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John Dies At the End

tn_johndiesDon Coscarelli is really underappreciated. Including by me. Everything he’s done is good, right? I haven’t seen his first two, but one (JIM, THE WORLD’S GREATEST) is not on video and the other (KENNY & COMPANY) I’ve heard nothing but good things about. All four PHANTASM movies are pretty great. I like THE BEASTMASTER. I like SURVIVAL QUEST. But he’s a low budget independent guy who wants to do his own thing, so he takes a while. It’s been 10 years since his last movie, the one-of-a-kind BUBBA HO-TEP. It’s been 7 years just since his last TV work, INCIDENT ON AND OFF A MOUNTAIN ROAD, easily the best Masters of Horror episode I’ve seen.

So he’ll be out of sight for years and then he’ll travel through the portal of time to bring us one of these distinctive sort of fringe horror-ish movies. This time he brought us JOHN DIES AT THE END, probly the closest thing he’s done to an actual comedy. You could compare it to something like JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER or maybe CABIN IN THE WOODS or TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL, but still with enough weird, non-jokey horror in its guts to keep me satisfied. It arguably leans a little bit more to the left on the horror-to-comedy spectrum than those ones, but not by a huge amount.

I don’t know if you guys remember this, but several years ago when CINDERELLA MAN came out Paul Giamatti was interviewed by Variety about CINDERELLA MAN, and he told them a filmmaker he really wanted to work with was Don Coscarelli. After years of almost playing Colonel Parker in a BUBBA HO-TEP sequel he’s finally gotten his wish, playing sort of the Christian Slater role from INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE. David Wong (deadpanning, Duplassian  newcomer Chase Masterson Williamson) is some kind of slacker everyman who has stumbled into the life of a paranormal crusader, and Giamatti is the journalist he tells his story to. At first I thought it wasn’t much of a role for him, but then it gets to the part where he sees a weird creature and freaks out, and I knew it was worth his time.

mp_johndiesJohn (Rob Mayes) is Dave’s weird friend, he kind of reminds me of Rob Lowe in comedy mode, a wide-eyed, intense, very positive guy who plays in a band and gets them into this world of magic when he gets a mysterious drug he calls “soy sauce” from a psychic Jamaican guy he meets at a party. The drug makes him see the future and communicate from beyond the grave and see things others don’t, like human-sized insects on the ceiling and albino fruit flies coming out of people’s wounds. Dave doesn’t want to do the soy sauce but it’s hard to avoid when you accidentally inject yourself or when a couple of pills turn into flies and buzz right into your mouth and cheek.

Now Dave and John live kind of a druggie version of the lifestyle of Constantine or Dylan Dog or Hellboy or Ghostbusters. They get attacked by demons and ghosts and shit and have to know how to handle themselves, but there’s an extra does of paranoia and psychedelic confusion.

I like the tone, I think it’s just serious enough, but I can’t pretend it’s not goofy. In one of the great early scenes a locker full of frozen meats forms like Voltron into a humanoid monster shape to come after them. The meat monster turns out to have the wrong guy, but they refer him to the correct arch-nemesis, the famous TV mystic Dr. Albert Marconi (Clancy Brown). He’s known for his cheesy infomercials but he’s so powerful he defeats the monster over the phone.

They get used to weird shit like a guy’s mustache flying off like a butterfly, a bratwurst that works as a phone, getting rescued by a dog driving a truck, an army of naked people in Halloween masks, alternate dimensions, a doorknob turning into a penis. The idea is that this shit is all around us but most of us just don’t know how to notice it. “It’s kind of like the country music radio station,” we’re told. “It’s out there in the air, even if you don’t tune into it.” But John does tune in, he probly has the radio station sticker on the back window of his pickup truck, so he’s always experiencing more than us. He doesn’t even live on a direct timeline, which leads to a major faux pas when he casually reveals to some guy named Fred that he won’t be alive soon. You gotta be careful what you say if you’re on the soy sauce. But he’s not that type of person.

There are plenty of other colorful characters: a cop (Glynn Turman) who sees demonic things and decides the right thing is to burn it all down, a demon-possessed dumbass who calls himself “Shitload,” a teenage amputee who won’t take any shit. Doug Jones is a mysterious weirdo who shows up and says weird shit, and he doesn’t have to wear a monster costume. There’s maybe too much quirk for some people, but it works for me.

