Charming...Nostalgic...But With Bite!!!
Joe Dante’s loving tribute to 1950s monster movies set against the backdrop of the Cuban missile crisis gets a dual format UK DVD & Blu-ray release from Arrow.
Key West, October 1962. While the threat of nuclear war begins to loom large, a local cinema is preparing for a very special event. Cigar-chomping shlock-horror specialist Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman) is coming to town to make a personal appearance and introduce his latest gimmick-filled black and white horror sensation, Mant!
Young Gene Loomis (Simon Fenton) has just moved to the local military base and his father has been posted overseas to take part in defending the US against potential soviet threat. He and his younger brother Dennis (Jesse Le Soffer) love monster movies, and now that their father’s life may be in peril they need the solace of a good scare more than ever. And so, it seems, does the rest of the town. As a packed audience sits down to enjoy Mr Woolsey’s latest, complete with electric shock seating and ‘Rumble-rama’, the show promises to be just the experience to help them cope with the life-changing events going on in the world outside.
Joe Dante has always been a clever, witty and subversive film-maker, and MATINEE is one of the best of his films to display these talents. His love for the cinema of the period means that Mant!, our film-within-a-film is spot-on for a 1950s monster movie (cinema had moved on to other things by 1962). Of course, 1962 was when the career of the mighty William Castle, the exploitation maestro upon whom John Goodman’s character is based, was just getting going. Castle never made a monster movie as such but if he had one imagines Mant! would have been just the thing, ‘Rumble-rama’ and all.
As usual, Dante is aided in his storytelling by a cast of familiar faces (Robert Picardo, Dick Miller, Belinda Balaski and John Sayles among them) as well as, of course, John Goodman, who’s just excellent as the huckster with a heart of gold who genuinely believes his pictures are good for people (which, of course, they are!).
Arrow’s Blu-ray gives us a nice, bright transfer. There’s no commentary track but there is a host of extras, some ported over from previous releases, including the full, uncut 20 minute movie version of Mant!, plus an introduction from Joe and a Mant! trailer.Best of the extras is a new set of interviews with Dante and his ‘repertory company’. You also get a making of, on set footage, deleted and extended scenes, the original electronic press kit and a trailer, plus a Graham Humphreys cover. As with so many Arrow releases, this is the best presentation of MATINEE out there. Excellent stuff and well worth getting.
Joe Dante's MATINEE is out on dual format DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 12th September 2016