Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Slacker Doctor Strange in the Ghost Matrix, or Thoughts on John Dies at The End

John Dies at The End (2012), from the novel by David Wong of the same name, (which I have not read) was written and directed by Don Coscarelli of Phantasm (1972), The Beastmaster (1982) and Bubba Ho-Tep (2002).  With a Fight Club (1999)/Mr. Robot style self-referential narration, the movie features Chase Williamson as David Wong, an amateur ghost hunter, zombie fighter and exorcist in an alternate universe full of time travel, giant spiders, alien scarab slug thingys, luncheon meat monsters and talking zombie skinheads.
David Wong, a white guy who changed his name to make himself more anonymous (um, ok), is accidentally stabbed with an oily black intravenous drug with the street name soy sauce (sigh) that enhances supernatural abilities and opens alternate realities.  Don Coscarelli really enjoys the horror-sci-fi mashup, and John Dies at The End has a clever mix of CGI, stop motion and traditional effects.  A darker Buckaroo Banzai(1984) with elements of David Lynch and a dash of The Evil Dead (1981), the movie has an intentionally confusing plot line to keep the audience as off-balance as the narrator, which can be frustrating. 
All-Around Class Act Paul Giamatti from American Splendor (2003), Sideways (2004) and Downton Abbey (2013) portrays Arnie Bledsoe, freelance reporter and initial skeptic.  Clancy "The Kurgen" Brown is Dr. Albert Marconi, celebrity psychic, and Angus Scrimm, The Tall Man from Phantasm (1972), appears in one of his final roles as Father Shellnut.  And Doug Jones, most famous for Abe Sapien from Hellboy (2004) and the magnificent eyeball-palm Faun from Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) appears as Roger North with a minimal amount of makeup for once, supplying precious exposition from another dimension.



my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hr diner with the best pie in town...