Forgotten Zombie Horror Comedy Is The Most Surreal Head-Trip You’ll Ever See, Stream Now

By Jason Collins | Published

If your proverbial taste buds of content consumption are aching for something strange and quirky, John Dies at the End might be able to satiate your hunger, at least for a little while. This zombie comedy horror was based on David Wong’s novel of the same name and stars Chase Willaimson and Rob Mayes, along with Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman, Daniel Roebuck, and Doug Jones.

College Dropouts Enter The Multiverse

John Dies at the End follows two college dropouts, David and John, who are exposed to a strange, supposedly psychoactive substance known as “Soy Sauce,” which allows them to perceive an alternate reality and grants them various supernatural abilities. As a result, both Dave and John become involved in a battle against otherworldly forces that threaten humanity, and John dies, but not at the end of the movie, but rather somewhere around the midpoint. Except that he doesn’t die.

Dark Humor And Truly Bizarre Characters

The title of John Dies at the End is a playful misdirection that pairs well with its narrative’s overall absurdity and unpredictability. One of the main characters of the movie doesn’t die; his apparent death is due to the effects of Soy Sauce. Regardless, the movie features a blend of dark humor, surreal situations, and bizarre creatures, making watching a rather unique and unpredictable experience that won’t leave you any smarter—just more entertained.

Originally A Web-Based Serial

However, the movie isn’t just a gelatinous mass of content given form and structure. It explores themes of reality, identity, and the nature of existence, but it does so under the guise of over-the-top, gross, and equally funny comedy horror. As stated above, John Dies at the End is based upon the same-name novel, initially published online as a web serial beginning in 2001, evolving into an edited manuscript in 2004 and a printed paperback in 2007. Interestingly enough, we can easily compare it to 50 Shades of Grey since it’s also an exercise in marketing.

Another Independant E-Book To Hollywood Success

fifty shades of grey

Namely, the author of Fifty Shades, E. L. James, was already a prominent writer of Twilight erotic fan fiction whose work helped her develop a massive following online. She then took her work, reshaped it into Fifty Shades, and released the first book as an e-book with print-on-demand. Considering that she already had an established following, the books sold faster than hotcakes at a Sunday morning brunch. Well, the same thing happened with John Dies at the End novel.

Streaming Today

It was read by approximately 70,000 people before the free versions were removed ahead of the official publication, which only boosted the novel’s sales and its adaptation into the movie we’re currently discussing—a prime example of viral marketing. Whatever the case, John Dies at the End was a moderate success with the critics and the audiences. It premiered on VOD in December 2012 before receiving a limited, US-only theatrical run.

Those interested in watching John Dies at the End can stream the movie on Prime Video or rent it on AppleTV.