There are some good old school rubbery effects, but also some digital and some of it is kinda chintzy looking in the finale. You could tell they were stretching their budget a little, as I guess you could say of pretty much all Coscarelli movies, but that tends to be more charming when they built something than when they faked it in a computer. I’m sure the computering will bother alot of purists, but I’m okay with it. They’re fake looking effects that have some personality to them. I like that type of stuff.

The title is misleading. I think John dies about a third of the way in. I don’t know if that’s different from the book that it’s based on. I do know that I’m glad they didn’t call it JOHN AND DAVE VS. KORROK OF THE ALTERNATE DIMENSION or something wacky like that. That would’ve put me in the wrong mood.

I doubt this will hold up years down the line as well as I think BUBBA HO-TEP does, because it’s not as unique of a creation. There aren’t alot of movies to compare that one to (it’s a seriously sad story of an elderly Elvis Presley, but also it’s about fighting a mummy in a cowboy hat), this one I already compared it to a bunch of things. It’s a fun time, though, and I hope it’s not too long before we see something else from Coscarelli. But I’ll wait if I have to.


VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 at 12:33 pm and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

43 Responses to “John Dies At the End”

  1. The book’s pretty good, too, but the sequel to the book (This Book Is Full of Spiders) is completely awesome.

  2. Glad you got to see this one, Vern. Lucked out to see this one at a midnight movie where it clearly belongs. I think it will have some good shelf life as the writing was actually pretty clever as was the acting. It will live long on my shelf, at least, when I get it on DVD. This movie is what I wanted Supernatural the TV show to be like but Supernatural the TV show isn’t like this so I stopped watching it. I could watch John and David do this kind of stuff every week. Good review. Glad you dug it.

  3. Glad you got to see this one, Vern. Lucked out to see this one at a midnight movie where it clearly belongs. I think it will have some good shelf life as the writing was actually pretty clever as was the acting. It will live long on my shelf, at least, when I get it on DVD. This movie is what I wanted Supernatural the TV show to be like but Supernatural the TV show isn’t like this so I stopped watching it. I could watch John and David do this kind of stuff every week. Good review. Glad you dug it.

  4. I think you got the name of the main actor wrong. It’s Chase Williamson. Chase Masterson was on STAR TREK DS9 and SOMETIMES THE COME BACK 3.

  5. Awwwww man, why did you have to like this one? I’m torn, because as much as I like Don “wouldn’t my name be awesome for a rapper” Coscarelli I can’t stand the stuff David Wong writes on Cracked (well, maybe he stopped being up his ass but I don’t know because I kind of gave up on his stuff. If he has I apologize) so I wouldn’t have felt bad if nobody liked this movie and I could skip it. Instead people whose opinions I trust like it so I’ll probably give it a try and end up liking it so I’ll feel like a jerk for all the times I’ve bagged on the author.

    You’re putting me in a tough position here Don Coscarelli.

  6. Dammit, Marlow. Why did you have to tell me that it was written by a CRACKED writer? Now I really have to consider skipping this movie, although I was looking forward for it.

  7. This one took a couple of attempts to get through for me. I didn’t hate it exactly, but it did seem to be testing my patience. I think maybe there’s a limit to how many what-the-fuck moments I can have in a film before I have to sigh and wave the white flag. It reminded me a little of Detention where it seems the director is firing a machine gun at you for 90 minutes, but instead of making a RAT-A-TAT-A-TAT sound, it goes AINTITCOOL!-AINTITCOOL!-AINTITCOOL!-AINTITCOOL! until you’re dead.

    I’ll give it this though: For some reason, the gunshots in this stood out as pretty brutal. Bravo sound fx man! Also, Giamatti gives some good expressions.

    Shame, I like Coscarelli. Met him at a Bubba Ho Tep screening many years back and he seems a genuinely nice guy. I’ll give it a few months and then try watching again. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood.

  8. I read the book a while back and it’s sequel, This Book Is Full of Spiders, last year, both are pretty damn entertaining, though they didn’t scare me very much, in some ways the sequel is even better, with a more focused story, but I missed some of the weirdness found in the original

    here’s the skinny, “David Wong”, the book’s author is also a writer for a website called Cracked, in fact he’s pretty much the father of it, he had his own website once that later merged with Cracked and he announced the movie version on his original website about 6 years ago! it’s nice to finally see it come to fruition affter all this time

    I would recommend people check out his articles on Cracked at least, though recently they’ve left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth

    anyway the book of JDATE does not end with John dying either and it does not point out the irony of that or turn it into a joke either, he just doesn’t die, in fact the ending of the book is pretty damn funny, not sure if the movie has the same ending because I have not seen it yet

  9. I blocked CRACKED in my browser a few years ago. It happened to me all the time that I clicked on a link to an interesting sounding article, which then turned out to be a lame joke article on CRACKED.

