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Treat yourself to the “Matinee: Collector’s Edition” from Shout!

Updated: Jun 23


John Goodman stars as B-budget filmmaker/master pitchman Lawrence Woolsey, who rolls into Key West, Fla. with his latest-greatest film “Mant!” “Half Man … Half Ant … All Terror!!!” His girlfriend and leading lady Ruth Coreday, played by Cathy Moriarty, puts on a nurse’s uniform and has moviegoers sign consent forms promising not to sue should they faint. (2) A scene from the black and white “Mant!” as Moriarty plays Carole the wife of the Half Man-Half Ant.

(Click an image to scroll the larger versions)



4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray; 1993; PG for mild profanity, violence and sensuality


Best extra: The new commentary with film critics Drew McWeeny and Eric Vespe


OVER THE last thirty-plus years Joe Dante’s “Matinee” has gotten finer and sweeter, making it a favorite with home video boutiques.

First, Arrow Video, based in the U.K., released Universal Studios’ 1993 coming-of-age/Cold War film on Blu-ray in 2016, with a boatload of extras.

Two years later Shout! Studios released its stateside version with many of the same extras plus new ones. Even so, both 1080p discs suffered from oversaturated colors, and edge enhancement; also, the old 2K master lacked clarity, especially with Dante’s abundance of wide shots.

(1) Woolsey and Coreday drive their red Cadillac down the Florida Keys in October 1962, for the world premiere of “Mant!” (2) The Loomis family watches President John F. Kennedy address the country with the news of the Cuban Missile Crisis. (3) Gene Loomis (Simon Fenton) and his young brother Dennis (Jesse Lee) share a bedroom. (4&5) Students practice the duck and cover atomic bomb drill, while Sandra (Lisa Jakub) protests the drill.



FINALLY, Universal and Shout! has produced a meticulous 4K restoration of “Matinee,” supervised by Dante, and sourced from the original 35mm camera negative (1.85:1 aspect ratio) with HDR10 and Dolby Vision grading. Facial toning is natural, removing the excess reddish tone, with overall colors balanced. Wide shots have been given new life, as if a veil had been removed providing unmatched clarity. A nice wash of natural film grain keeps everything cinematic.


The 4K video was encoded onto the smaller 66-gigabit disc and consistently runs in the 60 Megabits per second range, with a peak HDR10 brightness of 917 nits and averages of 558 nit.


The enclosed Blu-ray was also sourced from the new 4K master, giving it a much-needed facelift in clarity, and in the SDR/Rec.709 color space. 


In addition, the 4K gets a new Dolby Atmos soundtrack, delivering a much wider soundstage showcasing clear dialogue, explosive sound effects, and added breathing room for the score, courtesy of the late, great Jerry Goldsmith (“Star Trek,” “Chinatown”).  

(1) Kellie Martin stars as the upbeat Sherry, the former girlfriend of rebel Harvey Starkweather (James Villemaire) (2) The military force Gene and his best friend Stan (Omri Katz) to stay away from the beach. (3) Long-time character actor Dick Miller plays Herb Denning, a paid Woolsey rabble-rouser to inflame the locals. (4) Harvey threatens Stan to stay away from Sherry. (5) The grocery store is overrun by residents as a Nuclear War looms on the horizon.

IN 2018, our reviewer Craig Shapiro said, watching “Matinee” took him back more years than he liked to admit.


“It was the early ‘70s, I was in London and went to see “The Three Musketeers,” the Richard Lester version starring Oliver Reed and Michael York. It was playing at what can only be called a palace, and the audience was into it from the start. When the Musketeers arrived to save the day, the full house erupted. What an experience.


That’s what director Joe Dante was talking about when he was asked about “Matinee,” during the featurette “Master of The ‘Matinee.’”


“[It’s] a paean to the days when it was fun to go to the movies and I miss those days,” Dante said. “I’m sorry that kids today don’t have the experience that we did … Going to the movies is sort of like going to church for me. We got cartoons, we got newsreels … we got a lot of stuff. Now all you get is ads and trailers.”


