Blu-ray Movie Review – Popcorn (1991)

Directed by Mark Herrier
Courtesy of Synapse Films & CAV Distribution
Original Year of Release: 1991
Blu-ray Release Date: October 3, 2017

When it comes to entertainment, POPCORN is one of those films that delivers in bucket-loads. It is dubbed a horror-comedy, but I found it more horror than humorous, although it certainly does a few laugh-worthy scenes. Still, there’s no denying the fright factor when the killer is onscreen. As such, this almost-lost gem from the early 90s is a lot of fun, and it’s perfect for a Halloween night movie!

If you are not familiar with POPCORN, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Synapse Films and CAV Distribution:

What could be scarier than an all-night “Horrorthon”? A group of film students finds out when they stage just such an event at an abandoned movie palace. In addition to the three features MOSQUITO, THE ATTACK OF THE AMAZING ELECTRIFIED MAN and THE STENCH, they decide to screen a bizarre short called THE POSSESSOR, whose creator, Lanyard Gates, killed his family and set the theater on fire after its first showing. Maggie (Jill Schoelen, THE STEPFATHER) has been having frightening dreams that seem to be connected to THE POSSESSOR, and as the festival proceeds, the nightmare comes true for her and her friends as they are stalked and slain by a mysterious killer. Has Gates survived to continue THE POSSESSOR’s deadly legacy?

A loving homage to 50s/ 60s B-movies (the trio of flicks shown at the Horrorthon all have accompanying William Castle-style gimmicks), POPCORN is also an insanely fun horror/comedy in its own right. Pseudonymously written by Alan Ormsby (CAT PEOPLE, DEATHDREAM), who directed the films-within-the-film, it celebrates the joys of old-fashioned creature features and 80s-style stalk-and-slay, with a great cast additionally including Dee Wallace (THE HOWLING), Tony Roberts (AMITYVILLE 3-D), Ray Walston (THE STAND), Malcolm Danare (CHRISTINE) and Kelly Jo Minter (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5). Pop some popcorn of your own and settle in to watch this new high-definition transfer, which comes with a box full of bonus features!

I call POPCORN an “almost-lost” movie because it was out of print for a long time, and therefore it was very hard to come by. The DVD copies in existence were selling for quite a bit, and at one point, I think I recall seeing them go for as high as $70. I’m not sure if I would have paid that much for it, but it’s still a heck of a movie regardless.

POPCORN is shot well and looks great onscreen, particularly thanks to the HD transfer. I love how well this one conveyed to Blu-ray; the colors are vibrant and the picture quality is excellent. The sound is superb as well. The new 7.1 sound mix is a big improvement to the old version. I found the tension to be more immersive because of the surround sound.

The special effects are minimal but quite effective. The main source of gore comes from blood, however there’s one very nice mouth-ripping scene. I won’t go into specifics, but I’ll simply say you’ll want to see it to appreciate it. My mouth hurt just from watching it!

The plot is the biggest winner in this film, though. Its gooey, campy goodness just oozes from the start, and it never stops. The film offers a truly nice combination of corniness and scares, building up just enough tension to keep you on edge. I can definitely see why this movie was in such demand when it was out of print; it entertains on many levels!

POPCORN is a definite win for me, and it’s a film you’ll probably watch multiple times because it’s so much fun. Sure, it’s over the top in places, but that’s what makes it so entertaining. Grab some friends on Halloween night and give this film a look; it’s a great way to spend an evening.

Special Features:
• All-New 2K Scan of an Archival 35mm Interpositive
• All-New Blu-ray 7.1 Surround Sound Mix Supervised by Synapse Films (Original 2.0 Stereo Mix Included)
• Audio Commentary with Director Mark Herrier, Stars Jill Schoelen, Malcolm Danare, and Special Makeup Effects Artist Mat Falls
• Midnight Madness: The Making of “Popcorn” featuring interviews with Director Mark Herrier, Stars Jill Schoelen, Derek Rydall, Dee Wallace, Malcolm Danare, Ivette Soler, and Elliott Hurst, Special Makeup Effects Artist Mat Falls, Composer Paul Zaza, and Distributor Executive Jonathan Wolf (55 minutes)
• Electric Memories An Interview with Actor Bruce Glover
• Original Theatrical Trailer, Television Trailer and TV Spots
• Still Gallery
• English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
• Blu-ray Reversible Cover Art by Chris MacGibbon
• All Region Encoded/Playable Worldwide!


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