Popcorn was a movie I had long known about, yet really knew nothing at all. I had seen the poster many times, seen the Fright Rags shirt, and even received a movie poster sticker from them of it, but beyond that, and knowing it was a slasher, it was all fresh for me.
The film starts with our main character, Maggie, having a nightmare, shot like a bad acid trip. Upon waking up, and heading off to school, Maggie’s class all decide to host a horror movie marathon, with gimmick movies, using shock seats, smell-o-rama, and 3D. While setting up the theater the class comes across an old movie, which turns out to be the same as Maggie’s dreams. Turns out the director was crazy, and tried to re-create his film on stage, by killing his family, and the theater he did it in, burned to the ground.
The people are filling in, there isn’t an empty seat in the house. Skeletons, and ghouls are running through the isles, popcorn and candy are flying, as the crowd waits for the movies to start, and start they do. A large portion of the film is spent watching the movies the crowd is watching, which are made purposefully bad, in that so bad it’s good way. At the climax of every film is a big scene, that plays on a gimmick. The night’s geared up to be a blast for all involved, except for one tiny problem. There’s a killer on the loose, picking off the crew one by one, using his own gimmicks. Who is this stranger? Is it the killer from the past? Or some one else entirely?
Popcorn is a cheesy film to say the least, the first two thirds are filled with cheesy moments, both in the films the audience is watching, and the film we are watching. But it has a vibe similar to Killer Klowns From Outer Space, in the sense that it knows it’s cheesy, and fully accepts it. There is a lot of jokes thrown in, some miss their mark, but some are just too damn funny.
The last act is where this one shines. So far, all we have seen of the killer, is his shape, or POV, until now. When the killer is reveled, they shove him straight into the spotlight. Everything about him is great, from his personality, to the way he looks. I’m surprised that this slasher isn’t talked about more often to be honest.
The acting is hit or miss, some of the smaller roles weren’t play very well, but there’s little screen time with them. The stand outs are the killer, who’s actor I won’t name, because then IMDB will tell you who the killer is. Also the role of Maggie, portrayed by Jill Schoelen, of the ’87 ‘Stepfather”, is played well, with only a couple of botched lines. It was directed by, oddly enough, Mark Herrier, who’s only other memorable contribution to cinema was playing the role of Billy in ‘Porky’s
For the first two thirds of the movie, I would say the effects are hit or miss, and as far as gore goes, there’s hardly any. But once again, the third act really blew me away, and the effects used in it, and just incredible.
Check out Popcorn, it’s currently OOP, but there is a new dvd being released February 28th, be sure to order your copy soon.
Score – A
Gore – 2/10″