MATINEE
1993, Universal, 99 min, USA, Dir: Joe Dante

In this laugh-filled valentine to B-movie ballyhoo, John Goodman stars as Lawrence Woolsey, a filmmaker eager to exploit current events and such dubious cinematic advances as “Atomo-Vision.” During the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, he brings his new movie MANT ("Half man, half ant, all terror!") to Key West, Florida. The shifting relationships of the local high school kids add a nostalgic glow to MATINEE’s mix of Cold War paranoia and pop-culture schlock, right up to the climactic screening of Woolsey’s magnum opus. Cathy Moriarty is wonderful as the showman’s mistress/star.


THE 'BURBS
1989, Universal, 101 min, USA, Dir: Joe Dante

This mix of comedy and horror was putty in the hands of director Joe Dante. Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) decides to spend his weeklong vacation just hanging around the house, but that turns out to be less relaxing than expected thanks to new neighbors the Klopeks. Strange noises and bulky garbage bags coming from their house arouse Ray’s suspicions, and when another neighbor vanishes mysteriously, he and his friends on the block team up to discover what secrets lie in the Klopeks’ basement. With Bruce Dern and Carrie Fisher.


PIRANHA (1978)
1978, New World Pictures, 94 min, USA, Dir: Joe Dante

Screenwriter John Sayles cleverly riffs on JAWS in this early directorial effort from Joe Dante, in which a school of deadly mutant piranha heads for a sleepy summer community. Combining crisp action with razor-sharp satire, this fast, funny and scary creature feature is one of the best films to come out of producer Roger Corman's New World Pictures in the 1970s.


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