A showman introduces a small coastal town to a unique movie experience and capitalises on the Cuban Missile crisis hysteria with a kitschy horror extravaganza combining film effects, stage props and actors in rubber suits in this salute to the B-movie.Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
The original screenplay by Jerico Stone was very different than the final product. According to director Joe Dante, Jerico's take was more of a fantasy. It was set in an old movie theater at a matinee, and the movie Mant! is the movie that's showing. The characters are all the kids in the neighborhood and it's all about how they imagine that the theater is a sort of phantasmagoria of scary matrons, vampire projectionists, things like that. At the end of the movie the kids, now grown up, have a reunion at the theater only to find it's become a video store. See more »
During the phone call between Sherry and Stan, we can hear 'The End of the World' by Skeeter Davis playing in the background. The record was not released until December 1962, two months after the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis. See more »
'Matinee' is light-hearted fare, sure, but lots of fun for movie buffs who love b-grade 1950s and 1960s monster movies.
I have a lot of time for Joe Dante. Most of his movies are fairly light-hearted, nostalgic fare aimed at kids or the young at heart, but unlike his occasional collaborator Steven Spielberg he really pulls it off convincingly without getting too sentimental and treacly, and always has enough in-jokes and references in his movies to amuse diehard science fiction and horror film buffs. Dante is a BIG fan of film makers like Roger Corman (who gave him his big break), William Castle (a major inspiration for 'Matinee') and Mario Bava, while one has to wonder if Spielberg even knows who they are. 'Matinee' is a slight, but very entertaining picture, concerning b-grade 50s/60s horror movies, and fans of that era will absolutely love it. John Goodman ('The Big Lebowski') plays flamboyant writer/director Lawrence Woolsey. Woolsey's gimmicks and showmanship are inspired by William Castle ('The Tingler', '13 Ghosts', 'House On Haunted Hill',etc.etc.) though the fictional movie 'Mant' which is part of the plot is quite unlike Castle's output and closer to 50s paranoid monster movies like 'Them!' and 'Tarantula'. Goodman is perfectly cast and loads of fun. I also really liked Cathy Moriarty ('Raging Bull') as Woolsey's leading actress/assistant. The chemistry between the two was enjoyable and made for some nice comic touches. The young kid actors were all pretty good, and Dante regulars Dick Miller ('A Bucket Of Blood'), Kevin McCarthy ('Invasion Of The Body Snatchers'), Robert Picardo ('Star Trek Voyager') and William Schallert ('The Incredible Shrinking Man') seem like they are all having a wonderful time. Trivia buffs note that this movie includes an actor from 'The Thing From Another World' (Robert Cornthwaite) and also one from John Carpenter's remake 'The Thing' (David Clennon'). The movie within the movie 'Mant' is hilarious, but I enjoyed the whole thing. 'Matinee' is another fun movie from the underrated Joe Dante.
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