  10. I really loved this weird little movie, I don’t believe I’ve read any of David Wong’s articles at Cracked, but I have ordered the “John Dies at the End” novel from my library to satiate my curiousity on what I might have missed in this film due too being very very high.

    I dislike shitty looking CG; however, I appreciate it’s charm in low budget films, trying their best to entertain me, saddled without the resources necessary to realistically convey imagery crucial to the narrative.

    Vern – I really dug the tone of the film, it took its’ premise seriously but was funny, I don’t know if I could call it more of a horror than a comedy, but I think I know what you were talking about. Also Giamatti and Brown were really really good, the Kurgen seemed like he was having alot of fun and Giamatti…I don’t know how to convey it but he really sold me on his role.

    You guys should watch it i

  11. I really loved this weird little movie, I don’t believe I’ve read any of David Wong’s articles at Cracked, but I have ordered the “John Dies at the End” novel from my library to satiate my curiousity on what I might have missed in this film due too being very very high.

    I dislike shitty looking CG; however, I appreciate it’s charm in low budget films, trying their best to entertain me, saddled without the resources necessary to realistically convey imagery crucial to the narrative.

    Vern – I really dug the tone of the film, it took its’ premise seriously but was funny, I don’t know if I could call it more of a horror than a comedy, but I think I know what you were talking about. Also Giamatti and Brown were really really good, the Kurgen seemed like he was having alot of fun and Giamatti…I don’t know how to convey it but he really sold me on his role.

    You guys should watch it if you haven’t.

  12. CJ – there’s a lot of good stuff on Cracked and it gives you something to read on the internet every day, but it has been going through somewhat of a dry spell recently, the good articles are getting rarer and rarer

  13. I don’t wanna turn this into a Cracked diss-cussion (get it?), but whenever I came across one of their articles I had the feeling that I was reading one of those unfunny, ultra-snarky AV Club articles, only written by a 12 year old who steals all his arguments from the IMDB message boards. Which is a shame, because like I said, they do have some great ideas for articles. At least three times a week I read a headline, that really interested me. Just yesterday I read a link named “The Horryfying Deleted timeline From BACK TO THE FUTURE”, but I know, if I would remove Cracked from my banlist and would let my browser open that website, I would be horribly burned. Again.

    So, no, thank you. I’ve had it wich Cracked (and in fact, RANDOM ROLES is the only thing that I still read at The AV Club). My life is too short to get pissed off by snarky websites who think they are funny, by pointing out that the Star Wars prequels sucked, because Ewan McGregor had a stupid haircut or some shit like that.

  14. oh yeah, those kind of movie themed articles on Cracked do suck, I agree (especially those “if X movie were 100 times and shorter and 100 times more honest” articles), but they have hundreds and hundreds of articles, trust me, there’s some good stuff in there

  15. Cracked has a lot of great stuff, particularly in the science / history category. And Wong is a brilliant columnist. ‘”5 ways modern men are trained to hate women” is one of the best things I’ve read in recent months.

    http://www.cracked.com/article_19785_5-ways-modern-men-are-trained-to-hate-women.html

    The film however, is a mess. Bubba Ho-Tep was really good, but “John” is an endless parade of weird story, weird people, weird dialogue, weird special effects, etc. And weird really works to me if you juxtapose it with something real and relatable. When you’re 100% weird all the way, it can be disorienting and emotionally distancing. For this reason, the film felt a bit dull.

    However, I’m sure some people are really gonna dig it. I don’t do drugs, but people who do, might get more out of John Dies At The End.

  16. The thing to remember about Cracked articles is how the sausage is made. Forum members submit premises, which are approved by David Wong, and then create a rough facsimile of the article is written. At that point the articles is edited (sometimes heavily, sometimes not) to approximate the same voice as every other article. It’s a factory, and so there’s rarely going to be anything overly unique, but there’s usually at least a basic level of grammatical competence. The columnists (especially Wong and the “real” John Cheese) aren’t edited nearly as heavily, and I usually find Wong and Cheese’s articles at least interesting. Unfortunately, they sort of sanitized and arguably butchered Vern’s writing (something I believe he’s talked about before, though I can’t find the particular post anymore) when he did a Seagal article for them.

