"I take orders from the Octoboss."

awesome book alert: World Gone Wild by david j. moore

tn_steelfrontierThis is not a review, because this is the book by david j. moore (no capitals), the guy who did all the NINJA II set interviews for me a while back. So an actual review would be unethical. But I have to make sure everybody knows about this great book because it’s right up most of your alleys. The full title is World Gone Wild: A Survivor’s Guide To Post-Apocalyptic Movies. It’s a beautiful hardcover book, like a textbook. You flip through it and there are capsule reviews of pretty damn close to every post-apocalyptic movie ever made. Not even just obvious ROAD WARRIOR ripoffs but also things you wouldn’t think of right away like I AM LEGEND (and AFTER EARTH, and I think INDEPENDENCE DAY is in there too for some reason. Are all of Will Smith’s movies considered post-apocalyptic? I don’t think I saw SEVEN POUNDS in there).

And then in between are interviews with many of the people involved with movies. All kinds of interesting people, mostly b-movie legends: Michael Pare, Sergio Martino, Vernon Wells, John Hillcoat, Albert Pyun, Dale “Apollo” Cook, Ted Prior, Brian Trenchard-Smith… but I’m most impressed that he interviewed really obscure people that you’d never think you’d see an interview with. For example he talks to the writers of KNOWING and CLASS OF 1999, two pictures I’m very fond of but wouldn’t have even been able to name the writers of.

mp_worldgonewildThis is a treasure trove here. I’m still going through it and discovering new things. So far maybe my favorite is an interview with Trenchard-Smith. Not the one about DEAD END DRIVE-IN (although that’s a good interview) but the one about MEGGIDO: THE OMEGA CODE 2. He’s hilariously candid about working for a Christian fundamentalist production company while not believing in the ideas they’re trying to promote – even bluntly saying that one of the things the movie is warning against would be the best thing that could happen to the world. He says that the company didn’t have a problem with him being a non-believer, hinting that following such policies is the reason other Christian exploitation franchises end up starring, uh, Kirk Cameron.

One quirk about david’s book is that his tastes aren’t very predictable. For example he gives a lukewarm review to CHILDREN OF MEN, and then spends pages and pages interviewing Neil Marshall about the fucking execrable DOOMSDAY (okay, I guess I’m alone in hating that movie, but I really hate that movie so it’s noticeable how much space he dedicates to it). He gives a great review to A.I. – ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, which is refreshing, because I’ve been seeing that movie get unfairly shat on for more than a decade. But then he says he thinks it’s Spielberg’s best film, and even I gotta part ways there.

I teased david a little bit about this when I met him at the Cinefamily Seagalogy night, but that was before I got to his review of DR. STRANGELOVE, in which he claims the movie is not funny! There is a purity of essence missing from this viewpoint. Most people can’t expect to agree with him on most of this stuff. But I genuinely like this about the book, it keeps you on your toes.

Also, check out that foreword. What an amazing foreword! Whoever wrote that thing deserves a raise. I have been hearing that it’s worth buying for the foreword alone. I believe that was on NPR or myimagination.com or somewhere that I heard that. Or maybe it was mentioned in somebody’s TED talk? I forget. But “World Gone Wild Foreword Fever” is pretty much the trend of the summer, celebs swear by it says Entertainment Us Weekly.

As far as the actual content of the book after the foreword, I’ve got alot left to read and I’ve already learned about a ton of promising movies I’ve never heard of, and have been given incentive to re-watch some I haven’t seen in forever. david obviously has a passionate obsession for these films, that’s why this book was possible, and why it’s so great. It’s also heavily illustrated, and not surprisingly many of the posters and photos are credited to the author’s collection. He also screened a rare 35mm print of STEEL DAWN starring Patrick Swayze as part of the book’s release. He’s from our tribe. I’m surprised he wasn’t wearing spiked football shoulder pads when I met him.

WORLD GONE WILD: A SURVIVOR’S GUIDE TO POST-APOCALYPTIC MOVIES is published by Schiffer. Here’s the official page for it.

And I suppose after you order the book our weekend topic of discussion should be favorite post-apocalypse movies besides the MAD MAX trilogy.

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23 Responses to “awesome book alert: World Gone Wild by david j. moore”

  1. You are not – and will never be – alone in hating DOOMSDAY.

    Book looks pretty cool, though.


  2. Gonna buy 2 copies. Does the above link give you credit for the sales cos if not I’ll just order local?

  3. Man! I loved DOOMSDAY… but I’ve only seen it once, and I’m scared to revisit it based on how everyone else thinks it is just not very good.

    Perhaps I just like Rhona Mitra? She’s got me watching that dumb “The Last Ship” tv show, so there is probably something to that.

