Tag Archives: Jason Pargin

John Dies at the End Vegan Chocolate Soy Sauce Cupcakes

John Dies at the End Vegan Chocolate Soy Sauce Cupcakes

Before I do anything else, maybe I should explain the title of this post. John Dies at the End is a great comedic horror novel written by David Wong, a pseudonym for Jason Pargin. It got more attention when it became a movie, although the general public probably isn’t aware of it. You should be though, because it’s really fun. (And really, the novel is so much better. Go read it!)

On October 14, the John Dies at the End Facebook page linked to this recipe for Vegan Chocolate Soy Sauce Cupcakes inspired by the book/movie. In the novel, there’s a street drug that’s called Soy Sauce because it’s black like soy sauce. It kills most people who come into contact with it, but it also gives some “lucky” individuals the ability to see things that most can only see out of the corners of their eyes – shadow men, monsters, etc.

The recipe does actually use a bit of soy sauce, but I suspect the tiny amount was really just an excuse to tie the cupcakes to John Dies at the End. That’s okay with me.

John Dies at the End Vegan Chocolate Soy Sauce Cupcakes

Sorry for the terrible iPhone photography. I’d never really baked besides ruining some pies with a friend back in high school, so I decided to take a try at it. There’s chocolate on top of the cupcake, but you can’t really see it under the delicious raspberry sauce. They turned out really well. They weren’t necessarily amazing, but I was very happy with them, and they were fun to make.

John Dies at the End Vegan Chocolate Soy Sauce Cupcakes

This also reminded me that the sequel, This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously Dude, Don’t Touch It, was released slightly over a year ago. Why had I never read it if I loved the original so much? I don’t know, so I bought it and read it. I prefer the first, but the second was great as well. I hope we see a film adaptation of this as well as more novels in the future.

John Dies at the End the movie: Great casting but rushed plot, 7/10

Having read the novel, I had some prior expectations about the movie. I tried to judge the movie solely on itself, but it’s hard to shake what I knew.

Have you ever seen something out of the corner of your eye late at night, but when you turn to look, nothing’s there? What if something really was there, and you gained the ability to see those beings? That’s what John Dies at the End is about – being able to see those creepy things in the night!

John Dies at the End is told mostly as a story as the main character, Dave, recounts his adventures to a journalist. Those scenes were fantastic. While the setting of the odd Chinese restaurant was a part of this, the character of Arnie was more responsible. Paul Giamatti plays Arnie Blondestone, and he’s absolutely perfect for the role. He seems so unimposing and a bit bland while at the same time just a tad odd, which is perfect for the character.

On the subject of casting and acting, all the characters were cast well. Chase Williamson is great as Dave, Rob Mayes plays a good, aloof John (although he looks tougher than I expected), and Clancy Brown is great as Dr. Albert Marconi.

Many things have changed from the book, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The story has been greatly condensed with some subplots ignored, some characters removed (or merged), and, unfortunately, some important details missing. While the initial setup and development is great in the first half of the movie even with the condensation, the latter half of the film suffers. There doesn’t seem to be enough justification for the characters’ actions. Things happen very suddenly at the end, and while some of the changes from the book are fun, it still feels incomplete.

Despite a rushed plot, John Dies at the End was still a terrific movie for people who like slightly cheesy sci-fi or horror films. While I complained about the rushed plot, it’s probably not as noticeable to someone who hadn’t read the book. John Dies at the End is probably best enjoyed late at night when you’re liable to see things in the shadows!

John Dies at the End

Last week I finished John Dies at the End by David Wong (a pseudonym of Jason Pargin), a comedy horror novel about Dave and John, two losers who end up being forced to be heroes. While going through three major arcs, the idea behind the book is best explained by the setup of the first arc. There’s a drug called Soy Sauce that gives people incredibly heightened senses. Users can practically read minds based on observable clues (similar to the crumb of cake in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). The side-effect to Soy Sauce is that it gives you the ability to see things related to the paranormal. These things, presumably, are around us but not normally visible.Because John and Dave are the only ones able to interact with this other layer of reality, it’s up to them to stop the big bad guys.

I’ve never really read any horror novels, so I’m not sure how to compare it. There are movies that would freak me out to read alone, but I don’t think the book would really do that to me. However, I guess I was always reading it with people around or in broad daylight on the street. (I like to read while walking.) The humor probably helps, especially because it isn’t very intellectual humor. The story is told by Dave while John can act very immature, reciting puns in the face of mortal danger and always being quick to make a penis joke. Still, I will admit to getting a little freaked thinking about the book when alone and in the dark. Then again, that happens to me anyways.

For the first half of the book (or maybe more), the novel seems incredibly disjointed. The novel not only has Dave jumping around as he tells it, but there’s are scenes at the beginning and end that exist outside of his retelling as well. By the end of the novel, it really does come together. That doesn’t mean that all questions are answered, however. Many answers are supplied, some are suggested, and others remain. I guess you could consider that appropriate in a tale of so many paranormal subjects.

Remember what I was saying about the humor? Here’s a link.

Fuck that idea like the fucking captain of the Thai Fuck Team fucking at the fucking Tour de Fuck.

A movie based on the novel was recently released on some digital distribution networks with a limited theater release later this month. In addition, a sequel is also available called This Book Is Full Of Spiders: Seriously Dude, Don’t Touch It that was released in October. I found the book very engaging and funny with a ton of crazy one-liners. Surprisingly, some of the paranormal ideas seemed incredibly interesting to me as well. I gave the novel a five out of five on Goodreads.