    Wong himself, in my few interactions with- and observations of him, is kind of a prick. For instance, I’d be banned from the Cracked forum if he knew who I was, because any negative criticism of Cracked articles or staff, on any website, is generally ban-worthy. Several years ago, most of the longest tenured moderators and one of the administrators were banned or walked out over an issue where he deleted a post and misrepresented what was said in it, leading to a fairly large exodus. But hey, most people are pricks; it’s hard to hold it against him. He runs Cracked like Roger Goodell runs the NFL, but obviously he’s done well for himself and I quite enjoy a lot of his writing.

    As for the film, the original book is actually sort of a loosely tied collection of stories which he would post every Halloween (if I remember correctly), and even though the seams get less glaring the more the book is edited, they’re still visible. I thought the movie had sort of the same problem, despite the added insulation of what is effectively another revision of the collected story.

  17. Also, I could obviously do with my own editor.

  18. Today on Cracked: “15 Reasons Why Bestselling Author David Wong is Better Than You” by bestselling author David Wong. That stuff makes me want to steal his movie out of spite, but I can’t in good conscience steal from Don Coscarelli.

    seanbaby on the other hand can be downright hysterical when he’s on his game. He should write an MMA comedy. The Photoplasty’s are also funny from time to time.

    On the plus side, this review made me think about a track by Themselves called “Paging Dr. Moon and Dr. Gun” which drops an awesome Don Coscarelli reference, and I gave it a listen this morning. It’s a great track if you like things that are both weird and awesome. Thanks Vern.

  19. Walter, that seems to fit my experience. I don’t remember what they rewrote other than a “Stallone is dumb” joke they added in that really pissed me off. But they must’ve just been used to editing articles that way and not realized that I didn’t expect it. I have been lucky (or unlucky?) over the years having my own forum and otherwise mostly dealing with people who don’t change what I write at all. If I had known that was how they worked I probly wouldn’t have done the piece, but it seems to work for them for what they do.

    I still think it’s cool that they resurrected the name of an old Mad Magazine ripoff and turned it into something viable. That was actually the main attraction for me. I would also like to write for hotdogmagazine.com.

  20. Fuck cracked, pay Vern!

  21. I’ve been excited to see this movie forever, but I haven’t been able to as of yet so I’d like to take this moment to point out something about cracked.

    Their history/science stuff seems interesting, but is almost all between 50 and 100% total fucking bullshit. Their recent article about “glaring errors in famous movies,” for instance, puts Django’s sunglasses at #1, claiming sunglasses weren’t invented before the 1900s. Even if that were true, it wouldn’t be in the top 10 historical inaccuracies in DJANGO UNCHAINED (not that any reasonable person would complain about that) but it’s demonstrably untrue, and could have been verified with a simple google search. Repeat any bit of information, trivial or otherwise, from cracked.com at your own peril. You have been warned. Other than that, though, some chuckles here and there. I didn’t really turn on them until they edited Vern’s article to completely alter it’s meaning, and then signed his name to it (without even mentioning it or getting his approval). That’s pretty tough to overlook.

  22. Since this has already become the unofficial Cracked bashing thread, I’m gonna go ahead and wrench it further off topic.

    Has anyone seen OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL? God bless Raimi and everything, but I just cannot muster up any enthusiasm for yet another fucking film based on a dark reimagining of a fairy tale/childrens book. Where did this trend come from? Was it just that Hollywood’s mad thirst for name-recognition led to a wholesale raiding of the public domain? Given the poor box office performance of JACK THE GIANT SLAYER, have they badly overestimated the longevity of this particular fad?

  23. Oz is in the tone of army of darkness and will scare the shit out of kids.

  24. It came from Alice in wonderland grossing a billion dollars in fuckin march mixed with public domain access.

  25. “Their history/science stuff seems interesting, but is almost all between 50 and 100% total fucking bullshit. Their recent article about “glaring errors in famous movies,” for instance, puts Django’s sunglasses at #1, claiming sunglasses weren’t invented before the 1900s. Even if that were true, it wouldn’t be in the top 10 historical inaccuracies in DJANGO UNCHAINED (not that any reasonable person would complain about that) but it’s demonstrably untrue, and could have been verified with a simple google search”

    RE:

    Not sure how that fits with history / science stuff? Their movie / entertainment categories tend to be more subjective writing. Some of it is pure opinion pieces.

