Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Half man. Half ant.


On Monday, May 24th, was FINALLY (re)released on DVD one of the greatest films any horror, sci-fi or Hallowe'en lover could ever hope to own.


I don't really want to get into a very lengthy review because the Skull & Pumpkin is not a DVD review site, and I wish to avoid at all costs the silly debates found at such sites between dateless geeks living in their parents' basement (sorry, their 'cyber-lair') who argue endlessly over who made better zombie movies, who was the best Batman, what's the best theme park ride, and so on.

(For the record, it's Romero, West and The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Everyone knows that).

No, this won't be a review.

It's just a raving, blubbering anthem of praise, and a hymn of joy that it has finally seen a DVD release!

Made in 1993, it had been released on DVD in 1998, but apparently it had framing issues and was off the market in short order. Ever since, people have been buying copies of that first release for $40, $70, even over $100 in many cases, just to have this incredible film in their libraries.

If you haven't seen it, the premise is fairly simple:
It's October of 1962. Gene is a horror and sci-fi loving teen whose family is newly stationed at the naval base in Key West. They are trying to settle into their new surroundings when the Cuban Missile Crisis suddenly unfolds, and their father is sent out to blockade the Soviets.
As they await news of him and of the looming crisis, their little town is invaded by Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman), who has decided that in this mood of fear and panic it's the perfect time (and Key West, only 90 miles from the embattled Cuba the perfect place!) to open a new sci-horror picture-with-a-gimmick, MANT! In Atomo-Vision and Rumble-Rama!

The film has numerous interwoven plots involving Gene, Woolsey, their friends, teen and adult romance, teen and adult paranoia and fear, Cold War politics... and plenty of laughs.

Also, you'll notice as you are laughing that much of the scenery (Gene's school, the theatre, the grocery store, etc.) is bedecked (bespidered?) in skeletons, pumpkins, leaves, bats... this is October, after all!

If you know this film, I don't really need to say any more.


MANT!, the film-within-the-film, is one of the funniest things you'll ever see! Starring Cathy Moriarty (who is Goodman's love interest in the 'real' world) and B-movie stalwarts such as Robert Cornthwaite (The Thing From Another World, 1951 ), William Schallert (The Man From Planet X, 1951) and Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1956), MANT! makes fun of itself and an entire era of American cinema with such obvious love and ridiculous laughs.

I got a picture of the Mant him itself strangling his dentist (William Schallert) signed by the very friendly and very kind Mr. Schallert at Monsterpalooza back in April:

He was the one who told me to be ready for the DVD release on May 24th, with that smile and inimitable voice (Milton the Toaster, anyone?). So glad I got to meet Patty Lane's dad (and Cathy Lane's uncle) that weekend.

Alright, so... point is, GO GET THIS DVD, would you please?

If you've seen it, you know why you should.

If you haven't... well, now you know why you should.



  1. Heck Yeah!

    Saw it in the movie house. Bought and about wore out the VHS. I have been hoping for a DVD release for years. Matinee is a great movie and Mant--what can I say? For retro-50's schlock it may be surpassed only by The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra.

    I'll be right back--gotta go buy a movie!


  2. Same story here Fester!

    And MANT!, my God... Dr. Flanken from the Office of Unforeseen Atomic Events in Washington... how does it get better than that?

    Yessir... EVERYONE needs this DVD!