Book Review: World Gone Wild: A Survivor's Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies - Mania.com



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  • Author: David J. Moore
  • Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
  • Book Genre: Movie Guide Book
  • Format: Hardback, 432 pages
  • Series:

Book Review: World Gone Wild: A Survivor's Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies

Madness to the Maxx

By Chuck Francisco     July 23, 2014
Source: Mania.com


World Gone Wild: A Survivor's Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies
© Schiffer Publishing
As a genre film fan and frequent writer with toes soaked in the viscous cinematic underbelly, I've amassed quite an assortment of guides over the years. So many of these informational tomes inhabit my horror lair that they live on their own shelf atop the bookcase which houses the VHS collection. And yet for all of their supposed utility, many of them are woefully incomplete on the topics they purport to fully cover. Enter David J. Moore's gargantuan subcultural catalogue, World Gone Wild: A Survivor's Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies. As the name titillates this 432 page, hardcover necessity drives the last of the V-8 interceptors right through the wasteland of world's end films, documenting all of them for your checklist completion or friend torturing purposes.

David J. Moore has done his post-apocalyptic homework, weathering the dangers of irradiated yard sales,   plague ravaged thrift store bins, and the mutated hordes of eBay to cover every film even tangentially related to the end of human civilization. The result is a genre guide so comprehensive that I couldn't stump it, no matter how much I tried. If you're looking for details on lost rarities, World Gone Wild is your departure point, detailing titles such as In the Year 2889, Escape from Safehaven, La Fin du Monde (1931film- not the craft beer), 2019: After the Fall of New York, and Sons of Steel. From there you can dig deeper with entries on modern films (up to things from the beginning of this year), bigger films (such as those from the Terminator or Mad Max series), and even television shows (Revolution, Falling Skies, Jericho, etc). If it even tangentially references the end of civilization, David J. Moore on it like Mothra on Tokyo (seriously, even Jason X has an entry). Overall World Gone Wild contains in excess of 800 film reviews. 

The reviews range in length from two to five paragraphs (each entry also notes the medium of each movie's last home release, and the distributor), revealing variously levels of spoilers. I'm of two minds on this- obviously we live in a hyper spoiler sensitive society, so that's a bit of a bummer, but this book is almost the only evidence that some of these films even exist. As a comprehensive guidebook, it is a solid net positive that there is more detail than less. However, I do have to take the rating system to task (unfortunately). 

It isn't that I strongly disagree with Moore's opinions on specific films (it's hard to disagree with a man who give his highest rating to Six-String Samurai), more that the iconography for the system is not at all intuitive. There are five ratings; from worst to best they are: Toxic, Go at your own risk, Gold for some Useless for others, Safe zone, and The Bomb. I found myself constantly having to flip back to the intro in an effort to remember which post-apocalypse inspired symbol referred to which rating. While the thematic creativity should be applauded, a guidebook does, at its core, need to be utilitarian and easily utilized. This is a minor gripe, for sure.

Beyond the beautiful symmetry of printed type, World Gone Wild offers an enormous array of full color posters, lobby cards, stills, and more. There are also sixty interviews peppered throughout the guide, offering superb introspective glances at many of the lesser known films (such as David and Ted Prior of 1990's Final Sanction), but also plenty with genre favorites (Janna Ryan for Demons and Rats: Night of Terror, or Night of the Comet director Thom Eberhardt).

World Gone Wild: A Survivor's Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies is, despite my minor reservation on the rating iconography, an absolutely indispensable genre guidebook, as well as a fantastic map for picking your way through the Netflix gridlock of indecision (as Mr. Lobo and I are so fond of terming it). This one's going up on the shelf right next to my well worn (nearly zombified) copy of John Stanley's Creature Features: The Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Movie Guide (a place of honor).

If you're as nuts for genre fare, the post apocalypse, or the Fallout video games as I am, you need this book. World Gone Wild: A Survivor's Guide to the Post-Apocalyptic Movies is out now from Schiffer Publishing as a handsome Coffeetable volume, for $34.99.

Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Wednesday's Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famous  Colonial Theatre  in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter. 

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