1. It made me think about this brave new HD world we live in where directors, ones who don’t guarantee huge box office, can get their films in an actual movie theater for people to see. This was shot and cut and shipped digitally to the Atlanta Midtown Art Cinema for what will be a week long run, just long enough for the real freaks and die hards to come see it. That for me blows my mind. I am a believer that you never really have seen a film until you see it in a theater. Hats off to Magnet for putting this out, if only so people like me would go see it.
2. Paul Giovanni. I could watch Giovanni do this type of stuff for ever. The only time I was thrown off the Giovanni train was his “furrowed brow” performance of some evil English King in some Netflix medieval movie (exhaustively researched sentence). Other than that one movie, P-Gi runs the circus for me. First time I’ve been this devoted to an actor since Turturro and Buscemi hit the scene back in the 90s. And he is a total Coscarelli fanboy, producing this movie and being one of the rebel rousers for Bubba Nosferatu where he would play Colonel Tom Parker. Man I want to see that. If he did a movie with my favorite actress, Emily Mortimer, that would be on an internal loop in my house.
3. I have to say something about the digital stuff again. I am all about it, especially the colors maaaan, the colors. They are so vivid and gorgeous, I love’m. Other than that, we are dealing with something that is too perfect looking. I see so much detail in the frame; it can be rough to know what I’m supposed to look at. It’s too much info. I wish they could scale it back some. I get thrown by being able to see each individual pit on a cinderblock wall and every pour in an actor’s nose, not to mention them sweating through the makeup. This feels less like painting and more like pornography.
4. Wow! Coscarelli! Other directors take note. Cronenberg may be awesome and making movies for critics and grownups these days, but I am much more interested with what D-Cos has become. He is still pushing boundaries, still making interesting movies in our beloved genre, and doing it with an eye and certainty that these low budget movies rarely can afford. It was looking rough around the times of Phantasm 4, a cheap movie that was padded out with unused footage from the original. What an awesome bounce he is experiencing, starting with Bubba HoTep. With that movie, we have a precedence for our aging hero directors. Fans will follow them into unknown territory just so long as they retain their voice and keep their eyes intact. His movies now remind me of the Alive Pictures that Carpenter and Craven did in the late 80s, early 90s. Those were movies that had lower budgets, more directorial control. With Bubba and JDAE, Coscarelli has taken that model to the next level.
5. This felt very Phantasm to me. It dealt with alternate dimension invaders and followed dream logic. The two leads make some homemade weapons and there are evil doubles and what not. It was D-Cos mixing his Phantasm troupes into a new narrative and just making something new and cool. This had an energy and drive that was lacking in Bubba for me. This is the kind of movie I want from this dude. Double this movie up with Phantasm 2, and then invite me over and feed me.
6. A lot of credit has to go to the book. The author David Wong is getting a lot of praise from internet circles and if you do a Google search for “best new horror novels”, John Dies at the End is on all the lists that come up. His articles on Cracked.com are hysterical and so I’ll be grabbing the book soon. Didn’t read it before because it’s too much pressure on a movie to try to live up to your perception of the book. And movies always have a train to catch so they never spend enough time on the stuff I like, so whatever. The Shining, love that movie. Psycho, love that movie. But after reading the books I can’t help but feel the movies are weird little alternate dimensional visions of the story. I know Stephen King went back to “do the book”, but come on. The Wings guy? Are you serious? So now that I sound like one of those “not as good as the book” douches let’s move on.
7. Either you think women with missing limbs are hot or you don’t. I’m not going to make the argument here that you can’t have a truly beautiful house without a hole in the wall. That’s just an uphill fight, and you can’t make someone agree on that no matter what your logic is. All I’m saying is that when I see Fabianne Therese again in a movie, I’m going to be a little disappointed that she has all her limbs. Don’t look at me like that.
8. This movie has a really fun Ghostbusters seen through slacker vision vibe to it. The leads are a likable due that sort of shrug their way through the movie. I like the style. It is like the show Raising Hope where everyone has the “hey, we’re just acting here” attitude. We all know it’s just a movie/show/performance, and no one is trying to convince you otherwise.
9. So what are you going to do with these digital effects. Well, there is a lot of practical in here as well. So for the die hards you can latch on to that. The digital stuff here is pretty pretty Photoshop, not convincing at all (except for those flies, don’t watch the trailer, it gives away all the great effects and paints a bigger movie than it really is). It’s the concepts behind the effects that are strong enough that you can go with it. Think of this movie as an underground comic come to life and you’ll be fine. Sure the art may be primitive but the ideas are fresh.
10. At no point in this movie did I say, “oh I bet this is going to happen”. Never. The movie follows a train of thought for a bit and it seemed to psychically know when I was getting board because it would toss something at me that would make me laugh or go “ah-ha-clever” or through the plot into a totally different direction. So unpredictable, low budget, idea driven, horror, comedy, sci-fi, movie with Paul Giovanni. What do we have to do to entertain you people? Gawd!
SHOW STOPPER! How did this movie know I hated gnats? Thanks for that!
SHOW STOPPER 2!! Glynn Turnman as “Detective” and everything he says is gold. Again, don’t watch the trailer until after the movie.
SHOW STOPPER 3!!! The old mall location. Fantastic.
PAIRS WELL WITH: Phantasm 2, but I said that already.