John Dies At the End

The future of entertainment is upon us, and we can now watch feature-length films in the comfort of our own home, before they are actually released into the theater.  That, to me, is pretty damn incredible.  So last night I finally got around to seeing the film version of David Wong’s horror-comedy classic John Dies at the End.

I’ve been a long-time reader of Cracked.com (since 2007), and have purchased Robert Brockway’s hilariously apocalyptic Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody and the Cracked anthology You Might Be A Zombie.  I’m rather fond of the insights to be gained there, is what I’m trying to say.  I’m not fanatically devoted to the site or it’s staff, and I don’t love all of their columnists equally, this just sort of happened.

I bought John Dies At the End as soon as it came out on Amazon, then I read the first two chapters, told everyone I knew how great it was…then put it down for two years before finishing it.  Couldn’t explain why I did that, I just did.  Maybe I was worried that Wong wouldn’t be able to carry the load all the way to the end.  I think that perhaps I was concerned that the story would run out of steam and lead to an unsatisfying conclusion.  I’m glad to say, it didn’t.  The book was fantastic, all the way through, with carefully layered jokes that readers could appreciate for different reasons.

So, naturally I was excited for the movie.  I was even more excited to learn I could watch it online at most of the streaming services that are popping up these days.   The movie starts out with the same enthusiasm, wit, and earnestness as the novel and after about 30 minutes of it, I was willing to go see it again in the theater later this month.JohnDiesPoster_620_103112 Unfortunately, about 20 minutes later I sort of changed my mind.  It’s not that the movie took a sudden turn for the worse, it didn’t.  It just sort of…lost it’s urgency.  Significant portions of the story had to be omitted, likely due to time constraints, and that hurt what could have otherwise been a real gem.

Don Cascarelli, famous for disturbingly weird Phantasm and snoozingly dull Bubba Ho-Tep made a good movie when he could have made a great one.  It’s worth checking out for the weird visuals and the excellent sets and costumes.