A genuine love for B cinema informs all the work of director Joe Dante, from his own Roger Corman-produced cheapies through the GREMLINS films. This affection finds its purest expression in MATINEE, an affectionate homage to the "creature features" of the 50s and 60s.
The story is set in Key West, Florida, in October 1962, just before and during the Cuban missile crisis. Teenager Gene Loomis (Simon Fenton) lives with his mother (Lucinda Jenney) and brother Dennis (Jesse Lee) on a Naval base; his dad is serving on one of the US ships blockading Cuba. Mass
destruction looms, but Gene's preoccupied with the imminent arrival in town of his idol, horror filmmaker Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman). A master showman, Woolsey plans to hold a preview in Key West of his new chiller, MANT ("Half Man, Half Ant, All Terror!"), in Atomo-Vision and Rumble-Rama.
MATINEE succeeds above all as an enjoyable tribute to the monster movies of yesteryear, not only in the way its young characters are enthralled by the promise of MANT's terrors, but in the clips of MANT itself that appear throughout the film. Cast with numerous (sadly uncredited) '50s
creature-feature veterans like Kenneth Tobey and William Schallert, MANT is a perfect evocation of those cheesy science fiction thrillers in which atomic radiation turned humans into insectoid mutants. MATINEE has a surfeit of characters and climaxes, but these are compensated by many great
moments and a terrific central theme: the juxtaposition of the real-life terrors of the Cold War with the cinematic horrors that reduced the nuclear threat to something outlandish and thus safely entertaining.
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: PG
- Review: A genuine love for B cinema informs all the work of director Joe Dante, from his own Roger Corman-produced cheapies through the GREMLINS films. This affection finds its purest expression in MATINEE, an affectionate homage to the "creature features" of the… (more)