Today on Find That Film episode four of season five, we highlight one of ManWithPez’s motivations for creating this series: Popcorn. This 1991 horror movie stars Jill Schoelen as a film student with a bloody, forgotten past which has finally caught up to her.
Aunt Suzanne (Dee Wallace) tries to distract Maggie (Jill) from her persistent nightmares which Maggie farms for plot ideas for her film degree at an underfunded film school. Her classmate Toby (Tom Villard) proposes the students hold a special event at a local theater to raise money for their program. With the help of their professor (Tony Roberts) and an eccentric collector (Ray Walston), they show three scary movies in one night. Eventually Maggie realizes her dreams are memories as the bodies begin to stack up behind the screen.
Directed by Marck Herrier (mostly?), Popcorn moves back and forth between the old scary movies onscreen and the rising body count within the theater. Mitchell Smith and Alan Ormsby (possibly more people) turned a great idea into a pretty good script to celebrate horror movies. The effects team worked overtime to supersize the gimmics from the old horror movie houses and to create truly creepy mask work.
It’s easy to get caught up in what went wrong on Popcorn. Clearly it needed one director and fewer production notes. It needed more time and money to complete reshoots when cast changes were made. It needed a chance to fulfill its potential. Popcorn lovingly honors the classic horror films and the pageantry of the movie theater. The villain is sympathetic, deadly, and well played. Viewers should ignore the noise and relish in the spectacle.
Luckily, Popcorn can easily be purchased on BluRay or DVD at your favorite online retailer (much harder to locate in brick and mortar). This one is definitely better enjoyed in a group setting. Invite your friends, put a bag in the microwave, check behind the couch, and find that film Popcorn.