Daily Archives: April 29, 2020

Horror Films A to Z ~ (Why is there no Y?)

John Dies at the End

Year: 2012
Runtime: 1h 39m
Director: Don Coscarelli
Writer: Don Coscarelli, David Wong
Stars: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti

A new street drug that sends its users across time and dimensions has one drawback: some people return no longer human. Can two college drop-outs save humanity from this silent, otherworldly invasion?

Initial: The film I had picked for “Y” was no longer available through any streaming service I’m currently subscribed to. My back-up didn’t seem compelling. So, I decided to give another letter’s runner-up a chance to make good. That letter was “J.” Jacob’s Ladder (2019) has been the worst movie I’ve watched this month. Let’s see how John Dies at the End does. I know this is based on a book; I don’t remember the movie coming out.

Production Notes: Don Coscarelli wrote and directed the classic Phantasm (1979).

What Did I Think: (possible spoilers ahead) John Dies at the End was a better movie than Jacob’s Ladder. Granted, that wasn’t a high bar. No, really, John Dies… is an enjoyable if totally nuts movie. In spirit, it is very much like Bride of Reanimator, bright and absurd, but with more dick jokes. Funnily enough, both Jacob’s Ladder and John Dies… have perception-altering drugs at their core. John Dies… handles the concept better. (Sorry, low bar thing again.) It also has Clancy Brown and two male leads who flummoxed me due to my face-blindness.

The movie didn’t get wide distribution, but it’s around now on a few streaming services. It reportedly had a budget of less than $1M (more than Mysterious Island (2010)), but looks pretty darn good. I almost think it might have been a better TV series. There are a bunch of characters that we never really get to know. If you want 1h 39m of weirdness, you could do worse.