    But regardless, I *did* do a google search, and sunglasses in fact didn’t exist in the time of Django. There were tinted glasses before the 20th century, for various purposes (mainly for people with eye sickness, with blue, green and yellow color), but no sunglasses as we know them. In the 19th century some people who suffered of syphilis did have brown glasses, but Django presumably didn’t wear his glasses for that reason.

    Whether it’s one of the “top 10” inaccurasies is of course a question of opinion. Considering the screentime those sunglasses have, it’s a justified position. And it’s supposed to be a fun article anyway, with emphasis on *fun*.

    I read a lot of history / science articles on Cracked, and if the subject is of any interest to me, I tend to read more on Wikipedia, etc. I find their articles to be very accurate, with rarely any factual errors. Some of the information might be too general, and therefore readers might interpret it wrong, but that’s true for any short article on complex subject.

  26. tuuka: Oh, look, what are these? It’s rather pointless to distinguish between “sunglasses” and “tinted glasses”; there were certainly people in the 19th century who wore tinted lenses to protect against light glare, such as Paganini.

    Speaking of Django Unchained, isn’t John Legend’s “Who Did That to You” great? I’ve been playing it nonstop today.

  27. “Wong himself, in my few interactions with- and observations of him, is kind of a prick.”

    what, you know him personally or something? I’ve never bothered with the Cracked forums so I don’t have an opinion on that, but the only time David Wong pissed me off was when he wrote a terrible article in 2009 that could not have been a more obvious puff piece for the release of JDATE, it wasn’t funny and it was really lazy, kind of like an article equivalent http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDTwO0TlwOU

  28. I don’t know him personally. I’ve been a (mostly inactive) member of the forums for most of a decade though. He’s not the EIC of Cracked, but he’s the administrator of the forums (which used to be his own forum, Pointless Waste of Time), and an extremely active member of that community, for better or worse. People are different on- and offline, but mostly in how filtered they are. It doesn’t have any bearing on his book or this movie, though.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t really have a problem with the article you’re talking about. The joke is that it’s such a blatant advertisement, and there’s nothing particularly wrong with a website advertising the outside project of one of its major contributors. They did a similar thing when they published their own dumb book of articles. It’s not like they didn’t know it was an ad; I certainly don’t think it was the height of comedy or something, but it was certainly self-aware and not really worth getting offended over.

    In my last post, I forgot to mention that I did like both the book and movie. They just have really noticeable seams that damage any immersion one might experience.

  29. So, saw this one over the weekend, and quite enjoyed it. Coscarelli’s infectious desire to shoehorn as many weird images as possible into it carries the day. It does suffer, though, from the effects of having an author adapt his own novel, ie being unable to let some details go in the service of streamlining a plot for the big screen. Also, it’s emphasis on David Wong’s own character as the protagonist seems self-serving and detrimental. John is the better character, but sits out way too much of the movie in favor of his snarky Robert-Pattinson-wannabe sidekick.

    Still, too much fun overall to stay mad at it. Cameos by Angus Scrimm AND Doug Jones? That forgives almost anything. I just hope that Coscarelli gets to write his own screenplay again next time.

  30. “tuuka: Oh, look, what are these? It’s rather pointless to distinguish between “sunglasses” and “tinted glasses”; there were certainly people in the 19th century who wore tinted lenses to protect against light glare, such as Paganini.”

    RE:

    Paganini wore “sunglasses” because he had syphilis. Please refer to my earlier post: Django probably didn’t have syphilis or any other eye disease that required tinted glasses.

  31. Point A: Django had rather unorthodox views on what was and wasn’t appropriate clothing, having never been given the chance to choose his own clothes and develop his own style before Schultz came into his life. He was a sartorial blank slate, unbound by the rules of tradition and propriety. Nobody ever let him know that the only people who wore tinted glasses were syphilitics, so he wore them because he felt like it. Now that he’s unchained, he wears whatever the hell he wants and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.

    Point B: Who gives a fuck? It seems like such a small-minded thing to complain about. This is not a history lesson or an exercise in verisimilitude. The character looks cool in sunglasses. End of story.

