Montevideo, Uruguay-based filmmaker Maximiliano “Max” Contenti has been at it since his first short released in 2001. He’s since made eight shorts, two features — Meneco viviente V and Neptunia — and one documentary.
An ’80s slasher meets ’70s giallo throwback that is set in the Wes Craven-Scream ’90s, The Last Mantinee, aka Al morir la matinée (Red Screening) is a movie for fans of both genres — especially giallos — as we are treated to over-the-top, creative kills. As with those giallos of old that we love: it’s not the plot we came for: all the colors of the dark are what we came for. And The Last Matinee has more color and style that several of the recent horror streamers we’ve watched put together.
The plot is simple and it’s set up quickly and it just gets on with it: it’s a dreary, soaking wet day with nothing to do — so you go to the comforting refuge of a grand ol’ theater to watch a showing of Frankenstein. The thing is: serial killers don’t like the rain either and get bored as well. Hey, why should our “Norman Bates” have to collect eyeballs in the pouring down rain when there’s a nice, warm theater filled with plenty of orbs to pluck so as to fill his bottle?
This is the type of sick, clever film that, when one of the victims is smoking and the killer slits their throat: cigarette smoke comes out of their throat.
Yeah, while it may be derivative to some — oh, let’s say Michael Soavi’s Stage Fright and Lamberto Bava’s Demons and Dario Arento’s Opera and Bigas Luna’s Anquish comes to mind — but I can’t recall the last time cigarette smoke puffed out of a slit throat. As with Luna’s cinema-with-cinema effort: the bloody events in the theater mirror the film on the screen.
Hey, we enjoyed it . . . more so than a not-so-clever Rob Zombie Xerox joint.