Things have been rough lately. Maybe that’s why Dale Sherman’s Armageddon Films FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Zombies, Contagions, Aliens, and the End of the World as We Know It looked good.
I almost didn’t read the book because, as I was flipping through it, the first movie I turned to was Cabin in the Woods. I’m not a rabid fan of Joss Whedon but definitely I liked that one. I thought Sherman was overly snarky and unfairly critical of the intended murder victims’ reluctance to allow themselves be killed.
I’m glad I read the book anyway. That was the only movie that I strongly disagreed about.
Sherman was almost too fair for other features, bringing up terrible 1970’s movies like The Bees and Day of the Animals without half the snark he threw at Whedon. He was surprisingly gentle with the Asylum’s mockbusters and terrible MST3K fodder like Robot Monster and Plan 9 from Outer Space.
All in all, the book was comprehensive and even-handed. It had a much tighter focus than C.J. Henderson’s The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Movies From 1897 to the Present, but without the political bias.
Three works, I Am Legend, War of the Worlds, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, had special prominence but Sherman actually mentioned the spectacularly crappy Def-Con 4 (1985) and the much more fun The Crazy Ray (1925). I was especially glad that he mentioned the film Man from Deep River (1972), as a predecessor to Cannibal Holocaust. Knowing that the early movie exists, I will no longer have any reason to watch Cannibal Holocaust.
In terms of my completion list projects, he briefly mentioned Terra Nova but not Invasion (in fairness, Invasion was cancelled so early that we never learned if it was an Armageddon situation or not).
Despite my feelings about Cabin in the Woods, I recommend this one.