  32. Am I the only one who desperately wants a sequel to this just so we can conclusively find out if it actually was the same ax? The question is haunting me now!

  33. “Point B: Who gives a fuck? It seems like such a small-minded thing to complain about. This is not a history lesson or an exercise in verisimilitude. The character looks cool in sunglasses. End of story.”

    People who point out “errors in movies”, whether historical/scientific or just little continuity errors, are usually not really bothered by that stuff, it’s just kind of a game. It’s like this book “A Nitpicker’s Guide to Star Trek” which I remember combing through during the trekkiest phase of my teenage years, it went through every episode and pointed out little continuity errors, inconsistencies with other episodes, science mistakes, etc…it was obviously written by a devoted trekkie who saw it as all in good fun, not a Simpsons Comic Book Guy who was getting incensed. And remember the subject of sunglasses came up because Mr. Subtlety was talking about Cracked articles that point out errors, not because anyone here was actually bothered by the sunglasses–if you read those kinds of articles the tone is obviously more “let’s have fun with trivial bullshit” then “this movie is ruined for me now because that one scene was historically inaccurate”.

  34. “Point A: Django had rather unorthodox views on what was and wasn’t appropriate clothing, having never been given the chance to choose his own clothes and develop his own style before Schultz came into his life. He was a sartorial blank slate, unbound by the rules of tradition and propriety. Nobody ever let him know that the only people who wore tinted glasses were syphilitics, so he wore them because he felt like it. Now that he’s unchained, he wears whatever the hell he wants and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.

    Point B: Who gives a fuck? It seems like such a small-minded thing to complain about. This is not a history lesson or an exercise in verisimilitude. The character looks cool in sunglasses. End of story.”

    RE:

    The Cracked article is supposed to be fun. It’s not even one of their editorials, it’s a user-submitted list. It’s not a serious criticism on the historical accuracy of the film. I don’t think Cracked was upset, I don’t think the readers who submitter the list were upset, and personally I wasn’t upset about the sunglasses in Django. The film is not supposed to be a serious history lesson.

    The people who *do* seem to give a big fuck about this are several posters on this thread, who are claiming that Django wearing sunglasses in the film is in fact historically accurate. Some even the claim that the one-sentence statement you can find at Cracked is a good example of the lack of scientific integrity of the whole site.

    To be repeated again: At least according to several google searches I did on the history of sunglasses: If the film were aiming to be historically accurate (which it obviously doesn’t), Django would wear such glasses only if he had some kind of disease that would affect eyesight. Like Syphilis.

    If there is a lesson to be learnt here, it’s that if you talk bullshit, someone is likely to call you on your bullshit. Beyond that, like you suggested, I don’t think anyone really gives a fuck.

  35. Charles “motherfucking” Bronson wore sunglasses all the time as Wild Bill Hickock – he had syphilis – in J. Lee Thompson’s gothic western THE WHITE BUFFALO. Maybe that’s where Tarantino got the idea from?

  36. This argument is still going on, is it? Glorious.

    Tuuka, I notice that you’re ignoring the link I gave to those Chinese sunglasses, which were not intended for syphilitics. (You’re also ignoring Mr. Majestyk’s Point A, even though you quote it.) And whether Paganini had syphilis or not, which is disputed, he wore tinted glasses because he was sensitive to light. See here, among other biographies.

    While I’m poking around in Google Books:

    “In weak [i.e., light-sensitive] eyes, as they are commonly called, tinted glasses may sometimes be necessary …. A great improvement in this has been devised among the French, by using glasses of a neutral tint, gray, or smoke color.”

    Hints on Health, William Edward Coale, 1852

    “A green veil, blue or neutral tinted spectacles are useful as a protection from the glare of the sun.”

    A Hand-Book for Travellers in the Ionian Islands, Greece, Turkey, Asia Minor, and Constantinople, 1845

    “A rope is always wanted, and neutral-tinted spectacles and veils should be taken.”

    A Hand-Book for Travellers in Switzerland and the Alps of Savoy and Piedmont, 1838

    Etc., etc., etc.

  37. Guys, let it go with the sunglasses, Jesus. All I wanted to do was point out that you should not take too seriously the reporting you read on cracked.com, because it’s a comedy site not a peer-reviewed journal and they can have some questionable or misleading claims. I get it, sunglasses turn out to be a surprisingly nebulous term which can be interpreted in a number of different ways based on both their form and intended function. All the more reason not to assume that a paragraph-long spottily-cited blurb on a “best of” countdown on a comedy site is a practical source for ultimate truth.

