Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Midnight Matinee - Late Night Slasher

Midnight Matinee
Directed by Richard Martin
Written by Richard Martin
Starring  Ron White, Gillian Barber & Jeff Schultz

British Columbia Film
D Slayer Productions
Image Organization
Malofilm Communications Inc.
Odyssey Pictures
Summit Entertainment
Thomas Howe Releasing
Téléfilm Canada

Not Rated (TV Movie)  -  Approx  93 Minutes.

 - Every mystery has a beginning

Alternate Titles:
La séance de minuit  (The Midnight Screening)  Canada
Keskiyön arvoitus  (The Midnight Mystery)    Finland

Bei Vorstellung Mord   (In Notion Murder)   West Germany

"Enjoy the film.  Get the shit scared out of yourselves."
                                                                             -Heath Harris

There's a killer loose in the movie theater.  Ah yes, that old chestnut.  While Midnight Matinee is not the first and certainly not the last film to use the plot device, it is the only one that I know of that features William "The Cigarette Smoking Man" B. Davis as a horror film producer!  I'm getting a bit ahead of myself though so let's start from the beginning shall we?

At the first annual horror film fest, in the sleepy little town of Holsten, B.C.,  a teen is murdered in the theater.  The killer is never caught.  Two years later, another horror film fest is being put together and many of the locals are not happy.  The police station is flooded with angry letters of protest.  Among the letters are mysterious type written letters.

Police detective Al Jason has transferred here from the city, hoping to find some peace and quiet.  Bad luck for him! Marilyn is the projectionist at the theater is the mother of the girl whose boyfriend was murdered two years earlier.  Her other daughter, Sherri is the popcorn girl.  Her estranged husband, Heath Harris, is the aforementioned William B. Davis who will be on hand to unleash his latest horror opus on the rowdy crowd of teens.  Detective Jason is sort of dating Marilyn. Sherri is dating a guy named Lawrence that everyone hates.  Bobby is another theater worker who is a complete asshole punk and also has the hots for Sherri.  How's that for a set of red herrings?  Not enough?  Okay...then let's throw in the trashy newspaper reporter, Warren who has an extended history with Detective Jason.  Also let's throw in Geoff, the extremely eccentric theater employee.  Whew!   I'm sure that was almost as exhausting to read as it was to write.  Still with me?  Groovy.

As you may have well guessed when the film fest gets underway, so do the murders.  Everyone one is suspect and I was surprisingly unable to figure out for myself who the killer was until about 10 minutes before the reveal.  I don't know if that's a credit to the film or if I was a bit drowsy and not fully paying attention....but my guess is the latter.  For a slasher film, this is quite talky....even for a TV movie slasher film.  That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it....but even at about 90 minutes it could have been about 20 minutes shorter.  Having said all that, I did enjoy some of the cinematography quite a bit and there were some interesting cuts and transitions used.  My favorite bits (as is usually the case with these type of films) were the film-within-film bits.  It always amuses me to no end watching the film's creator's idea of a cheesy horror flick.  I can't tell you how many times I've wished that these faux films were real.  The ones included here are no different.

Midnight Cinephile Tally

Death Toll:  Five.  I suppose that's not bad for a TV Movie.....but there was an AWFUL lot of talk (and time) between kills.

Nude-O-Meter:  We get one pair 'o boobs in the very beginning and a naked butt.  Something tells me that was added later for video release....being a TV Movie and all.  Interestingly, the scene which this takes place in is one of the film-within-films and it's pretty much a shot for shot remake of Kevin Bacon's death scene in the original Friday the 13th!

Things That Go Bump In The Night: In addition to our killer, we are treated to a couple different killers in the films the audience is watching at the film fest, which is a nice little bonus.

Favorite Death
I've gotta give this one to the Friday the 13th copycat scene!

Final Thoughts
This little slice of Canadian horror is completely new for me.  I ran across it on Netflix and being a sucker for Killer at the Movies flix, I had to watch it.  Like I said before, it could have been a bit shorter, but there are certainly worse ways to spend your time.  This one feels right for a rainy night when there's nothing else on.

Final Rating
Two out of Five Pizza Rolls


  1. You've uncovered yet another obscurity with which I'm unfamiliar. I couldn't help thinking of Barenaked Ladies - "Watchin' X'Files with no lights on. We're dans la maison. I hope the Smoking Man's in this one." I've never explored the television movies on Netflix, so maybe I should check that out.

  2. You know it's funny, because it wasn't explicitly listed as a TV movie on was just in among the rest of the films. It was until I started to research the film and look for a rating that I discovered it was made for TV. Looks like Canadian TV at that. The nudity in the beginning is still a strange anomaly, but I'm not sure what Canadian television sensors allow either. In any case, it's definitely worth a look if for no other reason than to see The Smoking Man doing something other than trying to kill Mulder! It's a really surreal experience to watch him act like a regular person. least not like a scary shadow government agent anyway!