Prolific Journalist and Post-Apocalyptic Movie Buff david j. moore Unleashes His New Book WORLD GONE WILD: A SURVIVOR’S GUIDE TO POST-APOCALYPTIC MOVIES and Provides the Ultimate Guide to End-of-the-World Cinema!
david j. and "friend". Check, please!You’ve worked with a number of publications through the years (including quite a few stays in Lunchmeat Land!). Can you tell us a little bit about your writing career, and the impetus to write the ultimate book on post-apocalyptic films? Sure. I think I was still in college when I started writing reviews for WORLD GONE WILD. Back then, I was still doing all my work on a typewriter, and I had no intentions of ever getting a computer. Wasn't interested. At the time, I was more interested in writing fiction and screenplays, and the thought of film journalism never even occurred to me until I met a guy in a line at a movie theater who was telling me he wrote for Fangoria. I've always been a big reader of movie magazines, and all of a sudden something in my mind just clicked. It seemed so obvious that I should be writing articles and doing interviews with filmmakers. Why hadn't I thought of that before? By that point, I was well into this project of writing reviews for some kind of compendium of end-of-the-world movies. Around the same time my typewriter finally gave out, I began conducting interviews with filmmakers who'd done post-apocalyptic movies. The whole thing began making more sense to me. Every time I see a new book out there that covers a genre I'm not 100% versed in, I'll take a look at it to see if the writer really conquered that genre and was able to present a readable review guide that is more or less easy to navigate through. To this day, I've never seen one that paid the post-apocalyptic genre justice, so that's why I made that genre my country to conquer. It was just sitting there. Somebody had to do it. It took me years and years and nearly all my resources, but I did it. It was fun. In the meantime, I became a full-fledged movie journalist on the side.
A look at the beautiful and bodacious hardcover edition of WORLD GONE WILD jam-packed with color photos and complete post-apocalyptic coverage. DIG IT.With WORLD GONE WILD you review both VHS and DVD, from La Fin du Monde to the current state of apocalyptic cinema. What’s the ratio on VHS to DVD in the book? The VHS reviews are all films that are only available on tape? Or is that just because that was more accessible media? Yeah, great observation. I'm not really sure what the number ratio is from VHS to DVD, but I also watched some Laserdiscs, Blu-Rays, and a few things on YouTube, and even some of the T.V. programs live when they were playing. I can tell you that I watched many, many VHS tapes for this book because all those videos are stacked in my room right now. Basically, I tracked down the most easily accessible versions of these movies that I could find. I love VHS, but not everybody these days has a VCR, so I went for DVDs first. If there was a Region 2, 3, or 4 DVD copy of a movie, I would try to buy that over getting an NTSC VHS version, but I ended up buying a lot of movies on VHS simply because they were exponentially cheaper than getting some rare, out-of-print Region 4 DVD copy that I would probably only watch once. Almost all of the VHS movies I watched were more or less easy to obtain from sites like Amazon, EBay, or wherever; but the initial wave of culling VHS post-apocalyptic movies to watch came from me searching Mom and Pop video stores in about a 100 mile radius from where I live. I saw almost every single one of those video stores die during the course of writing this book. It was really heartbreaking. So, to answer your question, in each review I write, I stated the releasing company of each movie I watched, and whether or not I watched it on VHS or DVD, but I didn't state which ones were Blu-Rays or Laserdiscs because I consider those novelties or luxuries. Not everyone out there can play those. If I saw films in those mediums, I simply stated that I watched a VHS or DVD, depending on which one was easier to obtain.
Kady Moore, Albert Pyun, david j. moore, and Michael Pare on the set of ROAD TO HELL. Photo by Cynthia Curnan, courtesy of david j. moore.And you’ve actually chased down every single title you’ve reviewed. No rentals, no streaming, no mercy. How do you think physically finding these movies affected the process and your experience of making the book? It must’ve taken much more time, but the adventure… the book took about 8 years altogether, I believe? Hate is a strong word, and I try not to use it, but I hate renting anything, and I hate everything about streaming and Netflix. I will never ever stream anything. It kills everything good about movies. I don't rent simply because I have an intense pride of ownership. If there's a movie I'm even passingly curious about, I buy it. No renting. Ever. It's an expensive way to go, but I build castles in my mind where the palace is full of videos. Physically finding every single copy of every single movie I watched and reviewed was an intense, expensive adventure, but yeah, man ... When friends come over, they can see that sometimes half a wall or two giant IKEA shelves hold what is essentially the book I'm working on. I point to the shelf and tell them, "This is my book," or "This is my next book." You can actually see it. It really helps me stay the course. When I see the "To watch" shelf dwindle, I get excited because I know I'm almost there. Even though WORLD GONE WILD is technically finished, I'm still working on it. This week, I've probably bought six or seven more post-apocalyptic movies, and they're at the bottom of that shelf, waiting for the next edition. It never ends.
