Friday, November 20, 2015

"John Dies at the End" (2012) d/ Don Coscarelli

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It had been seven years since director Don Coscarelli (Phantasm (1979) et al) served up the "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road" segment for the Masters of Horror series, and ten since he memorably brought author Joe Lansdale's Bubba Ho Tep (2002) to the big screen, giving genre nuts new The Chin-as-Elvis lines to walk around repeating ad nauseum. By 2012, we were relatively sure of two things, that Coscarelli was due for a return to the big screen, and that whatever it was, would most likely be pretty outrageous. The film he gave us, John Dies at the End, certainly fits the bill, an excellently crafted, oftimes surreal, horror/sci-fi/comedy starring the likes of Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes. Paul "Sideways" Giamatti just reminds me of Gavin McInnes for some reason. Like a future variant McInnes that time traveled back to now or something. Maybe it's just me.

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"Like, don't take one step further, breh, we're vegans."
After relieving a skinhead zombie of his namesake body part with an axe (Didn't know him) and waxing philosophically about it, David (Chase Williamson) arranges a public rendezvous with a reporter named Arnie (Paul Giamatti) to reveal the undeniably strange turn his life has taken lately. To quell Arnie's skepticism, he recalls when he and his titular pal, John (Rob Mayes) offered psychic aid to a girl who's being stalked by her dead beau, but when both young men perceive her differently, it's a signal that she's bound to explode into snakes, then assemble herself into a terrible beast comprised of frozen meats. The meat-beast demands a showdown with Marconi (Clancy Brown), a television psychic, who, pressed for time, vanquishes it over the telephone. It all started, it seems,  at an outdoor concert that John's band played at, where the dog of a female amputee named Amy (the dog is Bark Lee) has bitten a Jamaican drug dealer/ psychic named...Robert Marley (how apt), and run off. While David is looking after Bark Lee, he receives a phone call from John, who's bought a substance he calls "soy sauce" off of Marley, that allows him to perceive alternate dimensions of being and time. You with me so far?

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"I've got a shirt on, Reggie. Keep it in your pants, Mr. ice cream."
Naturally, David accidentally pricks himself with a syringe of the infernal stuff while driving, lending to hallucinations of interdimensional travelers and giant slugs. A detective takes the young men in for questioning, explaining to David that he is the sole survivor of a drugfest gone awry at the Jamaican's crib, and that his friend John has died. Only John calls his phone and orchestrates his police station escape when the detective leaves the room. At the goopy Jamaican crime scene, he and his friends are kidnapped by a possessed wigger named Justin, who takes them to a local mall that happens to have a ghost door that can only be accessed by a phantom limb like Amy's, and it's not long before the demonic collective (it has a name too... "Shitload") is hopping from person to person, and our heroes cross over into another dimension, as run by Korrok's pragmatic tentacles, one of disciple sacrifice and knowledge get the idea, I'm sure. As you can imagine, the movie turns off of Unhinged Avenue and onto Deranged Boulevard in the final reel, and I'm not about to spoil all the fun for you. See it.

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"You're going in the Sunday sauce, fucker. You kiddin' me?"
Though this might be the only time Paul Giamatti gets mentioned on Wopsploitation, you'll no doubt remember Clancy Brown from his role of Viking, the juvenile detention bully who gets a boom box exploded in his face in Bad Boys (1983), or from his turns in movies like Pet Sematary Two (1992), Starship Troopers (1996), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). Back to the movie itself. Like Phantasm on crystal meth. If you thought that movie was strange, then you'll probably consider this one certifiable for a straight, white coat and laceless sneakers. If you're in that infinitesimal percentage of movie buffs that didn't like Phantasm (I've never personally run across anyone like that in all my years, but I'm assuming they do exist...somewhere...that sucks), chances are you'll like this one even less. I'm of the opposite camp, and enjoyed it a great deal. Three big ones on the scale. Grab a copy.

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As a straight, toxically masculine, cis-gendered, white male dudebro/shitlord/caveman who especially loves women when they're naked, I couldn't resist using this screenshot. Sorry, Anita Sarkeesian. #TitArmiesMatter
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