in a street wearing "The End Is Nigh" sandwich boards, except one man, who is scorned and called 'weirdo' by the others.


Tabletop Games

  • Warhammer features Flagellants, mobs of unhinged religious fanatics who are convinced that the latest Chaos invasion, Orc Waaagh!, Dark Elf raid, Skaven uprising, Undead attack, civil war... anyway, they're convinced that it's the End Times and want to take part in the final battle. Since their fervor makes them fearless and they like to bludgeon enemies to death with two-handed flails, Empire generals tolerate their presence, even if army morale tends to suffer slightly.


Video Games

  • Empire Earth's units change appearances as you progress through time, the final prophet unit is a homeless-looking guy wearing only a sandwich board with "The End Is Near" written on it.
  • Neverwinter Nights has a few of these, with them thinking that the Wailing Death plague is a sign of the end.
  • In Infinite Space, Adis people do this near the end of the game. Of course, by the time they do this, the universe destruction has already started to happen.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, players can encounter a seemingly insane Chasind barbarian ranting about the Blight in the front courtyard of the Lothering Chantry. Several civilians are trying to silence him, as his shouting is starting to unsettle people. The Warden can choose to ignore him, intimidate him or even shame him into leaving, or try to calm him down with diplomacy. (A sufficiently persuasive Warden can discover the reason for his madness: the darkspawn slaughtered his entire clan, and he was forced to watch as they dragged off his wife.)
    • Another doomsayer can appear in Redcliffe, albeit briefly. He warns that the attack on the village by a horde of walking corpses is a sign of the end of the world and that everyone should repent their sins. Like Lothering, the Warden can ignore or drive off the doomsayer, or they can just kill him. He shouts that he welcomes death as you attack him.
  • A homeless guy in Santa Monica does this in Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines. Someone familiar with the game's plot and the Old World of Darkness Metaplot will find grains of truth in most of what he says.
  • In the "Enter the Metro" trailer for Metro Last Light, a scraggly homeless man is standing in the middle of a street in Moscow preaching about the end of the world - then he laughs as the air raid alarms sound and ICBMs launch in the background.


Web Comics


Web Original

 Charlie: Okay, that was the scariest thing I've ever seen.


Western Animation

  • In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, as the food storm rages all over the world, two guys wearing sandwichboards are standing on a street corner in NYC. The first guy's board says "The end of the world is today!" and the other's says "The end is tomorrow!" The second guy is crushed by a hot dog, and the first guy gloats, "I was right!"
  • X-Men: Evolution (in the episode that introduces Angel) features a doomsayer like this, bearing a sign with "Angels are among us!"
  • Powerpuff Girls - a guy is holding a sign like this early in the episode. When we get to the Monster of the Week part it reads "Told You So".
  • One of these appears in Hercules ranting on the streets of Thebes.
  • A rat wearing a sandwich board made out of two slices of bread can actually be seen warning all the other rats about the floodgates in Flushed Away.


Other

  • Parodied in this 2009 New Yorker magazine cover.


Real Life

  • Harold Camping
  • The 2012 phenomenon.
  • Y2K.
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