Monday, 23 June 2014

Popcorn

"Popcorn" (1991, Mark Herrier, Alan Ormsby, Studio Three Film Corporation) is a fun American horror comedy set in an old theatre.

The Film department at a college is new and lacks funding. The students there, along with their teacher, Mr Davis (Tony Roberts), decide to run a horror marathon in the old cinema in town to raise funds and awareness for the department.

They are helped out by local film memorabilia collector, Mr. Mnesyne (Ray Walston) who helps them decorate the cinema and also provides them with William Castle-esque shlock props (zapping seats for a film about an electrocuted killer, a giant mosquito for a movie about killer mosquitos and some unpleasant aroma therapy mist for a Japanese horror film called "The Stench").

Maggie (Jill Shoelen) is one of the students, and an aspiring screen writer. She's been having some weird dreams about a strange bearded man and plans to write about the dreams in her own movie. However, when the gang come across a strange film reel called "The Possessor" which was filmed by madman, Lanyard Gates (the same bearded man that Maggie was dreaming about), who slaughtered his family live on camera, things become very weird.

Things become stranger still when, on show night, people begin to be killed off one by one by a masked killer. Is it the mental film maker returned? What is Maggie's connection with him? And who will survive the horror fest?

Fun and surprisingly well put together for a film with not only a fledgling director, but where the director was replaced half way through!

The story is engaging and the acting is perfect for a cheesy, but very watchable horror film. The plot is one part reflective fun at older horrors and another part 80s slasher homage.

The film was actually made in Jamaica, not America, so enjoys some interesting music and Maggie's mother is played by scream queen, Dee Wallace.

"Popcorn" manages to pay homage to the shock horror films of the 50s and the gimmicks created by directors of the day, primarily Mr. Castle, who pioneered several interesting cinema gimmicks. However, the slasher (or actual horror) part of the film is pretty standard fare, it does blend well as a film, and the ending result is an entertaining and humorous film.

If you're looking for serious, mind bending horror, look elsewhere, however, as this is very much light entertainment.

[Image: Studio Three Film Productions]
 
Hani