Saturday, October 8, 2011

Phil's Horror Watch, Day 7: Phil attends the MIDNIGHTS FOR MANIACS: MONSTERS IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD triple feature with Joe Dante in person-October 7, 2011

The Castro Theatre marquee
Hello everybody and welcome back to day seven of my horror movie marathon! Tonight's cinematic adventure took me back to the Castro Theatre in San Francisco for the Midnites for Maniacs triple feature. Tonight's theme was "Monsters in Your Own Backyard" and on hand was director Joe Dante himself, who was premiering his shelved teen horror 3D film as well as participating in a Q&A session! So tonight I saw three amazing films that offered me adventure, excitement, and, of course, some chills and thrills. Continuing the ten year anniversary of the series, creator and host Jesse Hawthorne Ficks pulled out all the stops for tonight.

As soon as I walked in I saw Ficks and greeted him. To my surprise, standing right next to him was Joe Dante! I introduced myself to him and told him how much I am looking forward to seeing his films tonight. I then asked him for an autograph, so I pulled out my Blu-Ray copy of PIRANHA and had him sign it for me! What a way to start off the night!!

Theatrical Movie Poster (1985)
Ficks came out and did his famous introductions and also thanks the audience for coming out to the show! The first film of the night was THE GOONIES. Long before SUPER 8 and THE MONSTER SQUAD, the film boasts an amazing cast of young stars that many went on to have successful acting careers. Starring Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Cory Feldman, Martha Plimpton, Kerri Green, Joe Pantollano, Anne Ramsey, and Jonathan Ke Quan, the film's about a group of kids (calling themselves the Goonies) that find a real treasure map that once belonged to the infamous pirate "One Eye" Willy. They set off to find the treasure, but hot on their heels are the Fratelli crime family. Their only hope lies in their new friend named Sloth! A true kid's film classic, it was released into theaters on June 7, 1985. The film was preceded by trailers of WEIRD SCIENCE, HOME ALONE, CAREER OPPORTUNITY (all three films will be shown at the December tribute show to John Hughes), FERNGULLY and PAPER HOUSE.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2009)
After the film was over, Ficks introduced Joe Dante up to the stage. The topic of the interview was about the second film of the night: the US theatrical premiere of his most recent film THE HOLE IN 3D! The film won the Venice Film festival Best 3D film award in 2009, and the distributor Bold Films were going to release it into theaters, but because the film didn't have any big names stars, and at that time theaters were being flooded with 3D film from the major studios, Bold decided to shelved the film! To me, this is a crime because the film was fantastic! The film's about brothers Dane (Chris Massoglia) and Lucas (Nathan Gamble) and their next door neighbor Julie (Haley Bennett) discover a hole in their basement that brings their fears and nightmares to reality. With genuine scares and great performance, the film truely deserves to be released theatrically, but according to Joe Dante, the distributor has no plans for it to be shown anywhere! It was a miracle that Jesse was able to get the film shown tonight! So thank you Jesse and Joe for bringing the film to the Castro!!

Theatrical Movie Poster (1990)
The third and final film of the night was Joe Dante's other masterpiece GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH.Before the film, Ficks brought back up Joe Dante and a surprise guest, the screenwriter of the film Charles Haas! They both talked abut making the film and how the studio gave him "complete creative control" to make the movie that he wanted to make. The end results is a madcap, Loony Tunes inspired, French New Wave influenced, social satire, movie referencing film that showcased Joe Dante's sense of humor! The film is an under appreciated sequel classic, and still holds up to this very day. Starring Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Christopher Lee, John Glover, Robert Picardo, and Dick Miller, Warner Brothers released the film on June 15, 1990. The film received lukewarm responses and to this day still hasn't made its money back on its $50 million budget (it's grossed $41, 482, 207 thus far). However, despite this somewhat setback, Joe Dante was able to make the film on his terms, which is a rare feat to have in Hollywood. Before the screening, Ficks presented a present to Joe Dante by showing every trailer to every one of his film. From HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD to LOONY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION, it was the best present ever!!

Joe Dante, Jesse Hawthorn Ficks, & Charles Haas
Tonight's show was awesome!! With each month comes new surprises and new discoveries for me as well as for everyone else attends this series. Celebrating ten years of Midnites for Maniacs, I encourage everyone out there who hasn't attended the show yet, you should! The next show is at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco on Saturday, October the 29th, where Ficks will be having a "20th Anniversary Tribute to Twin Peaks." Then on Friday, November 11th, the show returns to the Castro Theatre for its next triple feature. So make plans to attend these next shows. Also, to learn more about Midnites for Maniacs, visit their website at To view the Castro Theatre movie schedule, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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