Don’t believe the title. John actually refuses to die. Director Don Coscarelli’s fantasy-horror-comedy John Dies at the End has been working the film festival circuit hard since January, when it premiered at Sundance to relative raves. The film was acquired by Magnolia Pictures, and is eyeing an early 2013 release. Until then, we have a new poster, which plays up the offbeat elements of the movie (and de-emphasizes “The Bible Belter,” a spiked bat that was front and center on some of the earlier marketing materials).

Here’s the new poster, courtesy of

Sadly, I’ve had multiple opportunities to see John Dies at the End at different festivals, most recently in Toronto, where it played as part of Midnight Madness. I always seemed to put it on the backburner, despite the positive reviews I’d heard about John and my overall appreciation of Coscarelli’s work. The director’s credits include four Phantasm films, The Beastmaster and the unforgettable Bubba Ho-Tep (to which he’s currently planning a sequel).

The plot of John Dies sounds equally bizarre, with users abusing a new drug called Soy Sauce, which somehow is opening up a portal to a spiritual revolution. Two college dropouts named John (Rob Mayes) and David (Chase Williamson) – and, presumably, their dog – are humanity’s last, best shot. Only, they are destined to fail. It says so in the title.

Look for John Dies early next year. Count on it making its way to On Demand and possibly Netflix Instant quickly after. It just seems like one of those films we’ll be enjoying late at night, with a house full of friends, and a fridge full of beers.

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