November 24, 2013

Movie Review: Midnight Matinee (1989)

So, while I was stumbling around looking for something to watch, I came across this little movie called Midnight Matinee on Netflix. It is not something I had ever heard of before, but it sounded pretty interesting. The description reads: “Even though a devastating murder took place during a small town's horror film festival two years earlier, the townspeople want another festival.” Sounds like fun, right? I mean, who wouldn't want a horror film festival. Who cares if a murder took place. People are always dying, we don't always get horror film festivals.



I have since learned that the movie was a made for television affair in Canada back in 1989. So, as you can guess, this is not exactly a very graphic film. Still, the opening moments do reveal some nudity and a murder that would likely by deemed too graphic in the States. Even with those opening moments, Midnight Matinee is a little to the dull side, is not graphic at all, and tends to be a little too the talky side. With that said, the movie still manages to be moderately entertaining. Besides, it is a televised slasher movie!

As the movie opens, we are watching a movie within a movie, but we don't know that for a couple of minutes. It starts like so many films of the type have before, a couple are enjoying time in the woods, head into a cabin to warm up and, well, enjoy each others company. This is followed by a kill very reminiscent of what happened to Kevin Bacon in the original Friday the 13th. We then reveal the movie theater audience, with its own amorous couple in the back row, but when the girl focuses momentarily to the events on the screen, she turns back to find her boyfriend murdered in a very similar fashion to what just happened.


The time jumps ahead a couple of years, the murder was never solved and the theater has been closed ever since. All that is about to change as there is a push to reopen the theater and hold a new horror event there. We pick up shortly before the event, there is the theater owner, projectionist, and a few others all pitching in to get the theater running again. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy to see this happening and the police have been flooded with complaints from people wanting it to be shut down permanently.

As it gets closer to the opening, the fear grows. Will there be more murders? Well, I guess that is a bit of a foregone conclusion. The better thing to question would be to who the killer is going to be. There are plenty of possibilities in this reality set world, so don't go expecting anything of a supernatural persuasion. There is the creepy concession guy, the mother whose ex stole her first born and is afraid of losing her other daughter to him, local bully kid, the cop, the horror filmmaker, or pretty much anyone else.

I do not think this is a really good movie, but I have to admit a little affection to the idea of a made for television slasher (I do not often look to TV movies). I think the fact that it has references to other known horror entities helps garner it some positive favor. Among the more obvious is that opening kill, or how the two horror titles on theater marquis line up in such a way that one side says “Camp Blood” (which has to be another Friday the 13th reference), and the fact the plot feels similar to My Bloody Valentine in the small town where tragedy struck resulting in the banning of the holiday, or in this case just the closure of the theater.


The movie also features a couple of familiar faces. Don S. Davis plays the hard drinking theater owner and is best known as the general on Stargate SG-1. The other familiar face is William B. Davis, who is famous for his portrayal of Cigarette Smoking Man on The X-Files, he plays Heath Harris, a local horror director.

Is it worth your time? Probably not. It is not completely, but it is not terribly exciting and relies heavily on references and allusions to other, better horror films. I am intrigued that they attempted to make a whodunit sort of slasher for television, that alone makes it a worthy time waster. It is not something I would necessarily recommend going out of your way for, but if you happen to stumble across it and have nothing better to do...

Mildly Recommended.


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