Comedy, Horror

Popcorn (1991)

Comments Off on Popcorn (1991) 30 October 2017


Studio: Synapse

Theatrical Release: February 1, 1991

Blu Ray Release: October 3, 2017

Director: Mark Herrier


Review by James Klein

“Buy a bag. Go home in a box.” —tagline for Popcorn.

Watch this movie, you’ll wish you went home in a box. I am not going to mince words here, I hated Popcorn. I hated it back in 1991 and I still hate it now. I tried, I really tried to give it another chance but dear God this horror-comedy is so annoying and so dumb, I don’t get the cult following that this film has now garnered. 

Popcorn (I also hate the title) is about a small group of film students whose teacher Mr. Davis (Tony Roberts from Amityville 3-D) comes up with an idea to help create funding for the students future films by hosting an all night horror movie marathon of some older films, using the money they raise to work on their own projects. To help keep the costs down the event is held in an abandoned old movie palace that hasn’t been open since a fire took place due to a crazed actor who killed his family while in the theater. 

Inside the theater, our heroine Maggie (Jill Schoelen from the underrated 1989 version of Phantom of the Opera) finds a short film called The Possessor by Lanyard Gates that was the cause of the fire as when it was first screened the finale was actually performed live where Lanyard killed his family before setting the theater ablaze. The budding film makers decide to screen The Possessor which Maggie has a strange connection with. Once Maggie’s mother (Dee Wallace from E.T. and Cujo) gets word about this short film, she tries to get Maggie to quit as she knows something about this Lanyard. 

As the group puts on the movie marathon filled with props and shenanigans, our students start getting bumped off one by one. Once the maniac is revealed, the wise-cracking murderer spends most of his time making jokes than knocking off the students and attendees. The film also jumps back and forth with a love interest that is ridiculous and so sappy and cliche, it feels like something out of Saved by the Bell

What possibly could have saved Popcorn would have been the violence but alas fans of the dark crimson will be disappointed as the film has very little blood. In fact the deaths are treated in a humorous and ridiculous way, never building any suspense or horror. Popcorn is a safe horror film. This is a horror film for women and pussies. The jokes are bad, the deaths are dull and there is no female flesh to even wake up the casual viewer. And why the fuck does a reggae band suddenly start playing a concert in between films? If I was at a horror movie marathon and the films got interrupted by some lame band, I’d be pissed. 

Presented in a 1:78:1 aspect ratio in 1080p HD, the transfer has been made from a brand-new 2K scan of a 35 mm element. The opening of the film with Maggie having a nightmare regarding Lanyard had such  heavy grain that I thought maybe Synapse slipped up on this release. Thankfully I was wrong as eventually the picture quality peaks and the colors look wonderful where grain quickly isn’t as prominent. The 7.1 surround sound is absolutely wonderful and sounds perfect. The 2.0 stern track is presented as well for purists. 

Synapse as they normally do, go all out on the special features and doesn’t disappoint. There is an audio commentary track by Jill Schoelen director Mark Herrier, actor Malcolm Danare and special effects artist Mat Falls. They all seem to be having fun and even comment on the films (many) shortcomings. There is a 57 minute making of Popcorn that I actually enjoyed way more than the film as it discusses the original director who was fired (Alan Ormsby who directed Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things) and the original actress that was let go (Amy O’Neill from Honey I Shrunk the Kids) who Jill Schoelen replaced. Maybe my favorite special feature is the quick interview with a now very old looking Bruce Glover who discusses the making of the film and how he was so upset when he saw the final version as most of his scenes were cut out. Rounding out the special features is the trailer, TV spots, and still gallery. 

While the blu ray looks and sounds great with some fantastic special features, Popcorn is just a shitty fucking film. It’s an annoying, unfunny, non scary, confusing mess of a film. I don’t understand the cult following this movie has. It re-enforces my hatred for the 1990’s when horror films relied on too much comedy. Popcorn makes Wes Craven’s Shocker look like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Movie Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ 

Blu Ray Rating: ★★★½☆ 

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