Day - 15 - Popcorn (1991)
PLOT - A "Leatherface" type murderer who wears other people's faces, kills at an all-night horrorthon at an old theatre put on by a bunch of film students. Maggie, the lead character, believes it's really Lanyard Gates, a crazed film maker who killed his family live on stage, fifteen years ago. And now he's back to kill his daughter, Sara, who is believed to be really Maggie.
LOWDOWN - I always knew about the movie "Popcorn", but I really never got the chance to watch it since it always seemed every time I went to the video store it was rented out. I do remember it's iconic poster of course and the fact actors Dee Wallace Stone and Jill Schoelen were in it. Years passed and all I knew was that this was honestly one of the last better made movies as the 1990's began as horror was concerned. Even though I feel in the early to mid 90's there really are some truly awesome underrated films, they are often over shadowed since this was the decade following the madness of the 1980's where horror was king, and so weren't slashers. Even though this film is often looked at as a slasher, I don't. I see it as a truly amazing original piece of work that showed that even tho the 80's where over, the world of horror still had so much more in store for audiences like us.
Time passed and it wasn't until I worked my very first HorrorHound show in 2010 that my roommate and friend Jeanette bought Popcorn as a bootleg our first day there. That night when we returned to our motel room, I can honestly say I haven't ever laughed so hard in my life. Being typical young idiots we got a little messed up to say the least, and me and Jeanette were cackling like a pair of witches during the whole movie. It wasn't because the movie was bad or cheesy, it was because it was honestly so good. Jeanette expressed her love about this movie to be, explaining it was one of the first horror movies she remembered renting and got her into makeup effects. As the film continued, there were certain moments of the movie that honestly creeped me out. The worst being when the killer stands behind a girl he's just murdered and pretty much uses her like a human puppet. Creepy...just saying.
I thought I bought Popcorn at the end of the weekend but due to a mixup it ended up being some 70's trucker movie = fail. So for the last few months at school Popcorn always seemed to be on, and everyone was humming along "Saturday Night At The Movies." Well time passed and it wasn't until after I graduated that I saw that Fright Rags (my favorite T-shirt company) was holding a special event in Boston. At Coolidge Corner Theater, they were screening Popcorn in hopes to raise money to get the movie FINALLY released on dvd/blu-ray. Well lucky enough it was Jeanette's birthday so her and my friend Kat from school drove down that weekend and along with my friend Nate we were able to see the movie played in a actual movie theater. Fright Rags was also cool enough to release new shirts based off the movie with stunning art work. It was there I also met Fright Rags employ Kristy Jett. Kristy is a massive horror fan, and a pretty known name in the convention world. Over the last few years Kristy has become a very close friend of mine and I would like to thank the movie Popcorn for always bringing people together.
I have been lucky enough to have met Dee and Jill but this was before I discovered what a true hidden gem Popcorn is. I honestly feel had this movie been released in the 80's it might have gotten the respect it deserves. With a great setting and story line you watch as this unseen killer stalks his victims just like the Phantom of the opera. The two coolest things about this movie is first the old fashion cheesy films they show. I loved how they were mini movies within the movie. Some of those effects like the guy getting his brain sucked out were amazing! Also the little tricks they set up for the audiance such as buzzing seats, giant bugs flying, and of course gas that smeels awful. Talk about the best movie mathron e-v-e-r. Now if only Coolidge did that...
The second thing of course is the killer of Toby. He goes down in my top five favorite and most underated villans of all time. Played by the late Tom Villard of One Crazy Summer, you can't help but feel horrible for his character after you learn his tragic backstory, His reveal and speech to Maggie is one of the best honestly in horror history. I seriously was blown away when I first saw it. This was solid writting for a little unknown horror movie. I also loved how he was able to switch faces. Like I said the speical effects in this film were top notch and mind blowing. Whenever he keeps switching faces in front of Maggie I find myself puzzled going "How did they do that?". It's sad, but in his twisted messed up mind you can kinda see the logic in why he's exactly doing these things. One of my favorite scenes was when the character of Joannie thinks it's Leon and expresses her love about Toby. I get chills every time when he pauses, takes off the mask and goes "Like you?" I also hate when he's talking to Suzanne and goes "Normal stuff, normal kids of my own..." or something along those lines. I feel down right terrible. It goes to show how down right sad and human this killer is.
With creative kills, some very creepy moments, and one hell of a showdown, Popcorn is in my top 15 favorite movies of all time. This was a perfect bridge from the 80's to the 90's, and was utter perfection in almost every way. With an amazing final girl, soundtrack, and poster, I can honestly say I can't wait until this movie gets the proper DVD/Blu-ray release it deserves!