Many favorites, as well as a small handful of films that I don't care for... in no particular order (1960-2014).
John Dies at the End
Just so you know...they're sorry for anything that's about to happen.
It's a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can't.
At one point, a character grabs a doorknob and it turns into a penis.
I shouldn't have to say more.
John Dies at the End is almost as hard to form an opinion on as it is to describe its deliriously convoluted premise. It is both joyously ridiculous and annoyingly indulgent - a movie that is engineered for future cultdom but almost a little too try-hard to really deserve it. Yet its indulgences and flaws also help make it one of the more interesting and unforgettable horror-comedies of recent years.
Directed by Don Coscarelli (no stranger to cultish horror movies) and based on the novel by David Wong, John Dies at the End is a fantastical apocalyptic comedy about a pair of deadbeat pals who discover an invasion plan from an alternate dimension thanks to a mysterious drug called soy…
It is amazing to think that Don Coscarelli was only 25 when he directed Phantasm in 1979, it is crazy to think that in the past 34 years he has only directed 11 films (including an episode of Masters of Horror). I find it refreshing that even though he has been a known name in the genre (mostly thanks to the Phantasm series), he is still perfectly capable of releasing a great horror film in 2012. He has adapted with the times, using both practical effects and computer animation simultaneously with great results. I am sure the fact the source material was a novel is a major reason for John Dies at the End being so god damn good, but…
This movie ain't for everyone, but it's totally for me. There's freaky space insects, freaky space drugs, interdimensional travel, people exploding, and the main character takes a phone call on a bratwurst. Easily my favorite film of 2013 so far.
Naked Lunch meets eXistenZ meets some other movie that is crazy and confusing. Deadpan, off-beat, dry humor in abundance, most of it doesn't work but there are a few good moments. The plot is so complicated and messy that it's hard to even explain it. It has to do with some kind of drug that causes powerful hallucinations and gives the user psychic abilities. It also has to do with alternate dimensions and all kinds of creatures. All of it is very confusing but it's done on purpose. It can turn out to be one hell of an enjoyable ride if you're into the humor and the zaniness of it but it didn't quite work its magic on me. I…
Soy sauce is a mysterious drug that promises an out of body experience every time it is ingested, as users traverse time and other dimensions. But some no longer return as human, which means it started a silent invasion coming from another world and it's up to our big heroes, John and Dave Wong, to save mankind.
Don Coscarelli establishes a very fast pacing and a quirky atmosphere to unfold his twisted storyline that leaves us confused during most of the film. Yet, that's where the film's magic is, the acclaimed director turns out to be a master of the audience as he leaves us completely intrigued with his messy, yet captivating script. John Dies at the End is another…
Okay, I have to squeeze tighter than most to make this one fit in a crime film roundup, but the heroes of the tale are paranormal detectives/warriors of a sort and I'll take that as justification enough. Having zero knowledge of David Wong's source material is probably a bonus for just going with and enjoying the film. I have a suspicion that fans of Wong's will be chagrined that so much was lost in translation. I don't know this, of course, but the film is so dense with detail, back-story, side-story etc. that I imagine it comes from a far more fleshed out universe. The film, on its own though, rockets from nonsense to nonsequitur to non-stop leaps of imagination…
I liked the idea of this movie, a new drug takes its users to other dimensions and time while increasing senses. As the drug gets out of control it is up to them to put it to a stop.
If I knew going in that this movie would be so quirky I probably would've enjoyed it more. It kind of reminded me of a Sam Raimi flick. I just feel that is was too eccentric and out there to really be appreciated.
Despite the fantastic source material and Don Coscarelli's magic touch, John Dies At The End can't pull itself out of low budget syfy level production and a strained, cut and chopped plot. The skeleton of the good movie is there but it's put together with foul, tainted meat.
David, a college dropout and occasional zombie hunter, recounts to a journalist the strange story of a drug that makes the user drift through time, space and dimensions, a series of gruesome murders caused by it, and how he, his friend John and a dog saved mankind.
Fun but semi-incoherent adaptation of a graphic novel that was deemed unfilmable (and for a good reason as it seems). Veteran cult director Don Coscarelli tries his best to construct a workable plot but it's obvious that he just gave up after a while.
At least the film has the good sense never to take itself seriously and it's never boring.
Williamson and Mays are likable as the leads who are in way…
Ridiculous in a way that largely hits the sweet spot for me, though perhaps too sloppy to be a homerun. Love Bark Lee.
Zany and doesn't make much sense. Reminded me at times of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and Edgar Wright, but it's wholly original.
I feared that the movie would be either forced and quirky, or just over-the-top gore as an excuse for bad writing. And while some elements of both bleed through occasionally, most of it works. In the "hmm that's interesting and Ouh that's clever but oh come on what the shit?" Way.
Score disclaimer: I just finished the novel the day before, so I have no idea how the movie would be for someone not used to the source material. I commend it's efforts in staying true to the spirit of the books, even if they didn't have the budget to do it justice... or the actors...
Unlike most of his peers, Don Coscarelli can still make an enjoyable movie. This one had a ton of original ideas and was pretty good.
- Under the Skin
- Tropical Malady
- Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
- Inland Empire
- 13 Sins
- 100 Bloody Acres
- The ABCs of Death
Friends often ask me to recommend indie horror films on Netflix Instant. (American Netflix, sorry!) Now I can just send…
- I've Heard the Mermaids Singing
- Zazie dans le métro
- Allegro non troppo
- The Adventures of Prince Achmed
***EDIT (March 30, 2014)***
Wow! I never would have expected that I'd get anywhere close to 100 likes on this…