Thursday, December 2, 2010

'Popcorn' is a slasher film worth checking out

Popcorn (aka "Skinner" and "Phantom of the Cinema") (1991)
Starring: Jill Schoelen, Tom Villard, Dee Wallace Stone, and Ray Walston
Directors: Mark Herrier and Alan Ormsby
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

A group of film students stage a horror B-movie marathon at an old movie theater that's about to be torn down. The horror leaps from the screen when a mysterious murderer starts stalking and killing them.

"Popcorn" is a low-budget horror movie that pays homage to the William Castle school of filmmaking and promotion, while delivering loving jabs at the horror genre, its fans, and those who create material for it. It's a self-referential slasher movie that pre-dates "Scream" by a number of years and which is actually more subtle in many places.

The downside to the film is that its main characters are very, very annoying. They are so annoying that I almost quit the movie 20 minutes in. I'm sure the filmmakers were trying to present them as hip and playful, but I these film geeks came across as just a little too geeky. The characters did grow on me, and once the action moved to the movie theater for the horror film festival, I was enjoying myself thoroughly. This is one of those movies it's worth sticking with, despite a rocky start.

Although it was a complete bomb on its original release, "Popcorn" actually a pretty good movie. It's worth seeking out for fans of the slasher genre--except if you're looking for lots of gore. There's very little gore here, but there are several tense and creative murder scenes.


Jinx said...

Cool. Coincidently I just bought this to go in my husband's Christmas stocking. I haven't seen it for ages so really looking forward to another viewing.

Steve Miller, Writer of Stuff said...

I hope he doesn't believe in Santa and reads this blog! :)

Tom said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I think I will enjoy this one; I never got around to see it. Back in the early '90s, I rented all my movies from the local video store around the corner. If they had "Popcorn" I would have rented it. By the way, that video store is out of business.