Schlocktoberfest X – Day 6: Popcorn

Popcorn (1991)

Trailer:

*Spoilers Throughout*


What’s This About:
 Maggie and her film school classmates host a horror movie marathon at the same theatre that a cult leader filmmaker killed his family years prior before he succumbed to a raging fire. Now the cult leader is back killing the students in the most boring ways possible. Or is he?!

Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:

  • Movie Partners Presents…? Tis the time of the year for the wackiest and weirdest film production names.
  • Man this chick’s dream is freaky. It’s making me trip. 
  • The girl wakes up and immediately records what she dreamed in a tape recorder. 
  • Good ol’ Dee Wallace. 
  • Now Jill Schoelen is recording ideas for a movie she wants to make. 
  • Her boyfriend is begging—literally BEGGING—for sex. 
  • Oh shit. It’s Tony Roberts! And Kelly Jo Minter! And Moochie from Christine! And the chick who played the short stop in A League of Their Own! And the idiot Stork twin (not Bobcat Goldthwait) from One Crazy Summer! What a cast!
  • That’s right! Don’t knock Police Academy 5!
  • Oh so this movie is a William Castle homage. Cool. 
  • So here’s the plot. Film students rent an old theatre to have a movie marathon that features old horror movies with William Castle gimmicks (like odor-rama and mild electric shocks) to raise money to fund their film projects. Got it? Good. 
  • Is Tony Roberts dubbed? Why does his voice sound like he’s narrating this feature to his students when he’s right next to them?

Remember, I was in all those Woody Allen movies.

  • Fucking Mr. Hand himself Ray Walston. This movie might be good after all. 
  • In case you didn’t know it, I used to work at a movie theatre from 1994–1999 for a small family run chain that only had 5 theatres around the state of NJ. Hands down the best job I ever had. Started low as an usher and by the time I was 19 I was managing the last theatre that survived. It was an old theatre with only 5 screens in an old mall. Nowadays there’s no charm in these AMC megaplexes. Ray Walston is the old timey theatre owner who is raging against the changing times and wishes movie houses had more to offer like the old days. And he’s got a point. Especially after this COVID nonsense is over. There’s got to be a more enticing method to getting movie goers back in the cinemas. More classics would help as would giveaways and contests and marathons. Maybe I should buy a theatre. 
  • According to the IMDb trivia all the music in this movie is reggae despite it being “set” in California is because it was filmed in Jamaica. Which makes zero sense. The music isn’t live, the soundtrack doesn’t have to be tied to the country it was filmed in. That’s like if the only music in The Bourne movies was oompah polka music or nothing but accordions. 
  • There’s this one actress that looks so familiar to me and according to her filmography I never seen her in anything else. So my only logical conclusion is that she might’ve been a receptionist at one of my doctors when I was younger. 
  • This flick they found and are watching has a close up of a face and the mouth keeps saying I am the Possessor but at first I thought he was saying the Intercessor!
  • This dumb student film is making Jill Schoelen pass out because it’s triggering her anxiety from her dreams. I don’t know why but I’m buying this. 
  • According to Roberts, this Possessor film was made by a leader of a film cult in the 60s that dropped a lot of acid and made shitty avant-garde artsy-fartsy films that no one liked and laughed at. To get his revenge, this cult leader/filmmaker, Lanyard Gates, made Possessor without a final scene. His final scene was live on stage where he killed his family and burned down the theatre with a lot of audience locked inside. That’s absurd and I love it. 
  • But wait, if Roberts knew all this why did he allow his film class to watch Possessor then?! Seems ill-advised for a college professor.
  • Dee Wallace answers the phone and some ominous voice saying he’s possessed and soon will be the possessor is threatening her and Jill/Maggie. So somehow Maggie’s mom is involved with Lanyard Gates and his silly flicks. 
  • Dee Wallace then goes to the theatre armed with a handgun to do what exactly?
  • This movie was made in 1991 but looks like it was 1981. 
  • There’s a brief snippet of Lanyard’s flick showing on screen that speaks to Dee Wallace and mentions her by name. Now that’s ridiculous. 
  • I believe Dee Wallace is dead now. 
  • Wait. The marathon is starting now? This movie doesn’t waste much time. 
  • Maggie’s undersexed boyfriend buys tickets from Maggie with another girl. Dickhead. But Maggie doesn’t seem to care though. 
  • Ya know, I never liked Kelly Jo Minter. Her voice is just so grating to me. 
  • I liked this movie more when it was called Matinee. 
  • This fake 50s style horror movie in the marathon is called Mosquito about a giant mosquito terrorizing a small desert town. It’s actually better than Birdemic.

