Don Coscarelli, the writer/director of the Phantasm films, The Beastmaster and the Bruce Campbell cult classic Bubba Ho-Tep, has been trying to get the latter film’s prequel, Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She-Vampires, off the ground for some time now, but Bruce Campbell’s departure from the project left the production in a sore spot. It was said that the film might shoot fall of last year, with Ron Perlman replacing Campbell as Elvis and Paul Giamatti co-starring as Colonel Tom Parker. Obviously that hasn’t happened yet, but curiously enough, Coscarelli and Giamatti are working together on another film—one which, much to my surprise, is currently in the midst of filming.

Hints of this can be seen on Coscarelli’s recently opened Twitter page (@DonCoscarelli), as he’s been leaving some nondescript messages about the production. Ain’t It Cool News elaborates on these, explaining that he’s at work on an adaptation of John Dies at the End, based on the horror/comedy novel written by Cracked.com’s David Wong. (If you’re not familiar with his work, be sure to check out his hilarious and often poignant articles.)

I’ve known for some time that Coscarelli has had the film rights to John Dies at the End (which he bought in 2007), but I had no idea it was so close to production. The book is startlingly effective and amusingly demented, frequently funny but with a real sense of terror that manages to creep into your psyche and put you on edge. And now with Giamatti on board, I’m positively pumped.

The premise, in as much as it can be easily summarized, follows “two twenty-something losers who gain extra sensory perception via a substance called Soy Sauce, a black liquid that acts like a potent drug, but seemingly has a mind of its own”. There’s a great deal more to it than that, but the thrill of the novel comes largely through the narration, which plays with the reader’s understanding of characters and exposition to hilarious effect. Coscarelli has his work cut out for him if he wishes to emulate the style cinematically, as I don’t think a simple voice over is gonna cut it.

Giamatti, who’s also serving as one of the producers of the film, plays “a reporter the lead character is telling his story to”. Also notable in the cast is Clancy Brown, playing a supernatural expert who has a great deal more experience combating the forces of evil than the know-nothing kids at the center of the story.

Ain’t It Cool additionally premiered the first image from the film, included below. A high res version can be found here.

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