What parents need to know

Parents need to know that John Dies at the End is a horror/fantasy movie from cult director Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep) that's based on a 2007 cult novel by David Wong. It's an endlessly trippy, oddball experience about a fictitious street drug called "soy sauce" that lets users "see" things. Side effects and withdrawal from the drug are discussed. Bloody, gory fantasy violence is a major issue, with severed limbs, exploding eyes, strange creatures, guns and shooting, and ripped-up body parts (victims include children). Language is also very strong, with occasional torrents of "f--k" and "s--t," as well as other offensive terms. During one climactic sequence, the movie shows a huge group of topless (masked) women, lingering on them for several minutes. This is the kind of underground movie that certain teens won't be able to resist.
  • Families can talk about John Dies at the End's bloody, gory, over-the-top violence. What effect does it have? Does the movie cross the line? If so, where/how?
  • Would you consider this a horror movie? Is it scary? Which parts are scary as opposed to funny?
  • What does it mean to be a "cult" movie or novel? What's the appeal of this strange, off-kilter style of writing and filmmaking?
  • How much does it matter if John Dies at the End has a "logical" plot that can be easily followed? Can it be enjoyable otherwise?
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