  • Didn’t they make a giant mosquito schlock flick in the last few years?
  • Tony Roberts is killed when the remote controlled puppet mosquito prop he used to control was taken over by Lanyard Gates and flies down and impales Roberts. 
  • Now Lanyard has the time to take a mold of Roberts face and make a realistic rubber mask for himself to pose as Roberts. That’s quite the feat!
  • Now this other oldie in the marathon was ripped off by Wes Craven’s Shocker. 
  • The chick who was in A League of Their Own tried to seduce the fake Tony Roberts and while kissing him his mask starts to rip off his face revealing a very burnt face underneath. That whole mask subplot was utterly pointless. 
  • Another girl goes to get popcorn and says thank god it’s not fattening and refuses butter so she can have a candy bar and thinks getting a Diet Pepsi will balance the whole thing out. I can’t begin to calculate how many overweight customers at my old theatre used to order a large popcorn with butter and candy and then say they should get a Diet Coke to trim down the calories. 
  • Man, this movie is only half over?! Crap. 

Schlock Clock

  • Maggie came to the conclusion that Gates is disguised as Roberts out of fucking nowhere. Mystery solved just like that!
  • The fake movie just had the line “kiss me Dick” and someone in the audience yelled “kiss his what?!”
  • Moochie dies by getting electrocuted. Moochie was also in charge of the audience-participation electric shocks related to the horror film. So when he dies and shorts out the power in the theatre as the villain in the movie dies, the audience thinks it’s part of the marathon.
  • Did she just say there are a thousand people out there in the theatre?! HAHAHAHAHA
  • After the second flick ends they introduce a reggae band to perform on stage. Ridiculous mon.
  • Not sure how the reggae band is playing any music when the power is out.
  • It’s ironic that the killer in this movie was a pretentious bad arthouse filmmaker when these dream sequences are not helping the director of this film. 
  • These kids are eating up this reggae show!
  • Reggae is great. I like it. But it is the second absolute worst musical genre for a horror film (Ska being first) especially one not set on a Caribbean island. This has to be one of the most baffling decisions ever made for a film.
  • Maggie just realized that she is in fact Lanyard Gate’s daughter! Dun-dun-duuuunnn. 
  • So was that one brief scene the only screen time for Ray Walston? He’s in this for 3 minutes? They couldn’t even bring him back to give us the impression he may be Lanyard Gates as a red herring? Wow.

