Popcorn (1991) Jill Schoelen, Tom Villard, Dee Wallace, Derek Rydall Movie Review

Popcorn (1991)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Popcorn (1991)

Old Popcorn

Whilst Maggie (Jill Schoelen) is busy chronicling her nightmares in the hope of creating a killer screenplay out of them she is also part of a University's film club who having just formed are trying to establish themselves and raise funds. Mr. Davis (Tony Roberts), their professor, comes up with a plan to stage a horror-thon at an old theatre, showing the old movies which were released with gimmicks and with the help of Dr. Mnesyne (Ray Walston) using the old gimmicks such as electric shocks in the seats and smell-o-vision as well as bugs on wires. But when they come across an old movie by director Lanyward Gates, a pill popping hippie, not only do strange things start to happen to these students but it forces Maggie to confront a bearded man who visits her in her nightmares.

By 1991 the slasher horror movie had begun to feel like it was clutching at straws to keep attracting audiences and "Popcorn" is a perfect example of this. Here is a movie which tries to bring some self referential humour to the horror set up with a group of film fans putting on a horror-thon using the old gimmicks to entertain the audience. That is the good idea and I would love it if my nearby cinema with its art-deco design would do the same. But beyond the self referential humour as it draws on other horror movies it comes up short on everything else.

Now part of the trouble with "Popcorn" is that it looks like it was made by a bunch of film students and has that juddery feel where nothing really runs smoothly and often the image blurs. Maybe for fans of low budget 80s and 90s horror it will be fine but it makes it an acquired taste. And it goes without saying that the acting is also rough with very few of the young actors managing to make their characters memorable. The thing is that "Popcorn" is the sort of movie which gets a cult following and there are a lot of people who love it for its almost tackiness.

What this all boils down to is that "Popcorn" didn't do it for me and whilst it had a good idea it failed to capture my attention. What made me smile was whilst it didn't work I wonder whether if this influenced "Scream" which came just 5 years later and breather life into the teen slasher movie.