Matinee – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Here’s a title that was both fitting of either the Shout! Factory branded line of Shout Select or Scream Factory: Joe Dante’s Matinee. Ultimately it went to that of the Shout Select line. A loving homage to the kitchy creature-features of the atomic age, the delightful comedy Matinee is a smart and sharp period comedy that captures of joy of growing up on cheesy b-movies.  Shout Factory have put their work in here, loading it up with a bunch of new interviews and other bonus features. Unfortunately no John Goodman here, but hell, probably a stretch to get him anyway. Joining Hell Night, this is another highly requested and jam packed release full of brand new features specific to Shout Factory. You can preorder now to have your copy ready to go January 16th.


William Castle-inspired movie promoter Lawrence Woolsey brings his unique brand of flashy showmanship to the unsuspecting residents of Key West, Florida. It’s 1962, and fifteen-year-old fan Gene Loomis can’t wait for the arrival of Woolsey, who is in town to promote his latest offering of atomic power gone berserk, Mant! But the absurd vision of Woolsey’s tale takes on a sudden urgency as the Cuban Missile Crises places the real threat of atomic horror just 90 miles off the coast. With the help of Woolsey’s leading lady, Ruth, the master showman gives Key West a premiere they’ll never forget. Anything can happen in the movies, and everything does in this hilarious tribute to a more innocent (and outrageous) time in American cinema.
I fondly remember going to see Matinee opening weekend when I was younger. It was one of our family movie outings. After the movie had let out, I remember being pretty excited about it, but my parents pretty much gave me the impression they didn’t care for it. But, I was also a kid who found going to the movies a kind of magic and this movie showed me a whole different kind of that and also let me take a peak behind the curtain to see how it was all put together.
As an 11 year old, I wasn’t too much on the up and up with the Cuban Missle Crisis at the time, so that stuff kind of confused me a little or moreso I couldn’t relate or understand.  William Castle, well, I gotta admit, I didn’t know much about him either. Joe Dante and John Goodman served as my gateway into learning about this type of heightened cinematic experience. Not that I wasn’t familiar with the kinds of films they were, I had seen my fair share, what I was learning about was that there was much more to them than just the television syndication running on the Sci-Fi Channel or late night TV edition I was watching.
Aside from my thrill of learning more about films through a film, the movie also delivers on other fronts. It has a pretty good young cast to go along with a VERY game John Goodman paired with Cathy Moriarty being terrific. There is some fun goofiness and historically educational moments and bits in the film. As an adult returning to the movie, I’ve picked up on much more darkly comedic elements as well as some good character arcs and decisions as well.
Matinee might be one that advertising or something didn’t really pick up on sorta the reflective nature or heavy amount of Cuban Missile Crisis in the actual plot. However, some who weren’t high on it when it came out should take another look. I think its a different film once you’re older and one that’s even better to me now and I liked it well enough back then. PLUS, this new Blu-ray release is giving me something I REALLY wanted badly to see when I saw this movie in theaters, the actually film (Or what they filmed for it) of MANT!


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: I’m pretty impressed with this transfer on Joe Dante’s Matinee from Shout! Factory. I’m not sure if this is the same one as Arrow Video used on their release, but its really good. It looks like they did a pretty solid hands off approach as grain is left intact and the details come on really strong and its pretty crisp in well lit sequences and bright daytime. Details on suit jackets with patterns and threads looks cool as well as seeing the texture on the MANT costume both in color and black and white.

Depth:  There is a strong sense of depth of field with this transfer as the foreground and backgrounds really feel a nice loose separation. This allows for really clean and fluid movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are pretty deep and have a really strong appearance here. Grain is a bit heavier in dark scenes, but the amount of detail retained at night or in a darkened room is impressive.

Color Reproduction: Colors are bold and more on the lifelike side. Reds are very strong and well saturated, especially on the MANT costume and being within the red seated and curtained theater. Other colors like blues, greens and golds come on strong too. Orange in fires pops off the screen.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and maintain a consistent appearance from start to finish of the film. Medium and close up shots give good bits of detailed facial information.

