Horror Society was on scene as I had the great pleasure of attending a screening of director Don Coscarelli’s (Phantasm 1-4, Bubba Ho-Tep) Chicago premiere of his latest film, John Dies at the End, with a bonus screening of Phantasm II to boot. What made this event even more special was that Coscarelli himself was on hand to introduce the film and do a Q & A’s afterwards. The screening was held at the famous Music Box Theater in Chicago, a classic style theater known as the premiere venue in Chicago for independent and foreign films.
For those of you unfamiliar with John Dies at the End, that needs to be rectified quickly, the film is available on VOD now and in select theaters nationwide.
Coscarelli is a great guy and very friendly with his fans. He held a very lively Q & A session between films where he answered questions about John Dies at the End as well as other films he’s done. The highlight of the Q & A session for me was when he was answering a question about Phantasm II, and went into a funny casting story of how he really wanted Michael Baldwin from the original Phantasm to reprise his role as Mike in the second film, but Universal had other ideas for the casting of the lead actor, which eventually went to James LeGros. A few years after the film was released, one of his producers asked if he remembered Brad Pitt reading for the role of Mike. Coscarelli admitted that he didn’t know or remember that Pitt had read, so he went back to look at the casting tapes and was shocked to see that Pitt did in fact read for that part. He stated that this was before Pitt’s star making turn in Thelma and Louise and hadn’t yet matured as an actor when he read, and Coscarelli felt he wasn’t right for the role. He laughed with the audience when he said that he should have cast the then unknown Brad Pitt, knowing how big of a star he is now. He answered questions about possible sequels to Bubba Ho-Tep and Phantasm which are the two main questions he always gets asked.
Coscarelli answered questions for about 25 minutes and then went into the lobby to talk with fans and sign autographs. He was gracious enough to talk with everyone who wanted to speak with him. I was able to talk one-on-one with Mr. Coscarelli and that interview will be coming soon, so keep an eye out for that.
John Dies at the End Plot Synopsis:
It’s all about the Soy Sauce, a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. Users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent, otherworldly invasion is under way, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John (Rob Mayes)and David (Chase Williamson), a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can’t.