The Fictional Nuke Film That Won the Oscar for Best Documentary
This story originally appeared on May 29, 2015. It’s a little after 2:00 p.m. in Kent — an English county east of London — and the doctor is making an emergency visit. He’s escorted by two Civil Defense volunteers, a man and a woman. He checks in on his... Read more
‘Threads’ Is One of the Most Horrifying Films I’ve Ever Seen
This story first appeared on May 5, 2015. In the basement, a few days after the bombs dropped, Ruth Beckett’s parents try to make her eat. She’s pregnant and eating for two. It’s not just about her anymore, her mother reminds her. “I don’t care about this baby anymore,”... Read more
Texas Megachurch Preaches the Power of Drones
This story originally appeared on Aug. 25, 2014. The video opens on a birds-eye view of a city through a green tinted lens. An electronic user interface lights up the screen, an homage to the robot vision from The Terminator. The camera pulls out to reveal the surveiller—an armed... Read more
Play the Pentagon-Funded Video Game That Predates ‘Pong’
This story originally appeared on July 27, 2014. Before Call of Duty, before Mario and even before Pong there was Spacewar! The brainchild of six graduate students at MIT in the early ‘60s, Spacewar! was the first true video game. A few guys had done cool tricks with oscilloscopes... Read more
In ‘The Sheriff of Babylon,’ Iraq Is a Crime Scene
There’s a corpse in the street and no one wants to claim it. The body rots under the Hands of Victory in Baghdad, Iraq. It’s 2004 and, according to Pres. George W. Bush, America has achieved victory. The body was once an Iraqi named Ali Al Fahar who worked... Read more
‘Mission: Impossible Fallout’ Missed its Chance to Tell a Good Nuclear War Story
This story includes spoilers for Mission: Impossible Fallout. You’ve seen this movie before. Mission: Impossible Fallout is the sixth film in the franchise starring Tom Cruise as American superspy Ethan Hunt. Like all M:I movies, it begins with Hunt playing a tape that offers him a mission and conveniently... Read more
For South Africa’s Wartime Censors, ‘The Stick’ Was Too Dangerous to Release
Between 1966 and 1990, South Africa fought a brutal, bloody war along its northern border. In 1988, South African writer-director Darrell Roodt released his movie The Stick. The government promptly banned it. The Stick is a horror film about South African soldiers fighting a pointless war far from home.... Read more
When American Citizens Watched the Skies
This story originally appeared on July 22, 2015. The bombing of Pearl Harbor changed America forever. The entire population went to war. Millions of men went overseas to fight, families back home grew victory gardens and bought war bonds, Rosie the Riveter took over manufacturing, the mafia protected the... Read more
America’s Abandoned $6-Billion Missile Pyramid
This story originally appeared on May 31, 2014. The Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex, nestled along North Dakota’s remote northern border, is one of America’s most fascinating examples of military waste. It’s a pyramid-shaped missile silo that was part of the Safeguard program, an elaborate missile-defense system meant to... Read more
Crimean Tom, Rocket Cats and the Felines of War
This story originally appeared on March 31, 2014. The dogs of war. We hear it all the time. But what about the cats of war? Who will account for the forgotten feline allies who’ve served so nobly over centuries of conflict? Cats have played important roles in wartime. A... Read more

Matthew Gault

Contributing Editor

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