If you miss those days, too – or even if you weren’t around – then file “Matinee” under Must-See. One more reason: Dante is the mischief-maker responsible for “Piranha,” “The Howling,” “Gremlins” and “Gremlins 2.” This loving nostalgia-fest is right in his wheelhouse.

(1) The historic Cocoa Village Playhouse subs for the Key West Strand Theater. (2) Gene signs a consent form for himself and his brother. (3&4) The interior of the movie theater was built on a soundstage at Universal Studios in Orlando.The Loomis brothers seat with Sandra, while Woolsey and theater owner Mr. Spector (Jesse White) get a laugh when everyone gets an electrical shock from their seats. (5&6) The Half Man-Half Ant, reveals himself to his dentist, and now supersized he climbs a building, as Gen. Ankum (Kevin McCarthy, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” 1956) beseeches him, “Come down off that building! We have sugar for you!”


Set in Key West, Fla., during the Cuban Missile Crisis, B-budget filmmaker/master pitchman Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman, all those Coen brothers movies) senses an opportunity. He can use the prevailing unease to sell his latest epic, “Mant!” “Half Man … Half Ant … All Terror!!!” the ads scream. Who could resist? 


Woolsey is modeled after William Castle, the legendary 1950s/‘60s producer and director who rigged seats to buzz during “The Tingler,” promised refunds to anyone who couldn’t make it through “Homicidal” and offered life insurance policies to those who might be frightened to death by “Macabre.” (Footnote: If you’ve never read Castle’s memoir, “Step Right Up! I’m Gonna Scare the Pants Off America,” you owe it to yourself.) Goodman is perfect.


Cathy Moriarty is his girlfriend/leading lady who puts on a nurse’s uniform and has moviegoers sign consent forms promising not to sue should they faint. Lisa Jakub, Kellie Martin and British actor Simon Fenton are the local teens dealing with their own crises as the premiere approaches. Look closely and you’ll spot Naomi Watts (“Mulholland Drive”) and writer/director John Sayles (“Matewan”).



Shout! carried over its full menu of 2018 extras – some two hours of fun interviews with Dante, Moriarty, Jakub, cinematographer John Hora, production designer Steve Legler, and Mant designer Jim McPherson and performer Mark McCracken.


This time, Shout! has commissioned a new commentary (4K & Blu-ray) with film critics Drew McWeeny and Eric Vespe, who consider Dante one of the first movie geeks, “who loves it and breaths.” They both praise Dante’s “The Movie Orgy” (2009), originally a seven-hour edit, cut to five hours as a ‘pop culture collage’ of ‘50s B-movies, TV shows, and commercials, crudely spliced together without mixing, or color correction into a documentary of aliens and monsters attacking the U.S. He first took the “anti-establishment/military” movie to college campuses in the 1960s, sponsored by Schlitz Beer, who handed out free beer.


There are new interviews with co-stars Kellie Martin titled “Florida Daydream” and David Clennon’s “Cold War Thing.” Martin, who’s surprisingly nearly 50, recalls her audition and screen test – beating out Reese Witherspoon and Claire Danes – to play teenager Sherry. “Matinee” was filmed in Florida in late spring, which was perfect for Martin, who was on a break as Becca Thatcher on the ABC TV series “Life Goes On.”


At the time, Clennon was two years removed from his role as advertising executive Miles Drentell on the ABC TV series “Thirtysomething.” Here he plays the father to Sandra (Jakub), the anti-war teenager, but his association with actor Robert Picardo, who plays the Strand Theater manager, got him the part.   


The full-length “Mant!” Filmed in black and white and featured on previous editions is not available this go around. It concern a man who’s transformed into a you-know-what when his teeth are X-rayed.

“Matinee” continues to be a lot of fun, and with this top-notch restoration its a must buy for 4K collectors.


 Craig Shapiro and Bill Kelley III, High-Def Watch producer

(1&2) The theater manager (Robert Picardo) finds Gene, Sherry, Stan and Lisa inside his bomb shelter built in the basement of the theater. (3&4) The jealous Harvey takes Sherry hostage behind the movie screen and tells Woolsey and Coreday to step back.


4K Menu screen




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