James Patterson once said that for authors; ‘Sometimes it helps to be a little bit schizophrenic’. It was comforting to me to hear him say this and to also hear other authors talk about the ‘crazy voices in their heads,’ as it goes some way to explaining why one of my first reactions to the Coronavirus lockdown was to start thinking about ideas for virus and pandemic-themed stories. 

Is it ‘too soon’? Or is it is what people would want? Judging by the posts by my friends on Facebook, and from online news articles, it seems that the latter is certainly true for quite a few people.

So, with feelings of guilt somewhat assuaged, I started to partake in a little bit of google research on a viral and epidemic-themed TV and Movie watchlist. Whether you use it as a ‘to watch’ list or a ‘to avoid’ list, the choice is yours.

So, which to watch first? Stay healthy out there!

(Text copied from IMDB.com)

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

George A. Romero’s 1978 classic has been described as ´a clever satire of consumerism´. It depicts a zombie apocalypse that functions like a plague.

Dawn of the Dead (2004 remake)

The Zack Snyder’s remake dispensed with the satire, added more action and expanded the disease element. From Amazon, “Heart-pounding action and bone-chilling thrills power this edgy, electrifying fright-fest where a handful of human survivors wage a desperate, last-stand battle against flesh-eating zombies.”

Shaun Of The Dead

One to watch if you want uplifting. A man’s uneventful life is disrupted by the zombie apocalypse.

World War Z (2013)

Former United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop a zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatens to destroy humanity itself.


A scientist sends a man with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him.

Resident Evil Series (2002-2017)

An evil corporation creates a virus that turns most of humanity into zombies

24 Days Later (2002)

Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.

28 Weeks Later (2007)

Six months after the rage virus was inflicted on the population of Great Britain, the US Army helps to secure a small area of London for the survivors to repopulate and start again. But not everything goes according to plan.

Train To Buscan (2016)

While a zombie virus breaks out in South Korea, passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan.

Warm Bodies (2013)

After a highly unusual zombie saves a still-living girl from an attack, the two form a relationship that sets in motion events that might transform the entire lifeless world.

Quarentine (2008)

A television reporter and her cameraman are trapped inside a building quarantined by the CDC, after the outbreak of a mysterious virus which turns humans into bloodthirsty killers.

[REC] (2007)

A television reporter and cameraman follow emergency workers into a dark apartment building and are quickly locked inside with something terrifying.

I Am Legend (2007)

Years after a plague kills most of humanity and transforms the rest into monsters, the sole survivor in New York City struggles valiantly to find a cure in this post-apocalyptic action thriller.

The Crazies (2010)

After a strange and insecure plane crash, an unusual toxic virus enters a quaint farming town. A young couple are quarantined, but they fight for survival along with help from a couple of people.

The Happening (2008)

A science teacher, his wife, and a young girl struggle to survive a plague that causes those infected to commit suicide.

The Last Man on Earth (1964)

When a disease turns all of humanity into the living dead, the last man on earth becomes a reluctant vampire hunter.

The Omega Man (1971)

Lone survivor, doctor Robert Neville, struggles to create a cure for the plague that wiped out most of the human race while fighting The Family, a savage luddite death cult formed by the zombie-like infected to erase the past.

Black Death (2010)

Set during the time of the first outbreak of bubonic plague in England, a young monk is given the task of learning the truth about reports of people being brought back to life in a small village.

Contagion (2011)

Probably the most obvious ‘go to viral pandemic’ movie – wow, what an accolade!.
Healthcare professionals, government officials and everyday people find themselves in the midst of a pandemic as the CDC works to find a cure.

There’s a good article here on the film’s recent upsurge in awareness after Coronavirus arrived – https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/jan/30/what-can-we-learn-about-coronavirus-from-watching-contagion

12 Monkeys (1995)

In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.
Also spawned a 2015 TV series. Follows the journey of a time traveler from the post-apocalyptic future who appears in present day on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will nearly destroy the human race.

The Andromeda Strain (1971)

A team of top scientists work feverishly in a secret, state-of-the-art laboratory to discover what has killed the citizens of a small town and learn how this deadly contagion can be stopped.
And the 2008 mini-series, A crack team of top scientists work feverishly in a secret, state-of-the-art laboratory to discover what has killed the citizens of a small town and learn how this deadly contagion can be stopped.


A city is ravaged by an epidemic of instant white blindness.

Cabin Fever (2003)

Five college graduates rent a cabin in the woods and begin to fall victim to a horrifying flesh-eating virus, which attracts the unwanted attention of the homicidal locals.

Carriers (2009)

As a lethal virus spreads globally, four friends seek a reputed plague-free haven. But while avoiding the infected, the travelers turn on one another.

Bird Box (2018)

Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a mother and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety.

Children of Men (2006)

In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become somehow infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea.

It Comes At Night (2017)

Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son. Then a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge.

The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

A European prince terrorizes the local peasantry while using his castle as a refuge against the “Red Death” plague that stalks the land.

Outbreak (1995)

Army doctors struggle to find a cure for a deadly virus spreading throughout a California town that was brought to America by an African monkey.

Panic in the Streets (1950)

A doctor and a policeman in New Orleans have only 48 hours to locate a killer infected with pneumonic plague.

Pontypool (2009)

A radio host interprets the possible outbreak of a deadly virus which infects the small Ontario town he is stationed in.

The Satan Bug (1965)

A germ that could destroy life on Earth is stolen from a biological warfare lab and the thief threatens to release it into the open, prompting a security officer to act.

Shivers (1975)

The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.