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[Closer to Death] ‘Chernobyl Diaries’ and The Death Zone

In the Oren Peli produced Chernobyl Diaries a pack of resident mutants deformed from the radioactive fallout of the Chernobyl accident hunt down and prey upon a group of tourists who become stranded in an abandoned city. While first impressions make this seem to be your average survival horror film relying on exaggerated history and jump scares, the reality of what happened back on April 26, 1986, was much more horrible and deadly.

Join us as we take a quick look back in time at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, and some of the horrible effects that came from a radiation spill 100 times worse than the nuke that poisoned Hiroshima – and get a full head of knowledge for what Chernobyl Diaries is basing their semi-fictional legend upon.

As briefly explained in the 60 second spot trailer, Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor #4 exploded during routine testing, suffering a massive meltdown that is to this day the worst radioactive disaster in history.

The initial flames and heat drew fire fighters to their unforeseen deaths. In deadly radioactive conditions that would dismantle a human body after 40 minutes of exposure, men dropped where they stood, bleeding from their orifices, defecating and vomiting their liquified innards.

Other first responders – the first of the clean-up crews brought in (known as Liquidators) – shoveled most of the radioactive debris released from the explosion back into the core. Nearly all of them would soon after perish.

The following two videos here show a breakdown of what happened when the explosion took place, and inside footage taken by Russian photographer Vladimir Shevchenko, who sacrificed his life, along with the others he filmed, in order to be there, clean up, and get the footage. The men you see in this video are ghosts. Even the camera itself, the one used to record the footage you’re about to watch, had to be buried along with the other debris from the site it became so soaked with lethal radiation.

Due to the fact that the entire event took place under the Communist regime of the former Soviet Union – the statistics as to just how many people were actually killed in the immediate aftermath and the years to follow are sketchy. But some facts are indisputable.

Dozens of towns and cities were wiped off the map and are to this day uninhabitable. Perhaps the most astounding piece of information is that the estimated deaths range anywhere from 60 to 100,000 as a result of the blast and or radiation, depending on who you ask. Also – the circa 7,000,000 lives that were plagued with severe health problems, ranging from birth defects to lowered intelligence to weakened immune systems.

– In April 1994, a commemoration text from the Ukrainian embassy in Belgium counted 25,000 dead among the liquidators since 1986.

– According to Georgy Lepnin, a Belarusian physician who worked on reactor #4, “approximately 100,000 liquidators are now dead”, of a total number of one million workers.

– According to Vyacheslav Grishin of the Chernobyl Union, the main organization of liquidators, “25,000 of the Russian liquidators are dead and 70,000 disabled, about the same in Ukraine, and 10,000 dead in Belarus and 25,000 disabled”, which makes a total of 60,000 dead (10% of the 600 000, liquidators) and 165,000 disabled.

– A UNSCEAR report places the total confirmed deaths from radiation at 64 as of 2008. – Wikipedia

There are certain leaders that would have you believe that the radiation that poured over Europe had no effect on its citizens, or its children. But birth defects and mutations were widespread, and more condensed the closer you pin the map to Chernobyl.

The last video is an explicit, stark and clear vision into the world of those living under the veil of Chernobyl’s radiation poisoning. Its perhaps the most insightful video as to what people are living with as a result of the horror that really took place.

In another documentary not shown here, a Russian native from the area brought up the most sobering statement. This is just one power plant. There are about 500 plants operating across the world today. Each one of them is a massive deadly threat to future generations – including the ill promise of mutating defects that would occur for years after.

Chernobyl Diaries may not be a true story, but perhaps its not as far from the realm of possibilities as we first thought.



  • BelaManiac

    Great post once again, Mr. Marrone. Always an insightful read!

    • John Marrone

      Thx – the children video is hard to watch but fascinating just the same – and that dog – looks like something from The Thing – terrible. And think of how many nuclear reactors there are in the world, just waiting to do the same thing (like Japan recently, during the earthquake). Reality immensely more fucked up, once again.

  • killrobot

    Thanks John, what a great way to start my day haha

    I’m in Chicago and surrounded by 6 nuclear reactors, it’s honestly the only reason I ever even think about moving.

    • John Marrone

      I dont blame ya – I think of similar situations like THE STAND (different but the same) where you wouldn’t really know what was going on until it was too late. Spent most of my life on Long Island less than 10 miles from the Shoreham Nuclear Power plant that was built, closed down and never opened because of massive protests. It was on the beach, where people swam!? Plus I was in a dead “zone” where if shit went redline we were fucked. We were scared of that thing going live, so I can only imagine what you’re attempting to accept LOL. I dont know if anyone from the area will ever read this, but there are these woods/fields between Ridge and Shoreham on long Island that are weird deadlands barred to the public and nobody is allowed in there – I always imagined it was some sort of waste/d zone.

      • killrobot

        Yeah I should add that’s 6 LIVE nuclear reactors, there are at least 10 if you count ones that aren’t currently active… ugh

  • diapers

    Wow, that was depressing. Hey John, off-topic question… your avatar pic with the missing eyes, what is that from?

    • John Marrone

      Its either Cannibal Holocaust or Cannibal Ferox I believe…

  • Joe-Banger

    The description of Chernoble diaries sounds like a modern day “The Hills Have Eyes”. No wonder why it sounds so aweful! The remake was way better! Thanks for the review John.

  • gordongirl_18

    Those doctors that travel to work on those children are modern heroes. I know it’s cheesy but I love the show Destination Truth. A while back they did an episode where they went to Pripyat to investigate. The entire atmosphere was terrifying. It’s one of my favorite episodes.

    • UndeadZamiel

      I love that episode and that show. It’s what I always think about when I see a trailer for this movie. That and S.T.A.L.K.E.R..

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