Written by David J. Moore
Maybe it’s my fascination of the unknown… maybe it’s my rarely seen dark side… or maybe it’s my recent obsession with all things zombies. Whatever it is, I love musing about a post-apocalyptic world. Be it books, television, or film, I love seeing what might happen to society if indeed something should catastrophic happen. Even though it frightens me, I want to see the breakdown of everything that we hold near and dear right now. And so, it would seem that the perfect book for a gal like me would be World Gone Wild by fellow post-apocalypse enthusiast David J. Moore.
We start with a foreword by Vern. Yep, just Vern, who is the author of several books about action movies and their stars. He talks about why we, as a culture, obsess over the apocalypse. It’s really macabre when you think about it, but he states that it’s because we all get a fresh start. We all get to finally be that man or woman that we’ve always wanted to be. We can be a leader, a warrior, even a villain, if that’s your cup of tea. I enjoyed Vern’s forward. Ten gold stars for you Vern.
Then we get into Moore’s portion of the book. This is a huge book, and can be quite intimidating at first glance. Luckily, I come from a huge movie nerd family, and we have about a gazillion of these coffee table movie guides around our house. I know how to navigate my way through one of these things. First, you need to read the introduction. It’s pretty standard so that you know how to handle this book.
First thing that I appreciate is the visual key. It gives a graphic and in a couple of words say what he thought of each movie ranging from the worst, “Toxic,” to “The Bomb” being the best. Although I don’t always agree with his scorings, I do appreciate the quick visual. Moore then goes into why he loves post-apocalyptic movies, and what brought him to watch over 800 films in this one genre. I have to say that I really like his tone. He comes across as a genuine nerd, rather than some snooty know it all film critic who can’t appreciate something for pure entertainment value.
Next, Moore categorizes all of the films into sub-genres, which was really cool. I had never really given much thought to all of the ways that our society could break down and the reasons why it would. As I was reading all of the sub-genres, I found myself categorizing all of my favorite movies as well, and pondering each film’s plot again, pinning it up against some of the other films that he had mentioned.
Finally, we get to the actual bulk of the book- the compendium of movies. Everything is laid out alphabetically, which helps locate movies, and they have their release date, their distributor, and usually an important quote from the movie. I was happy to not only see most of my favorite apocalyptic films in this book, but also many of which that I had NEVER heard.
There are some that Moore loves, like A.I. Artificial Intelligence, which I will admit is a beautiful movie, but so slow moving. He also LOVES the Mad Max series. There, we can agree. Actually, Moore attributes the rise and success of the post apocalyptic film to the Mad Max series. He even loves Tina Turner as Auntie Entity. There are some others that of course had to be on his amazing list like Dawn of the Dead and WALL-E. Yes a Disney film made it onto his list, but I was even more pleased to find The Walking Dead series on his list. So, not only animated movies have made the book, but also television series.
Then, he has the stinkers, the movies that are “Toxic” that no one should watch. I have to say that I haven’t seen ONE of these films, but now I kind of want to. There’s one entitled Beyond the Thunderbone. Oh, didn’t I mention it? Moore includes porn, both hard and soft core on his list. And some of these films he loves… obviously some he doesn’t. Not all of the stinkers are pornographic… just thought that this one was worth mentioning because of the funny title.
But better than the best of the best and the worst of the worst, is the stuff in the middle, the stuff that Moore proclaims, “Gold for some, useless to others.” There are a LOT of these because let’s face it, there is a lot of terribly, wonderful camp trash out there, that this girl happens to love. One of which is Rats, which fellow CultureSmash.tv contributor (and my brother), Nathan Seiveno, just reviewed. HE HATED IT. I admittedly only watched the last part, but it was amazing. Originally in Italian, the dubbing is the worst I have ever seen on any film, and the effects are horrible. The acting is even worse. Oh, I can feel my Mr. Burns hands do the weird fingertip dance in happiness just thinking about it. In one scene, a man is eaten from the inside out by multiple rats while Chocolate, an African American woman (yes, we all get the joke) screams… a lot. I nearly lost it.
Along with the Rats entry, Moore has an interview with Chocolate herself, actress Geretta Geretta, or Janna Ryan. She discusses the film that she thought that she was making at the time, which was a serious film, and how she sees the films now, obviously not so serious. She also goes into what all they had to do to make the film, including use actual rats. This was before PETA had their hand in everything, and they sadly had to kill a lot of rats and reuse their dead bodies for later scenes. They also dyed the rats eyes red to give them a scarier look. Ew. She even discusses her politically incorrect character name, Chocolate. There are many of these delightful interviews strewn throughout the book. They are all entertaining, informative, and insightful.
All in all, I really liked this book. It was a fun little look-through/ read, and is going to help me in my journey to watch all of the post-apocalyptic movies I can watch before the real apocalypse happens. I will say, that Moore and I do not see eye to eye on a lot of the films. REALLY? How in the WORLD can you like the last two Matrix films better than the first? The last two ripped my heart out and stomped upon it… right there at the movie theater, in front of all of my friends, like some abusive boyfriend. Dear Mr. Moore, I love your book, but you need to get your priorities straight (wink wink).
Let’s start with the cover. The book is incredibly luxe feeling. It is indeed a coffee table book. It is the coffee table book of every macabre nerd’s dreams. I must say, though, I don’t really like the cover art. I find that the photographs and fonts just don’t live up to what the book has inside. I’m sure something much more clever and slick looking could have been thought up for this book.
On the inside, I love the little graphics depicting how the author felt about each film. Each little picture tells me whether it’s one of his favorites or whether it’s one of those that you love to hate or hate to love. Either of those graphics makes me stop flipping and start reading. There are tons of photographs, stills from the set of the films, and promotional posters from over half of these films. The photos are well laid out, colorful, and definitely add something really wonderful to the book.
Pretty good artwork overall, but that cover art is really lacking. I would have expected more from a beautiful coffee table book with some really good text.
As a film and post-apocalyptic genre enthusiast, I really liked this book. It was nice to just thumb through something and be able to stop on the things that I enjoyed. BUT if I were just getting this book as another film book to put on my coffee table to look nice, it wouldn’t make the grade. It’s not visually nice enough. But Moore has done a spectacular job, of finding, categorizing, and ranking all of the films in his favorite genre, even if I don’t agree with him on all of his critiques. Just one question my friend: Why did you leave out my favorite campy classic Strippers vs Zombies?