FTP: The Last Matinee (2020)

JULY 18, 2022


When Bloody Disgusting first started acquiring (mostly foreign) films for release, they had a deal with AMC Theatres to show them a couple times a week. As a then writer for the outlet I felt duty bound to go, but given the very sparse crowds I'd see on those occasions, it wasn't a surprise that the partnership didn't last. But if it did, it would have added a fun meta layer to see The Last Matinee on the big screen with one of those very tiny crowds, because the movie itself is about a handful of people seeing a foreign horror movie in a big theater, only to be wiped out by a killer.

The logic largely holds out, too - the theater seems to have around a thousand seats but only eight of them are occupied. We have a couple on a first date, an old man, a kid who snuck in, a trio of teens, and a lone teen girl who just happens to be the unrequited crush of one of those previously mentioned three, all spread out throughout the theater where the killer can strike without anyone noticing if they're paying attention to the screen. And he only has to do that a couple times; eventually one guy goes to the bathroom and he gets him there, he gets the teen and his crush at the same time, and when he goes in for his next kill he's finally spotted. I mean, in reality would it work? Probably not, but in the context of a slasher movie (i.e. where it's best not to think about such things) I think writer/director Maximiliano Contenti did a fine job of making it work.

I also appreciated that the movie they were watching was a real one, but not a budget pack public domain staple like Night of the Living Dead or whatever. In fact, the film (Frankenstein: Day of the Beast) was directed by Ricardo Islas, who plays the killer here, adding to the meta fun: Islas' work as a director is distracting everyone from noticing that Islas himself is killing their fellow patrons. To be clear, he's not playing himself - he's dubbed with the hilariously awesome name of Asesino Comeojos, or "The Eye Eating Killer." And yes, that's what he does; he kills folks with the usual sharp implements, but then he gouges out their eyes with an ice cream scoop (!) and occasionally eats them, though most he keeps in a big jar like they're pickles or something. It's goofy, yes, but disturbing in equal measure.

The disc is surprisingly packed for a DVD; I forgot they could put this much on there (and the transfer of the film is quite good; I actually forgot it was the lesser format). Contenti provides a commentary (in English; the film and other extras are in Spanish) that can be a little dry but is otherwise worth a listen as he rattles off production stories, casting process, FX secrets (the eyes are some kind of vegetable I'm blanking on right now, covered in sugar), etc. He also notes, somewhat apologetically, the insane number of production company logos at the top; I counted fourteen (eight of them animated), but as he notes that's just the reality now. There's an enjoyable making of with the cast and crew, some deleted scenes, short films, the trailer, and an Unsolved Mysteries kind of thing about the "real case" that inspired the film (please note: this is fictional). Contenti said that his previous film about a killer puppet would be on the disc as well, but that (along with the full Frankenstein feature) is a Blu-ray exclusive. Still, it'll take you another couple hours to go through what IS there, and that's always a nice surprise nowadays.

If you're one of the ninnies who whine when there's no explanation for a killer, you should steer clear (ditto for Halloween and Black Christmas too, you goon), but if you just want old-school body count fun I think you'll dig it. I had a blast, aided by the funny coincidence that the film actually took place on July 18th, the day I finally grabbed it off my shelf having wanted to watch it for a while now (I blame the format; it's a DVD and my eyes tend to gravitate toward the blu-rays since I know I'll get more money for trading them in once I finally watch). And as someone who has never gotten a hand job in a theater, I felt better about missing out after seeing what happened here: the dude (who I identified with as he noted that he likes to go to the movies without knowing a single thing about the film he's about to see) makes a mess of his pants so he retreats to the bathroom to clean it off, and that's where he gets killed. Not worth it imo.

What say you?


Post a Comment

Movie & TV Show Preview Widget