    Now, can we talk about JOHN DIES AT THE END again? Seriously, was it the same ax?

  38. When this review was first posted, I didn’t want to spoil the new Don Coscarelli movie by reading the review before I’d seen the film, so I hesitated to read the review for a full day. It took me that long to remember that I’d read the book in December. It’s not that the book was forgettable; I’m just very forgetful. To the point where I already forgot everything in the review and get to read it again fresh.

    I like stories.

  39. Just saw this one and liked it a lot. Funny, gooey, monstery entertainment, a bit closer to classic Stuart Gordon than Coscarelli usually got but definitely showing his commitment to excellence. Nobody else in his graduating class of horror directors is operating at this level of consistency and vigor today. He used to be kind of the underachiever but now he’s a master’s class in staying true to your roots while steadily improving your craft.

    Also, this Chase Williamson guy is my new choice to star in MR. MAJESTYK: THE MOTION PICTURE: NO, NOT THAT ONE. It’s more the deadpan attitude than the looks, though we’re similar enough, except for his blue eyes. Because the thing about a Majestyk, it’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes. Give him those contacts Ian Holm wore in FROM HELL and we’ll be in business.

    Anyway, yeah, solid movie. I like that it’s the kind of flick where you can watch the deleted scenes and plug them back in wherever you feel like it and they fit just fine.

  40. Mr. M — I think your point that a deleted scene could be plugged in at any point sums up both what I liked about the movie and the way in which I wish it had been better. It has a frantic pace and an absolutely dogged commitment to making sure something bugnuts crazy happens at least once every few minutes. But it also might have benefited from a more streamlined, focused narrative that knit all the crazy episodes into something that felt like a cohesive whole. Visually, maybe my favorite Coscarelli movie… love that opening shot across the snow. But I hope Coscarelli writes the next one himself.

  41. I’m genuinely not sure how to resolve the question of the axe. I think it’s called Theseus’ Paradox. If the axe and the handle of the axe have both been replaced, is it still the same axe? If so, is it by virtue of ownership or by the new handle having coexisted with the old head and the new head with the new (but older) handle? In this case, I think it counts as the same axe for the purpose of the dead guy looking for revenge, as he cares more about the wielder than the actual physical components. I wish I were better at philosophy.

    Anyway, I just saw this tonight and loved it. The Amy character was underwritten, but the overall movie was a hell of a lot of fun.

  42. SPOILERS, sigh…

    I loved the intro to this movie with the ax paradox. Crazy zombie story and dialogue leading up to…. a philosophical question? I didn’t see it coming. Awesome.

    Also loved John’s dialogue at the diner, when he calls from the future (? from beyond the grave?) while he’s sitting right there. Awesome. And then of course “Are we going to the mall or coming back? Oh right, on the way cause Fred’s still alive.” Fred: “What?!?” Brilliant.

    Unfortunately, the cohesiveness of the story and the special effects were not up to snuff. Understandable I guess… it’s hard to maintain a common thread of plot when you’re trying to piece together so much craziness which sadly is there just for the sake of being crazy. With a rewrite and a bigger budget I think this could have been blockbuster-worthy, something along the lines of what R.I.P.D apparently was meant to be.

  43. For me the whole discussion of its horror movie chops and the cohesiveness of its storyline entirely miss the point. The good stuff in the film is all the fun synchronicity stuff. Once they sort of get over that and have to do the actual plot it’s kind of a bummer. This is precisely the reason why the Hitchhiker’s movie sucks: it thinks having a coherent, linear plot is the important part but it’s the LEAST important part, and directly interferes with the lawlessness and whimsy of the silly ideas that are of primary interest to me.

    Rainman’s first two paragraphs above me describe well what I enjoyed about the film. I loved the Jamaican character and his little riff on how you become clairvoyant during a dream (dreaming about the lightning before the lightning wakes you up, wasn’t it?). If you put a gun to my head I’ll admit that you have these experiences because you’re groggy and half asleep and have lost your precise sense of time for a few moments, but I love the idea that there’s a part of your brain that’s “unstuck in time” as it were and that you can access it for a few seconds in a dream or if you take soy sauce.

    I would love to see more movies that explore that sort of territory. Altman’s Brewster McCloud comes to mind for some reason.

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