Back in early 2008, Don Coscarelli took the rights to adapt David Wong’s novel John Dies at the End into a feature film. Skip forward over two years and, in recent days, he took to Twitter and began sharing:
Writing from an undisclosed location.
Most only ride in a hearse once. Some are luckier.
Grammy winner Angus Scrimm an Elvis fan? Who would’ve thunk?
And, at the time of my writing, that’s all he’s offered us. But those few tweets were enough for speculation to flare up, and pretty soon rumours began circling the internet that Coscarelli was working on Phantasm 5.
But none of that speculation was right and now we know, courtesy of Aint It Cool, that Coscarelli is currently shooting his film of John Dies at the End. Which is why, of course I mentioned it in the first sentence (and besides, you saw the headline – you already know one of the actors who will be in the film and I’m only just getting around to admitting that the film exists). Seems only fitting to come running in with a spoiler when talking about a film with this title, anyway.
The novel’s premise is something like this: a new drug has the street name of Soy Sauce. It’s quite literally a gateway drug, as users go off on strange trips across space, time and other, less friendly dimensions. But they’re not coming back the same. They’re coming back changed. Two young guys, Dave and John, use the drug to enhance their perception and gain paranormal sensory enhancement, and through circumstances too elaborate to spoil for you here, end up being pitted against evil forces that threaten our world.
Actually, that barely scratches the surface of it.
Neither Paul Giamatti’s character nor the role given to Clancy Brown had any part in my basic synopsis, so here’s more info from Aint it Cool:
Giamatti plays a reporter the lead character is telling his story to and Brown is a supernatural expert who really knows what he’s doing, not like the clueless kids trying to fight the forces of evil… The two leads are played by newcomers Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes.
Giamatti and Brown, you may recall, are also playing lead roles in the upcoming Goon toon. Giamatti has been expected to collaborate with Coscarelli for some time, playing the choice role of Colonel Tom Parker in Bubba Nosferatu, and he’s also the producer of John Dies. They clearly get along.
The Aint It Cool report was rounded out with an image, which you can see at the head of the page. Lovely helmet – part bug’s carapace, part skull. You can click on it to enlarge it significantly.
For many years, John Dies was available online for free, though since late September, it’s only been available if you pay for it (or, I suppose, steal it). For those many years of free access, however, the novel was attracting a snowballing audience and I won’t be surprised to see this expansive fan base translate into an instant cult for the film.