Thursday, November 05, 2015

Gone Girl redux, plus David Wong's This Book is Full of Spiders

I watched Gone Girl again last night (signing it out of the library, once again happy to have done nothing to generate money for the film, which I find somewhat offensive). I liked it better on second viewing, appreciating Fincher's craft, but still agree with my earlier assessment, that it is ultimately a misogynist, audience-insulting film that cheats in a few key areas and squanders its most inspired and interesting material. It also seemed really, really cynical about relationships in a way that I am, as yet, not. Oddly enough, my girlfriend seemed to like it more than I did. I'm really not sure what that means.
Also, I just finished (and highly recommend) This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It, which is the sequel to John Dies at the End,  which was adapted into a very entertaining film by Don "Phantasm" Coscarelli. Both books are by Jason Pargin, of - a site I sometimes find myself on; he writes under the pen name (and the name of his main character) David Wong. Happy to report that This Book is Full of Spiders is in every way a worthy follow up to the earlier novel; it is perhaps a little less trippy, perhaps a little more straightforward - a good portion of it resembles a zombie outbreak narrative - but it also, at times, seems more willing to assume some mantle of responsibility for being about something. I remember thinking after closing John Dies at the End, which I also loved, that, in fact, under much obfuscation, weird humour, and general mindfuckery, there was actually a theme buried somewhere, some level of significant and piquant meaning which attentive/ observant/ intelligent/ determined readers could attempt to ferret out if they had a lot of free time or were needing material for a thesis. There is still plenty of obfuscation, weird humour, and general mindfuckery in This Book is Full of Spiders - these are probably the most whacked-out, ridiculous, absurdly entertaining novels I've read since my Robert Anton Wilson phase, in my 20's - but there are also real-world references to interesting/ significant concepts like Dunbar's number, which seems to serve as a kind of Allen key to accessing the thematic material contained in the novel.

I'm still not sure I understand that thematic material - I'm a bit relieved that there is no demand on me to sort it all out - but it's interesting that it lies closer to the surface this time. In a way, it is the most philosophical zombie book ever written, if, in fact, it is a zombie book. Plus the book is a bit darker and sicker than the earlier one, which is a bit of an accomplishment unto itself.

By the way, there is actually a trailer for This Book is Full of Spiders, here. I wonder who directed it?

1 comment:

Allan MacInnis said...

And for those of you whose thought on reading Don Coscarelli's name was, "Where the hell is the new Phantasm movie, anyhow?" we have this: