Tuesday, January 4, 2011

John Dies At The End

Every so often, you find a title for a work that really grabs you. You're not sure how or when, but in some way or another, you have to read/watch/listen to this thing. To me, the book John Dies At The End was an example of such a title. It was a ballsy move, I figured, spoiling the ending in the title, but there probably was some sort of postmodernistic point to be made, unless it turned out to be a lie, which I figure it might have been, of course, that'd also be some sort of postmodern brouhaha, so there's little escaping that. At any rate, some spoilers here.

John Dies At The End is about John, whose prospects of the future, on account of the title, are rather grim, and David, two college dropouts who get in way above their heads when they take an odd drug called Soy Sauce. The drug gives them supernaturally keen perceptive abilities and discover that, indeed, there are things that go bump in the night, and a lot of those things want to mess Earth's shit up because, as mentioned earlier, beings from another world are usually dicks.

Maybe one of the most striking things with this book is how it treats humor and horror, two things that not always goes together. Many works of horror takes themselves too seriously, and, has been observed, thus usually become the bigger joke. See 90% of all the slashers in the history of ever. John Dies At The End, though, demonstrates that a work can both be genuinely funny and genuinely terrifying. This is mostly on account of the narrator and the titular character being... well rather funny, and the things they face actually being genuinely terrifying.

Oh yes, we're talking Lovecraftian horror here today, and interestingly enough, the author keeps it varied. Sure, the multiple villains might give the book a bit of an anthology feel to it, but there's several things tying the plot-lines together, amongst others a bit of a murder mystery that I, for one, found very refreshing, although the way it slides into the background kinda bothers me. Then again, you're dealing with dimension-spanning baddies and horrors scarcely describable by us squishy humans, a dead body in your shed isn't your highest priority, although by the end it might have been a good thing to focus on, but that's me.

From what I hear, Don Coscarelli, B-Movie master, creator of Phantasm and Bubba Ho-Tep, is making a movie of this book. I'm not usually optimistic about all that many things, but this could really fit. Phantasm is somewhat similar to JDATE in several ways, sans the fact that the latter sort of made sense in the end, whereas Phantasm made increasingly less sense until Phantasm 3 left me as one big O.o. From what I hear, the fourth one didn't exactly help matters.  So, we'll see at any rate, unless the production goes to shit in style of the World War Z movie, where the studios apparently got nervous when the script was leaked. Kinda odd, since it's based on a book, but there you go.

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