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Baker's Dozen

A Cinema Baker's Dozen: Phantasm Director Don Coscarelli's Favourite Films
Mat Colegate , February 14th, 2014 05:58

Mat Colegate asks the director of Phantasm, Bubba Ho Tep and the recently released John Dies At The End to pick a Baker's Dozen of his favourite films

In 2005, when director Mick Garris began assembling contributors for the Masters Of Horror series of short films to be aired weekly on Showtime in the States, Don Coscarelli was an obvious choice for inclusion. Due in a large part to his role as director of the Phantasm series of movies, Coscarelli's has become a name worthy of being mentioned alongside the great auteurs of horror such as John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon and Larry Cohen.

What he shares with these directors, alongside an obvious relish for the strange and uncanny that's reflected several times in his choices below, is a devil-may-care approach to following his own vision at any cost (and often lack of it) and a willingness to follow his muse down some extremely unlikely avenues. What separates him from his contemporaries, however, is his dreamlike approach to narrative construction and the muted, nightmarish ambience that often permeates his films. It's an approach that has paid off again with his latest film John Dies At The End, an adaptation of David Wong's novel that's finally out on Blu-ray and DVD now. Coming across like a frenzied mash up of Dude, Where's My Car? and The Illuminatus Trilogy, John Dies At The End carries on and fulfils all the criteria one has come to expect from a Coscarelli production: bizarre non-linear narrative construction, lashings of oddball humour and lots and lots of gore.

Don took time out to talk to me during what was a beautiful Los Angeles morning for him and a sullen rainy London night for me, and to pick out a Baker's Dozen of the movies that have fed into his fertile, restless imagination, an exercise that he admitted was not without its difficulties: "I have regrets for not being able to include some great directors. Cronenberg, De Palma, even Truffaut didn't make the list! I love Les Yeaux Sans Visage, there's a Richard Lester movie called Petulia which I'm a huge fan of... Dont Look Now, Body Heat... I had to narrow it down and I decided that I had to go with movies that I just enjoyed watching. These are the movies that I could watch at any time of the day from start to finish."

John Dies At The End is out on Blu-Ray and DVD now. Click on the images below to start the slideshow