Squid Hats and Hub Cap Decapitations: World Gone Wild on Retro Bizarro

There’s a severe shortage of water, but a hippie (Bruce Dern as “Ethan”) adorned in a button-riddled jacket runs a commune out in the desert, and he has plenty. Together with a group of Hollywood extras dressed in paper grocery bags and his old gun-toting disciple (Michael Pare as “does he really need a name? He’s ripped!”) they plan to drink some water and lots of it! If only they can get rid of the cannibals of machine gun forest and the Manson cult that keeps bursting those pesky blood-filled condoms under the hippies’ paper bag attire.

Will Bruce Dern save the hippie oasis he painstakingly constructed from rusted vehicles? Will Michael Pare win the affections of the filthy brunette whose hair remains perfectly styled throughout every chase scene and gunfight? Will Warner Home Video or Media Home Entertainment ever manage to rake a profit in off of this film? Do these companies even exist anymore. If not, was World Gone Wild to blame? Does anyone care?

Here are a few more questions you may ask yourself while watching the film:

1. If there’s no water, why does that one guy have what looks like a friggin squid on his head?

2. How does Bruce Dern (Ethan) kill a man with only a stick and a hub cap . . . and not get sued by the makers of MacGuyver?

3. Why? Just why?

In 1988 the film World Gone Wild debuted to critical apathy. With sets consisting of inner-city slums and junk yards, a ten dollar profit would have taken the producers out of the red. Until they decided to hire Adam Ant, at which point it would have taken at least three viewers to reap a small profit.

Unfortunately there were only two: me and . . . alright, maybe there was only one.

The film would have likely been remembered as a cult classic had the writers been allowed to keep their references to Dianetics and their prophetic depiction of the group as blood-thirsty maniacs. Unfortunately, the threat of lawsuits rendered this an impossibility. Nevertheless, World Gone Wild is a decent watch. I wouldn’t suggest buying a copy, but checking it out might be worth your time, especially if you’re into weird 80s films like those produced by Troma.  It is a strange film that missed the radar. Check it out and decide for yourself whether or not that was a good thing.

Here’s a taste of the action. The not-so-famous hubcap death scene!


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