Directed by Joe Dante. US. 1993. PG. 99 minutes. Universal. 35mm.
Sat., October 8, 2016
“Half Man…Half Ant… All Terror!” So declares the poster for Mant! the latest horror movie from schlock master Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman). Upon arriving in the panic-stricken Key West of October 1962, Woolsey meets first-generation monster kid Gene Loomis (Simon Fenton) and quickly becomes the boy’s mentor. While the master showman and his apprentice prepare to unveil Mant! at the local movie palace, the towns residents brace themselves for uncertainty. As the Cuban Missile Crisis unfolds, Woolsey realizes that his low-budget monster movies can’t compete with the real-life horrors of The Cold War.
Criminally ignored upon its release in 1993, Joe Dante’s coming-of-age comedy/drama has developed a fervent cult following over the past decade due in large part to a new generation of monster kids discovering the films and showmanship of B-movie maestro William Castle. Bolstered by an award-caliber performance by Goodman, Matinee also features fine supporting turns by Fenton, Cathy Moriarty, legendary writer/director John Sayles (in a rare acting role), and cult movie favorites Robert Picardo and Dick Miller.