Q&A with David J. Moore on book about doomsday films
We recently chatted with David J. Moore about his 2014 book 'World Gone Wild: A Survivor's Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies." He discussed his interest in the genre, a forthcoming second edition of the book and zombies.
Why did you write a book about apocalyptic films? What is your estimation is the appeal of the genre?
There was a void in the market for a book like this. I really wanted to see a hefty, all-expansive movie guide that treated the entire genre with the respect and attention it deserved. Movies like 2019: After the Fall of New York should be discussed with the same amount of page space that something like Planet of the Apes or Mad Max should. Most people immediately think of the very popular and well-loved films in the genre, but movies like Six-String Samurai, Bleak Future, Black Pearl, and other unknown gems are often ignored, so I made it my mission to discuss these films with as much attention as the bigger titles.
People love a good fantasy. They like to role play when they watch movies. I think that's why superhero movies are so popular now. They want to see themselves as the hero, saving the world. It's in our nature to want to pretend and fantasize. Same goes with post-apocalyptic films. They all present "What-if" scenarios. What if the world ended the way it does in The Road Warrior and you found yourself in that world? How would you survive in that world? It's fun to think about sometimes. Zombie apocalypse movies, same situation. How would you survive in a world surrounded by the undead? My book is a guide to end of the world movies, but it's also a great source for survivalists. I show common denominators that run concurrent in the whole genre that might help you to survive should the world go to hell.
How broad is the chronological and thematic scope of the book? Is the silent era represented, for example?
I cover the entire stratum of the end of the world genre, the whole gauntlet. Natural global disasters, nuclear war, viral apocalypse, rapture scenarios, full-scale alien invasion, and all sorts of other apocalyptic situations. The rule was that the movie or TV show (or animated series) had to present a world that had undergone a massive apocalyptic situation by the end credits. If the apocalypse is averted, I didn't include it. For example: Deep Impact is covered, but not Armageddon. The silent era didn't really get into end of the world themes, to the best of my knowledge. I think the earliest film I covered was DELUGE from 1933. I cover films from all over the world, though, including some pretty obscure adult films that don't get talked about.
Where there any films that you left out? Would the animated film Wizards or David Cronnenberg's early films qualify for entries?
Yes, I left films out either by oversight or by my lack of time. I covered 800+ titles, and once I had a deadline for the book I had to hurry up and finish, which meant leaving some stuff by the wayside, but the next edition that I'm currently working on will include more than 300 new titles and another 20 or so interviews. The current edition has about 60 interviews. As to your second part of the question, yes, Wizards is included, but Cronenberg's early films (I'm assuming Stereo and Crimes of the Future) are not included for the mere fact that I didn't consider them apocalyptic enough. Rabid and Shivers are close calls, though.
Do you have an interest in prep culture?
I became a little interested in prep culture as a result of writing this book, but not enough to want to build a shelter in my backyard. Every time I'm at the market, I do tend to grab a few extra canned goods to add to the cupboard, which drives my wife crazy. I think about the end of the world almost on a daily basis, though. It's always on my mind.
Are there particular sub-genres within the genre that you prefer? Any particular films?
Um, I can tell you which subgenres I tend to turn my nose up at. I'm not a big fan of zombie movies in general. It's become such a tired and lazy genre, with movies coming out of the woodwork that are tedious to watch. I watch them all, so believe me, I know what I'm talking about. For every great zombie movie, there's at least a dozen terrible ones. As for subgenres I do enjoy ... hmmm ... I wish the Italians were still making apocalyptic movies. They were really on a roll in the early '80s. I always pay attention when there's a new Christian faith-based rapture movie. I see all of those too, and I'm still waiting for the ultimate rapture to be made. They almost always disappoint me on some level, but I know there's a really great one to be made by a really brave filmmaker.
Also I was wondering what other books you have written and what you career is apart from writing.
I wrote another book called The Good, the Tough, and the Deadly: Action Movies and Stars 1960s-Present, which was the ultimate guide to action stars and the films they made. I'm especially proud of that book because the subject was very dear to my heart. I was a film journalist for almost a decade, and now I'm a publicist for action stars, actors, writers, and directors. I'm working on several other movie guides and other creative writing projects. Always busy writing.