  4. AU – That link gives me a slice, but local’s always good. Whichever works for you. I think you’ll love this book.

  5. Love it? He lived it.

  6. I didn’t hate DOOMSDAY, but I was very disappointed because I had to drive a fair distance to see it. I haven’t had a chance to read that much of the book yet, but I already disagree with him on about a third of the movies I’ve read about. I’m still enjoying the book quite a bit though and I think it’s a lot of fun to read. He does seem to kiss the butt of a few terrible film makers here and there though. That will proably get some people to open up more to him when he is reviewing film makers for his next book (at this point I am just imagining that he is going to write another book). I found it well worth the money, even with the pages taken up by the forward. I mean, who reads those things, am I right?

  7. You are correct, Vern. AI is only the SECOND best Spielberg film. There’s still ET for crying out loud. Plus you could quibble and say it’s only half Spielberg, half Kubrick. Regardless, it’s 100% brilliant and anyone who says otherwise is a big ole dummie.

  8. Ugh, I hope most people hate DOOMSDAY. Lousy film. Marshall managed to suck all the fun out of the apocalypse…how selfish.
    I just hope THE OMEGA MAN and THE QUIET EARTH are in there, or else Moore doesn’t know his onions at all.

  9. I don’t know, he sounds like an idiot, dissing CHILDREN OF MEN, one of the best films of the last ten years and saying A.I. is Spielberg’s best film? A.I. is great and very underrated, but better than JAWS? RAIDERS? E.T.? puh-leeeeeze

  10. I wonder if RAIDERS OF ATLANTIS is in there. It’s a terrible Italian film (from Ruggero Deodato, the director of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST!) from 1983 that doesn’t make a fucking lick of sense, but is 1000% awesome. After Atlantis rises (something to do with a nuclear sub, maybe?), a modern Caribbean island descends into total ROAD WARRIORism, complete with spiky shoulder pads and tricked out dune buggies, all in the course of an afternoon. They want to… do something… with a mystic, um… Well, they try to kill all the normal, non-Humungous style people, there’s a lot of machine gun fire and rockets, and their leader wears a crystal skull bike helmet. There is no way you can go wrong with that shit.

  11. Holy fuck, Zeke! ROA looks bloody fantastic. Post-Apocalypse is perhaps my favorite genre and those italian Road Warrior rip-offs are great.
    I’m curious to know how far back this author ventures, though. You mentioned I AM LEGEND but does he write about Vincent Price in LAST MAN ON EARTH (64) or even THINGS TO COME from the thirties. Would George Pal’s classic TIME MACHINE be considered Post-apocalypse? The genre has deep roots.

  12. The Original Paul

    July 12th, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I liked “Children of Men”, but I found it more admirable than engaging. It’s a fantastic study in cinematic language. I think I’m one of the few people who’ve both read the book (which is NOTHING like its adaptation by the way) and seen the film. Honestly I think the changes made to the film work so much better than anything in the source material does, it’s refreshing in that respect.

    As for “World Gone Wild”… I’ll check it out. I’ve got a few things on my reading list at the moment (chiefly relevant here would be Lee Child’s novels and “Niketown”) but it sounds interesting. Plus my interest in post-apocalyptic movies has not become cynical and jaded following years of crappy movies on the subject (unlike the aforementioned ninjas [what’s the plural of “ninja”? “Ninjas”? just “Ninja” also? “Ninji”?] and barbarians.)

  13. Is THE BED-SITTING ROOM in there?

    It’s a British film from 1969/1970 directed by Richard Lester (of A HARD DAY’S NIGHT fame) and based on a play by Spike Milligan. It’s about the survivors of a nuclear war, but done in an absurdist comedy style – people are in danger of transforming into inanimate objects against their will, for example.

    I saw a revival screening of it some years ago, and found it funny, strange, and disturbing. It’s an obscure movie that flopped at the time (and was never released on video in the US, to my knowledge), but it’s a fascinating oddity that seems to mark the boundary between two eras.

    The style of humor is very 1960s-whimsy, and Peter Cook and Dudley Moore are in it. But it’s also one of the earliest movies I can think of to take place fully in a ruined post-apocalyptic society built from the wreckage a la ROAD WARRIOR (rather than taking place immediately after the destruction, as a lot of early after-the-bomb movies did). It’s also Marty Feldman’s first film, and director Richard Lester’s last for several years (it ended his do-no-wrong winning streak) so it’s almost the exact boundary between the psychedelic 60s and the depressed 70s.

    Last time I checked it wasn’t on video in the US, but apparently the BFI put it on DVD in Britain. Somebody once put it on YouTube but it seems to have been taken down. Anyway, it’s worth tracking down.

  14. Griff – no, he’s not an idiot. It’s my fault for describing his reviews boiled down to thumbs up or thumbs down (he actually has a grading system that includes a mushroom cloud, a gas mask, a gasoline can and a vault) but the point of a book like this is not to make sure the guy agrees with you on everything. The point is to see his take on hundreds of movies of this type and learn about new ones. I like that his opinions aren’t always in the mainstream. I’m sure plenty of people could say I “sound like an idiot” because I loved THE LONE RANGER. Don’t judge a critic on that until you’ve read what they have to say about it.