An example of just one of the VHS titles in WGW: the one and only SHE! SHE. SHE. SHE. SHE. SHE.The films are listed alphabetically (with a nifty little letter index on the lip of the page), but we all know there are a ton different styles and flavors when it comes to end-of-the-world flicks. How’d you sort out and categorize all the nuances within the genre? That was a huge undertaking. At some point early on, I created lists. I'm not really sure what brought that on, but it probably was inspired by those giant Video Watchdog review books where they put in a whole section of lists in the back. It's a neat idea, and a book like WORLD GONE WILD really needs to have those lists to make the subtitle "A SURVIVOR'S GUIDE TO POST-APOCALYPTIC MOVIES" valid. I wanted to give readers an ultimate, helpful guide to end of the world movies. Creating these lists helped me separate the sub-genres and get a real good grasp on what the entire genre is all about. After I'd seen a few hundred of these movies, I felt I was pretty quickly becoming what someone might call an expert on the genre. After 850-plus movies, sorting a single movie into its nuances was actually very easy. Every movie has its own thing going on, but essentially, they're all very similar. It's rare when I have no idea what to do with a movie. That's why I got kind of excited when I decided to review Anime titles and Evangelical Rapture movies. Anime got tedious really quick and I had a hard time getting into most of it, but at least some of it was radically unusual. The Rapture movies were really interesting, too. I created the "Biblical End Times" list late in the game. I'm so glad I did. There are also a ton of interviews in the book. Who can we expect to read? Did you have a favorite interview or an especially notable experience while conducting any of them? There're about 60 interviews in the book. I went after people who'd made significant, notable contributions to the post-apocalyptic genre. I interviewed some big directors like Martin Campbell who did No Escape, Paul W.S. Anderson who did Death Race and Resident Evil, Stuart Gordon, Neil Marshall, and all kinds of guys. I also went after little-known filmmakers whose films really made an impression on me. There's one interview I did with the director of a martial arts apocalyptic action movie called Omega Cop, which I envision going in a future issue of Lunchmeat, actually, because the movie never got a proper DVD release… so yeah, the list is pretty diverse. The one guy I desperately wanted to interview was Albert Pyun, and after bugging him for a few years he finally relented and did an extensive series of interviews with me. I just really enjoyed the process of preparing for these interviews, and if I was able to conduct the interviews in person, then the experience was all the better. When I interviewed Richard Norton from Equalizer 2000, I was just blown away by how nice he was. Everybody I interviewed for this book was really open and happy to revisit that apocalyptic world they helped create in whatever movies they'd made that dealt with the apocalypse. It was fun.
The amazing apocalyptic poster art for EQUALIZER 2000! BLOW IT UP! (photo courtesy of david j. moore)You obviously have a passion for the genre. What is it about post-apocalyptic film that does it for you? What is it about the genre that you think captivates people? The end of the world is always just around the corner. It's always just a little past tomorrow. It's kinda fun to think about scavenging and fighting zombies, but by the end of this project I had gotten bogged down by the emotional roller coaster of watching all these depressing movies. The end of the world isn't a joke. Some day, some how, the world will end, and it's going to be chaotic, bloody, and pretty awful. From a fantasy standpoint, it's entertaining to imagine that you could make it in that world, surviving, being a hero, saving a community from bandits, or whatever, but the reality is so much more startling and chilling. After seeing all these movies, and reading Revelations and having different perspectives, it just pays to be ready for anything in your heart and to maintain hope. These movies - in general - are good in that they show what most people can only imagine. I mean, look at The Road. It's terrible. Who wants to face that kind of future? Look at The Road Warrior. Is that a future you want to find yourself in some day? I don't think so, but these pictures really stir the imagination and get the heart working. That's a good thing.
A not-so-depressing VHS-only post-apoc romp that rides within the pages of WGW! Videovore Approved!I believe you wanted to make your own post-apocalyptic film at one point, right?! Can you tell us a little bit about that? Is that idea long gone, or….? Oh, man ...
We know you would, david! I don’t know about you guys, but with the release of this mammoth tome on apocalypse cinema, djm has now locked in spot on my end-of-the-world team. But, honestly, with a burning, perpetual dedication such as david’s, along with his massive knowledge of the myriad possible post-society situations, who wouldn’t want him on their squad!? David, get on my team, man! And you! Don’t delay and pick up this book ASAP, because you never know when tomorrow won’t come! Simply put about this book: Don’t leave structured society without it! And, as always, stay tuned to the LM print incarnations for more of david’s interviews with the obscure and excellent personalities tucked away in the fringes of cult cinema. He’s got plenty more to share, indeed.