Thursday, May 10, 2007

vhs is dead. long dead, tho you can find tapes for sale still everywhere. i do not mourn its passing since i love dvd, and been collecting films on disc now for almost a decade. shit, has it been that long now? maybe seven years. whatever.

but then last weekend i stopped at the video clearance center, a large shop that sells used dvds and tapes. however, its main moneymaker is a huge inventory of porn discs. and business is brisk, let me tell you baby. that wasn't why i stopped there. i was looking for a movie that is long out of print.

director joe dante loves the horror movies of 1950s-60s vintage. at that time the greatest shlockmeister ever to huckster bad movie-making and creative marketing ploys was the late, great william castle. e.g. for the flick the tingler starring vincent price, castle rigged up the theater seats so at key moments of low suspense the audience would get a slight electric jolt.

dante, who's first film is the roger corman produced, goofy, but an utterly great cheesepuff of a flick piranha, which was co-written by novelist-filmmaker john sayles who at the time was also slaving away at the corman factory. after churning out several successful and semi-succesful product dante then made his homage to shlock filmmaking in general and to william castle in particular.

hence my reason to go shopping at the video clearance center. i looked for and found matinee starring john goodman as the william castle character. but not on disc. what i bought was a vhs tape, rather reluctantly. however, since this film has long been out of print, and the tape itself cost just a few dollars, i snatched it up.

anna and i saw matinee at the theater way back in 1993. she has no interest in b-films, but anna knows i do, and what we watched that afternoon was a sweet homage to bad filmmaking. as expected there is a movie within the movie, the schlock called mant! it's selling moto runs: half man, half ant, all terror! both films feature an excellent supporting cast by the likes of sayles, dick miller and cathy moriarty.

i've not seen the film since 1993. it has not left my imagination. i'd write a review but i've not watched the tape yet. we have a vcr in the back room, but because of the kitchen remodel i'm unable to get to it. what i remember is a well-made movie about the power and art of movie-making. dante reminds us why we fell in love with films at all. it is because of old louie prima once crooned: that old black magic.


At 3:34 PM, Blogger Logan Ryan Smith said...

i remember matinee. though i can't remember if i watched it in the theatre or on video. it seems like forever ago. and i, at the time, had no idea it was an homage to schlock. well, i had no idea about most things back then.


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