  15. Thanks Vern.

    Anyone been able to source this in Australia? I use this site’s links when I can to give Vern the credit but in this instance they are wanting over a $100 extra just for delivery costs for 2 books which is a little extravagant (I’ve ordered much larger items from US for much less). Can’t find any source in Australia yet though…

  16. My copy arrived today. Given the build-up I was expecting more of a coffee-table book full of intricate layouts and multi-page spreads. I assumed that was the reason no ebook version was available. While there’s a smattering of images it really comes off as a pre-’70s textbook, just a wall of text. A wall of text I look forward to reading but really can’t because the type is too small for these cataract-infested eyes. I can’t see the justification for there not being an electronic version since it doesn’t play as a conventional image-filled coffee table book but more of an old-style World Book, heavy and dense because of the quantity of information.

  17. My copy arrived yesterday and it’s pretty phenomenal.

    And then, 24 hours after that, THIS happens to the internet:


    Holy shit!

  18. Finally, 2 copies from Fishpond.com.au for around $50 each inc delivery. Man, has been an effort to buy these 2 copies for under $250 total cost!!

  19. Great tip, great book, great forward! He’s not much of a critic, or a writer, but it’s still a 10/10 book just for the thoroughly exhaustive content and there’s enough info to help inspire which I need to watch first. Because of it’s style it’s a toilet book for me, I read one or two reviews each visit, so I haven’t read that much – I’m about 20 craps in, but couple quick things to say.

    You definitely did him a disservice by mentioning the Children of Men review. My immediate view was he must be a bit of a dick but of course with this subject matter it didn’t matter. I do have a friend deeply in to Apocalypse movies though he rejected a free copy after I mentioned the Children of Men thing because he didn’t want to read anything about movies by someone who doesn’t get how great that movie is.

    However 20 craps in, and picking movies to read that I know first to get a sense of the guy, I was surprised to realise he’s a Christian god botherer type, which makes the subject matter and him more interesting and less interesting at once. At least, that how his review of The Mist struck me. With that it suddenly seemed that his review of Children of Men made sense. If you watch that movie with the bible in the back of your mind it’s quite different from most P.A. movies where you can enjoy the Rapture in all its base glory. In this case, the new mother really doesn’t fit. Part of what makes the movie awesome to me, but exactly what I could imagine pissing me off if I could put aside my sense of reason (completely…). Anyway, just sharing a brain fart.

  20. AU_Armageddon, isn’t Children of Men’s story basically Christian allegory though? I know they toned down a lot of the overt Christian imagery from the novel, but it’s still all over the film.

  21. It is, but what he hated about it is that she wasn’t deserving, which is a very typically Christian judgement to make, and nothing to do with the story.

    His Christianity comes through so much that it really worries me about the writer on one level, but makes the book interesting on another. Really good recommendation. He fucks up a few times giving away that he hasn’t watched all the movies he reviewed. Example is Dead Set, one of the best zombie ‘movies’ of all time, and he writes a short paragraph describing a series about slow moving zombies. Certainly the trailer looks that way, so he reviewed the trailer pretty well…. but the actual zombies are all Dawn of the Dead (2000) remake zombies running their asses off so he pretty clearly never watched a minute of it. I forgive him cos he put me on to like make 30 gems I never saw before and I still got more to catch up on from his book.

  22. Just ordered this one. Since I live in Australia and the US dollar is crap at the moment I’d been umming and arring about the cost, but it’s been reduced on amazon to about $21USD, so I reckon that works out pretty good.

    Plus, I wanna get Moore’s new action one, but mostly I’m looking forward to his sword and sorcery one that he says he’s working on. I’m a completist, what can I say.

  23. Watched EXTERMINATORS OF THE YEAR 3000 on bluray recently, and it’s not totally bad, nor is it really worth recommending. I agree with david’s review in his World Gone Wild (which is a real treasure by the way, thanks david. I’ll be having a lifetime love affair with this one, pending the apocalypse.) It just blatantly rips off THE ROAD WARRIOR right down to the semi-feral kid who finds a musical instrument relic-of-the-past in the wreck of a car, but without any of the panache of Miller.

    One nice little touch that had me going “Oh shit, are they really gonna go through with this? Shit, they are..!”, was when the Wez look-alike villain told his goon to break the kids arm because he wouldn’t tell them where the water supply was, and it wouldn’t break, so they (**spoilers if you care**) tied him between two motorbikes pointed East-West then ripped his arm off. Only to discover the kid had a mechanical arm. Phew. Which leads to probly the most original and crazy part of the movie, where a former astronaut who runs a car wrecking yard figures out how to give the kid a bionic arm. They also ply the kid with beer before surgery. So there are some benefits to being a kid post-apocalypse. More of that crazy would have been welcome.

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