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.