Fantastic Fest: Don Coscarelli Previews 'John Dies at the End' Footage
by Alex Billington
September 26, 2011
Are you ready to taste the new Soy Sauce? Last night at Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX, just before a showing of Penumbra, filmmaker Don Coscarelli (of Phantasm, The Beastmaster, Survival Quest, Bubba Ho-Tep) introduced an exclusive first look clip and early look at the teaser trailer for John Dies at the End, his crazy new horror film that he already shot late last year. He's still editing and finishing, but as a first look it was quite wild, and Soy Sauce is definitely a key component. Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown and Doug Jones all co-star in the film, which I could describe as a drug-induced, throwback horror, mind-trip thriller.
John Dies at the End is originally based on David Wong's novel and it's truly a bit of a challenge to describe, especially from the brief glimpse we saw. In addition to Giamatti, Brown and Jones, this also stars young newcomers Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes (Sorority Wars) as the actual leads. Our own Jeremy Kirk does a much better job of describing what we saw and what this new wacky horror
is (might?) be about.
Jeremy's (@JeremyKKirk) Thoughts: John Dies at the End looks like a soy sauce bottle filled with insanity. Loaded with gory monsters, crazy-as-hell characters, and a premise that plays around in your brain like a burrowing insect—full disclosure, we're still not positive what this movie is really about—Coscarelli looks to be returning with yet another mind-screw of a film. A Naked Lunch-esque update with bugs, drugs, and thugs. Thugs being giant Lovecraft-like monsters, but I needed a rhyme. But that's from the teaser trailer we were subjected to at the end of the clip.
Before that we saw a clip revolving around Dave (Williamson) dealing with the nefarious-looking Roger North, played by the creepy stick figure Doug Jones. The scene is unnerving with David having to handle driving a vehicle while North toys with him from the back seat. There's also some kind of tentacle creature latched to David's chest, a clear indication that Coscarelli has turned the weirdness dial way up in even this. It's effective and strange and gives a good indication of the oddities in every scene we're due for.
Speaking of this Soy Sauce, which we saw in the footage as a dark liquid being taken in needle form, on our way out we were given early t-shirts for the film. Guess what's on them? Soy Sauce bottles, complete with "John Dies at the End" text instead - pretty nifty (see photo below). Our original description for this said it was about two twenty-something losers who gain extra sensory perception via a substance called Soy Sauce, a black liquid that acts like a potent drug, but seemingly has a mind of its own. They see a lot of crazy shit: "mustaches ripping off of people's faces, a monster made of cold cuts and that's just the tip of the iceberg."
That crazy mask in the photo above was also in teaser, but we have no clue why or what or any of that, but suffice it to say, if you've seen any of Don Coscarelli's films, you know to expect any-and-everything. The little creature that Doug Jones attaches to the guy's chest reminded me of something out of Deadly Spawn. Coscarelli said that the film is roughly 50% practical effects, 50% CGI, but a lot of what we saw was practical and while it looked like throwback horror, it looked like it was all in there to make this into a very unique, wild, wacky, unforgettable genre/horror flick that I hope we'll be seeing at Fantastic Fest 2012 (or earlier!).