  • The third movie in the marathon is an Asian based movie called The Stench. Everyone in the audience has been given crudely made nose plugs (really just clothespins) with a tag that says “The Stench.”
  • So it’s not Lanyard but Toby (Clay Stork) who also burned in the theatre 15 years ago. Not sure why he’s terrorizing his film class. I guess he’s insane. But functional enough to get into college and act normal enough to take a film class and make friends.
  • He’s wearing Toby’s face as a mask but it’s not on all the way so his ears aren’t attached so he looks like Dopey the dwarf. Frightening, I know.
  • And besides the awesome mask making technology he also has voice changing tech that makes him sound like any of the other classmates. Totally believable. When did we start to be a superhero movie?
  • I guess this is somewhat a Phantom of the Opera homage/reimagining with Toby being the phantom of the horror movie marathon. Do the filmmakers of Popcorn hate Phantom of the Opera? Have they even seen it?
  • And what was the point of Maggie thinking she was Lanyard’s daughter through her dreams? Is she Lanyard’s daughter…now I’m not sure.
  • Hey an Incredible Melting Man poster in the theatre lobby. That movie is this movie’s spirit animal.
  • I would much rather watch the shitty-on-purpose Z-grade movies that are in the marathon.
  • Matt, Maggie’s boyfriend, brought a date to the marathon but she’s now pissed because he’s been helping her out in solving this mystery. The date tries to slap him but then a big guy, who likes the date, comes out to help her out. Comically still with the noseplug on his nose and talking high pitched.
  • Kelly Jo Minter punches out the big guy and throws him and the unruly date out the theatre.
  • OK Dee Wallace is still alive and somehow is in body cast with her hand outreached still holding her gun. Not sure how Toby was able to get her to stay in that position to seal her in a cast even if she was unconscious.
  • If I’m understanding this plot, Dee Wallace was Lanyard’s wife and Maggie is in fact the daughter. Because Lanyard was dangerous and supposedly feeding Sarah/Maggie acid, Dee Wallace wanted to get away from him. He tried to kill them during his premiere and she overcame him and set the theatre on fire killing him and Toby’s mom and severely burning Toby. Whew.

  • I never introduced you to the other make classmate that meant nothing to the plot whatsoever. But he’s killed in the bathroom by being locked in a stall and Toby throwing acid or something toxic in the toilet and the vapors kill him.
  • The girl who I thought was in other movies is asking for romantic advice, to what she thinks is the other guy but is now Toby, about Toby. She’s in love with Toby is what I’m getting at and Toby now knows it but storms off because he has a theatre of people to kill.
  • Man, and to think Dee Wallace was once in E.T.
  • Matt goes over to Toby’s apartment (the chick who’s in love with Toby knew where he lived) and the cranky landlord is ranting and raving about the state of Toby’s apartment and how weird Toby is. Why is the landlord in Toby’s apartment anyway?
  • Of course Toby has newspaper clippings all over the walls concerning Lanyard Gates and the theatre tragedy.
  • Toby interrupts The Stench to put on the Possessor and of course every audience member starts booing and screaming pissing off Toby.
  • I dozed off for a few minutes but woke up just in time to watch Toby almost killed Maggie live on stage but then she’s saved by Matt, her boyfriend, and then somehow Toby gets killed by the flying mosquito prop. Yawn.
  • But my question is why is Toby re-enacting Lanyard Gate’s previous crime?! Just because he survived the fire 15 years ago but lost his parents? That’s like Bruce Wayne becoming Batman but as the villain.
  • Stangely enough, Not only does Maggie and Matt survive but also Dee Wallace (who I’m still baffled as to what her role was for Toby’s scheme) and Kelly Jo Minter and the other girl who loved Toby. It’s like they ran out of ideas on how to kill off all the college kids.

 

Was it Entertaining: I heard good things about this one but sadly I was mostly bored and bewildered by how boring it was. The acting was meh and the mystery/thriller aspect left me cold. Whatever “cult classic” label this one gained over the years is ill-gotten in my humble opinion. 

Any Good Gore: Don’t recall any.

Any Nudity: None whatsoever. They didn’t give Ray Walston enough time to strip down!

Best Quote:  You want a quote: “Fuck Popcorn” That’s my quote.

Best Scene: The (literally) 2 minutes Ray Walston was in this. Seriously, I clocked it. Two lousy minutes.

Worst Scene: Well the fact that they padded the running time to have an inexplicable to the plot Jamaican music concert in between the movies shown in the marathon is up there.

What are you people—on dope?!

Final Thoughts: I was bored, bored bored, bored by this movie. Completely useless and forgettable. Not even bad enough to be enjoyable in that regard. I hardly took any notes because it was so dull and I even dozed off towards the end and didn’t care to rewind it for this review. I’m wondering if I had seen this back in the day when I was in middle school would I have liked it and still would have a fondness for it. I can only imagine that I may have liked it back in ’91 but rewatching it now decades later I would have questioned my tastes as a kid.

Score: 2 Jamaican Jams (out of ten)

One thought on “Schlocktoberfest X – Day 6: Popcorn

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