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…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Not as cuhrayzee as I was hoping; it's essentially just a multi-dimmensional, 80's-fueled, hotdog-phone, dog-driving, phantom-limb-door-turning, dick-doorknob, I-just-imagined-a-great-actor-who-is-really-black, giant-supercomputer-octopus, mask-wearing-cultists, bomb-failed-to-go-off, just kidding the dog saved it, basketball-playing multiple-world-saving early-twenties guys, black beetle drug, kind of movie.
I can't imagine a review that encases what I thought of this movie. I don't think I have very specific thoughts, except that I just really loved this movie - the cinematography, the story, the wild stuff... it was all really fun! I could watch it again and again.
(if you're going to have a double-feature movie night, I recommend pairing this with Tucker & Dale vs. Evil)
It's actually this movie that dies at the end: each time through it, I'm a little less enamored with the beginning, and even more disappointed by the greenscreen finale that sucks all the fun out of the room. It's not terrible, but I can only imagine how much more I'd like it if it didn't seem like Coscarelli ran out of money 75% of the way through.
A delirious and downright awesome horror/comedy. John Dies at the End is easily one of the strangest films I've ever witnessed. Everything from the characters, the set designs, and the twisty convoluted plot elevated the film above other B-movie efforts and made it something truly unique in the horror, sci-fi, and comedy genres. But really, it's the great characters and entertaining story that helps this ambitious and highly original film achieve greatness.
I truly thought it'd been long enough since I read David Wong's novel that it was safe to watch and enjoy Don Coscarelli's film, but alas, it wasn't to be. While for the most part it's enjoyably crazy fun, there's just too much lost in translation, and too much missing. Plus, while it usually works in Coscarelli's favour, but here, I think this film really needed a bigger budget and a longer running time to truly pull you into the world presented.
The two actors that play David & John are great, but Paul Giamatti & especially Clancy Brown are underused and some of the supporting actors just don't pull it off; though it was great to see Angus Scrimm pop up…
A mess, though an enjoyably wacky mess. A stoner comedy through the lens of Grant Morrison in full-blown Lovecraft mode.
Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti turn in the best performances, though they're from completely different ends of the acting spectrum.
Not anything like "good" but would definitely watch again.
Camera work and acting of a mid level TV show.
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.
***EDIT (March 30, 2014)***
Wow! I never would have expected that I'd get anywhere close to 100 likes on this…
Friends often ask me to recommend indie horror films on Netflix Instant. (American Netflix, sorry!) Now I can just send…