Matinee is an intelligent, moving and under-appreciated comedy directed by Joe Dante in 1993. Set in Key West (just the other side of water from Cuba) at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis (October 1962), it features John Goodman as well-known exploitation producer/promoter, Lawrence Woolsey — who is in all but name a stand-in for gimmick-driven filmmaker/promoter, William Castle. Woolsey has come to Key West for the premiere showing of his latest monster picture, Mant! and Matinee cross-cuts between the real-world crisis and the coming-of-age adventures of monster film-fan Gene Loomis (Simon Fenton) in his quest to meet his idol, creating a poignant sense of the end-of-innocence world of the time and making powerful comment on the connection between the real and the celluloid worlds in which Gene and his mates live.
As part of Matinee! we get to see a preview of the film that Woolsey has come to premiere. Mant! is about a man-ant hybrid created through the misuse of atomic power and is full of the bad science, bad writing, bad gimmicks and stereotypical characters that populated 1950s-1960s exploitation scifi pictures, especially those of William Castle. Dante’s parody of the form is spot on. Here is the preview that we see as part of Matinee:
As this weekend’s Fright Flick Undead Backbrain presents Mant! — all 16 minutes of it, in two parts and in Atomo-Vision!
Half man… half ant…. all terror!
Mant! Part 1:
Mant! Part 2:
Thanks to Robin Pen!