Don Coscarelli has spent three decades producing flicks tailor-made for the geek/cult set, from his nutso 1979 breakthrough, Phantasm, to the ferret-canoodling warrior of The Beastmaster. His master opus was Bubba Ho-Tep, which pitted Elvis and a black JFK against a mummy oddity. With John Dies at the End, the director attempts to top a career filled with deranged morticians and STD-afflicted elderly rock gods by adapting author David Wong's notoriously batshit take on interdimensional lunacy, monsters made of hot dogs, tits, ghosts and necromancing. No fair spilling too many details about a film that puts a spoiler in its title, but let it suffice to say this giddy freak show follows buddies Dave (Chase Williamson) and John (Rob Mayes) on a quest to save the known universe from some pretty gnarly beasties, taking a fantastic slacker voyage along the way through the realm of creative low-budget special effects. This is, of course, not a film for everybody: The content's just far too weird for mainstream audiences, and Coscarelli seems to have created the film specifically for the geeks who worship his bizarro aesthetic. Sometimes he overreaches, but damned if it's not a compelling exercise in what-the-fuck filmmaking punctuated with pangs of hysteria. Oh, and hot-dog monsters.
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- Release Date: Monday, February 4, 2013
- MPAA Rating: R
- Critic's Score: B
- Watch the trailer