Noise/Artifacts: There is a nice, complimentary layer of grain left intact and no print damage seen.


Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Matinee comes with a pretty solid 5.1 audio mix as well as a nice stereo one in its US debut on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory.  What is really impressive is the balance here in the mix between vocals, effects and score as they all really come together and work loose and wonderfully during the MANT presentation in the film. Its a bit of a front heavy mix, but this one does do the trick and provides a lot of fun and lifelike scenarios.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer booms with explosions, flash pots, buzzing, car engines and also your regular doors shutting and the like.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is mostly a front heavy mix, but the rear channels provide solid ambiance and then get involved in some fun here and there during the theater portions.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are crisp and clear.


Matinee – Collector’s Edition comes with a reversible cover featuring the original theatrical poster art.

Master Of The Matinee (HD, 20:29) – Interview with Director Joe Dante. Dante talks about how the project came to be from a completely different script that was never going to get green lit. He talks how the times in this movie are scaringly relateable now again. Dante gets really involved with the casting and his own childhood in this fun and very informative interview.

The Leading Lady (HD, 12:02) –  An Interview With Cathy Moriarty. She discusses being a huge John Goodman fan and having pretty much a great time making the film and working with Joe Dante.

MANTastic: The Making of Mant (HD, 25:12) – This isn’t a making of for the film within the film itself but the actual creature of MANT. The man who designed and created MANT as well as the actor in the costume, take us through their story of bringing it to life an portraying it in the film.

Out of the Bunker (HD, 16:17) – An interview with actress Lisa Jakub. She came in a big fan of Joe Dante’s Innerspace and talks her sorta of building who she wanted to be in real life off of her character. It was also her first big screen kiss. Jakub mentions she felt comfort when shooting the bomb shelters and snuck out a can of peas as a memento from the movie.

Making a Monster Theatre (HD, 15:35) – An interview with production designer Steven Legler. This one goes over a lot of stories of set building as well as preparation and design. He goes into good detail of constructing the movie theater and collaborating with Joe Dante in bringing it all together.

The Monster Mix (HD, 11:39) – An interview with editor Marshall Harvey. He goes over his approach and tactics to crafting the edit of both Matinee and MANT. At one point Jerry Goldsmith offered to score the MANT portion, but they already had fitting music for it.

Lights! Camera! Reunion! (HD, 21:13) – An interview with Director of Photography John Hora. He wasn’t prepared to shoot the movie but needed to right away. Hora also covers the history and goes over how they did some of the bigger moments in the film.

Paranoia In Ant Vision (HD, 32:37) – Joe Dante discusses the making of the film. This looks to be an interview from I think the French release of the film, but its cool to have it included. A lot of stuff is repeated, but there are some other things talked about and maybe some more or different renditions on some the same subject matter.

MANT! (HD, 22:45) – The full length version of the film with introduction by Joe Dante (around 7 minutes). Dante gives some insight on his a hair late for the period film and decision to make the film look rather believable than intentionally corny. “Make it as good as you can make it for a low budget picture of that era. Don’t make it crummy to make it crummy”.  He also admits he borrowed dialogue from other movies and pasted it together for this.

Vintage Making of Featurette (SD, 4:27) – A more promotional EPK type thing that includes on set interviews and footage cut together.

Behind The Scenes Footage (SD, 8:22) – Some VHS footage from various sets of the movie. Includes plenty of Joe Dante directing and good on set vibe.

Deleted and Extended Scenes (HD, 2:21) 

Still Gallery (HD, 3:59)

Theatrical Trailer (SD, 1:57)


Matinee is a loving and charming tribute to a different era of cinema-going blended in with the real life mentality of the nation at the time. In an odd way, I just reviewed Across the Universe, which was a very similar kind of movie both thematically and at its core. Shout Select has really done itself good here with a nice looking presentation in both audio and video, as well as cramming this thing to the brim with new features. Fans should be very happy with this one and collector’s should not hesitate to pick it up.


Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “Matinee – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Jim McPherson

    “The man who designed and created MANT as well as the actor in the costume, take us through their story of bringing it to life an portraying it in the film.” The actor’s name was Mark McCracken.