John Dies At The End [2012]

‘John Dies at the End’ was first a free web serial in 2001 before becoming a printed paperback in 2007. It is comic horror at its best and you should definitely try to track it down, you won’t be disappointed.

Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Bubbahotep) bought the rights, adapted it for the screen and directed it. Those involved in producing the film, like Paul Giamatti read as fans of the source material and make it sound like a labour of love in interviews.

“Let’s say you have an axe. Just a cheap one, from Home Depot. On one bitter winter day, you use said axe to behead a man. Don’t worry, the man was already dead. Or maybe you should worry, because you’re the one who shot him.”

As the source text opens so does the film. Any worries you might be about to suffer a Jackson like adaptation dissipates. But then, you’re watching a film by Don Coscarelli — you should never have been worrying about that anyway.

“…and you’re chopping off his head because even with eight bullet holes in him you’re pretty sure he’s about to spring back to his feet…”

‘John Dies at the End’ takes Lovecraft, detective fiction, centuries of demonology then blends it with Internet age humour and self awareness and a little Hunter S. Thompson style Gonzo narrative of tumbling through booze, drug addled bad luck and other dimensions while fighting the forces of rot and darkness.

The performances work great and are genuinely funny throughout the surreal roll of the film. If anything Don Coscarelli’s adaptation of ‘John Dies at the End’ shows that we need the right people with money to bankroll whatever he wants to do. As he always provides.

Originally published at 13/03/2013