Friends often ask me to recommend indie horror films on Netflix Instant. (American Netflix, sorry!) Now I can just send…
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.
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.
My name is David Wong. I once saw a man's kidney grow tentacles, tear itself out of a ragged hole in his back, and go slapping across my kitchen floor. But that's another story.
While some films take years to reach cult status, when they're directed by Don Coscarelli they tend to reach that status before they're even released. A decade after his last film, Coscarelli returns to the director's chair with an adaptation of David Wong's book of the same name. John Dies at the End started out as a 2001 webserial migrating to various forms to finally being published as a hardcover in 2009.
The source material seems tailor made for Coscarelli who also took on writing…
I haven't read the source material this is based on, but after watching Coscarelli's adaptation I really want to as I got the feeling I might like that even more than I did the film.
This is a completely bizarre film that plays out like some weird amalgamation of Naked Lunch and Ghostbusters which shouldn't work but does. There is a host of ideas that feel unexplored, but the strong dialogues, breakneck pace and out of the box weirdness make it come together in a neat bundle of unbridled strangeness.
And yes, it has an absolutely brilliant (k)nob joke.
Director - Don Coscarelli
Writers - Don Coscarelli (Screenplay) and David Wong (Story)
Cast - Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman, Doug Jones, Tai Bennett, Fabianne Therese, Jonny Weston and Jimmy Wong
John Dies at the End is like Detention on a ton of speed. It combines classic creature-feature horror, juvenile humour and a generous helping of surrealism, resulting in a film that works far better than it has any right to. If you can ignore the batshit plot and the fact that none of it makes a blind bit of sense, you’re in for a real treat when you sit down to watch this film. It follows the story of David (Williamson) and John…
My interest dies 25 minutes in.
This is the third time I've watched this one since its release last year. I've got a feeling that this is going to end up being one of those movies that I'm going to keep revisiting every year or two for a while. Based on the David Wong book of the same name, John Dies at the End follows John and David, two slackers who have their eyes opened to other planes of existence, and end up doing battle with monsters, aliens, artificial intelligences, "soy sauce", and doorknobs shaped like penises.
As is almost always the case with books being adapted for the screen, there are things that time and budget just wouldn't allow for. It's a little unfortunate because…
I’m relatively new to the world of Don Coscarelli after viewing all the Phantasm movies last year but it’s a world I’m a fan of. John Dies at the End is a fucking crazy movie. Totally bonkers but it’s so gleeful about it. Coscarelli is like early Sam Raimi and Cronenberg combined and the films he makes are so audaciously WTF that you can’t help but be charmed by them. This is destined to be a classic midnight movie with so many truly absurd but imaginative sights and sounds. It’s a film that plays by its own rules and you’ll either love it or loathe it. David Wong sure has a fascinating mind of ideas and Coscarelli was the perfect vessel to bring it to life. With Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep and now this, he’s becoming a cult hero of mine. He seems hellbent on never making anything ordinary. That’s a voice I can get behind.
Even better a second time through. It's schlocky and ridiculous, but has SUCH a great sense of humor. This is a completely unique, batshit insane movie isn't for everyone, but it's definitely the movie for me.
i really wanted to love this film. i'm a huge fan of the book and the movie had so many things going for it: adapted and directed by Don Coscarelli, has Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Doug Jones and even Angus fucking Scrimm shows up. unfortunately i think the book had too much crazy shit going on so the movie ended up feeling too streamlined to me. i also wasn't really a big fan of the guy who played John.
overall though i'd say it was pretty entertaining and had some amusing sfx (a doorknob turning into a dick and the character saying "That door cannot be opened!" as he runs away was a particularly noteworthy example). not awful, not great but worth checking out.
A bonkers episode of "Supernatural" with probably less money to work with but 10 times the imagination & joy. Also doubles as a wonderful bookend to Paul Giamatti's work in "12 Years A Slave", the other 2013 movie where he drops the N word.
★★★ John Dies at the End invites us into a very bizarre world. We're introduced to David Wong (Chase Williamson) in a way that lets us know anything, and everything, is possible, "My name is David Wong. I once saw a man's kidney grow tentacles, tear itself out of a ragged hole in his back and go slapping across my kitchen floor. But that's another story."
David and John (Rob Mayes) are spiritual exorcists that get involved with a new drug called Soy Sauce. It allows users to see into the future, interpret dreams and travel in time. "I'm remembering things that haven't happened yet!" says John. The two battle crazy creatures, visit other dimensions and even do some shopping…
An incoherent rambling mess of a film that tries it's hand at pseudo intellucism in between ridiculous viginettes.
The biggest problem of this film is it's editing. Sure they try to gloss over it when the leads say they didn't care enough to pay attention during the transitions but that doesn't excuse the total ADD aspect of it. No 2 scenes have continuity. Instead it tried to distract with ridiculous sight gags, from a meat monster to soy sauce turning into flies.
There really isn't a point to the whole thing. The world is in danger from flies but they have to defeat a pool and a buch of people in masks? I am giving this film too much credit trying to figure out its plot.
I guess it's a good film to watch under the influence of heavy medication but other then that, AVOID!
Disappointing, but wasn't a COMPLETE waste of time - slightly entertaining, at least. Soooo 1.5 stars? First 1.5 stars I've given on this site, hope this sets a precedent. 1.5 for "wouldn't recommend, but not particularly good", 1 for "mediocre to poor" and 0.5 for "summer blockbuster"? Works for me.
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The topic title says it all really.
In rough order of potential brilliance. Check out list view for any available…
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These are all films that I don't usually see being discussed or appreciated around many spheres of cinephiles. I don't…