Castle’s in the air
released OUT NOW! 1993 | PG | Blu-ray & dVd (dual-format)
Director Joe dante Cast John Goodman, Cathy Moriarty, simon Fenton, Omri Katz
Ever happily wasted time browsing ’50s sci-fi trailers on YouTube? Then Joe Dante’s nostalgia-fest should give you a warm glow.
Set in Florida in 1962, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, it follows monster-mad kid Gene as cigar-chomping showman Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman) arrives in town to promote his latest atom-age shocker Mant!.
With Woolsey a stand-in for self-publicising Hollywood hucksters like William Castle, it’s a film that celebrates a long-lost world of lurid front-of-house standees and shameless gimmickry. The period is lovingly evoked, with all the right clothes, cars and pop hits. And the glimpses of Mant! are hilariously well-observed spoofery.
All that’s missing is a compelling storyline, instead of an accumulation of minor incident. Considering that Gene’s dad is away helping blockade the Russkies, it’s a film of surprisingly little emotional impact. Slight, then… but still utterly charming.
Extras Two featurettes quiz firstly Dante-regular actors, then the DOP and editor on working with him (18 minutes); 31-minute chat with Dante; Mant! in full (16 minutes), with intro; eight minutes of timecoded behind-the-scenes footage; a vintage promo; a trailer; booklet. Ian Berriman
“Lawrence Woolsey” is a nod to Lawrence Woolner, co-owner of the company that distributed Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman.
The new face of Cadbury’s Flake was unexpected.