Director: Mark Herrier
Stars: Jill Schoelen, Tom Villard, Dee Wallace
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
After far too long, Popcorn, a 1991 slasher that has a cult following, but is sadly forgotten by most, is out on Blu-ray. First released back in March by Synapse Films as a limited edition Steelboook, this is the more affordable Special Edition. It has the same transfer and extras, just not the metal cover. So for those looking to build or expand upon a horror home library, is it worth a get? Let’s find out.
A group of film students in college needs some extra cash for their class projects, so they come up with the idea to throw an all-night horror movie marathon. To this end they find an old, rundown theater and clean it up. Then they get some “classic” films that are heavy on the cheese. To add to the fun they plan to stage some old-school theater tricks, such as electric buzzing seats, props flying overhead, and “Smell-O-Vison.”™ It appears to be a great success, if not for the murder-crazed killer in their midst that may or may not be a supernatural blast from the past. Popcorn has a forgotten mystery to be uncovered, a killer that can appear as anyone, a couple of reggae musical interludes, some good kills, some good laughs, and likable characters.
All in all the film is well done, but the unsung heroes of this movie are the mini movies with it. There is a 50s big bug flick, a 50s ‘science gone too far, maniac on the loss with super powers’ (that old saw), and a 60s Japanese monster movie where the kaiju has been replaced by a killer stench. No, really. But these little vignettes are made wonderfully, each one capturing the feel and essence of those subgenres and the times they were created, and they’re a whole lot of fun. Add this to the quirky cast, a great performance by the killer, Jill Schoelen as the cute girl next door, and Dee Wallace doing her ‘America’s favorite mom’ best. Also keep an eye out for a cameo by Ray Walston, and a veteran of many a Woody Allen film: Tony Roberts.
Let’s get to the extras Synapse Films included on this new Special Edition version of Popcorn. There is an audio commentary track with the director Mark Herrier, actors Jill Schoelen, Malcolm Danare, and Matt Falls, who both acted and did makeup effects. There is a making-of documentary that’s nearly an hour long and details all the problems to overcome (multiple directors, replacing the lead actress after filming started) in making this film. There is an interview with actor Bruce Glover that’s six and a half minutes long. There is a stills gallery, the original theatrical trailer, a TV trailer, and some television spots.
Popcorn is a great little gem of a move that’s been overlooked by many and far too long relegated to an out-of-print and ridiculously expensive DVD. So this Blu-ray is highly recommended for fans of slashers, horror movies in general, and goofy, fun films specifically. I really love it so I can easily say you should get it while you can before it again goes out of print and the asking price soars.