Tuesday, August 17, 2010

#57 - Popcorn - 1991

Its "even more Horror" week for me this week as I embark on my ninth week of my Big Fat Summer Movie Marathon. This is the 2nd week of horror films I have had yet with picks like the Monster Squad and my first choice here, Popcorn, they are not all the gruesome state of the art new horror type films. In fact several are the older classic ones like the original Psycho and Friday the 13th and also the Shining. Don't worry though I have added the ever so new and controversial Human Centipede to this week so it evens out. Enough about all that, lets get to the review of my first film this week, Popcorn. Below is my detailed review.

This movie was released in 1991 which is weird because I always thought this was an 80's flick. It looks very 80's and seems much older than 1991. This was not a blockbuster film by any means in fact it did quite poor in the theaters in the US therefore the cast is made up of actors and actresses who most likely you've never heard of. The main character is Maggie played by Jill Schoelen and probably the most notable actress in this film is Dee Wallace Stone who plays Suzanne. Tom Villard is easily the best character in this film as he plays Toby and did one hell of a job!

Ill start with some little known facts about the film. It was filmed in Jamaica which I thought was incredible weird. I would have never ever ever thought this film was shot outside of the USA especially in a place like Jamaica. Then again after thinking about it there was a lot of Jamaican music playing throughout the film and a Jamaican band that played at the Horror festival so maybe that should have been a hint for me. Still I was very surprised to see this film was shot out there. The Dreamland Theater in the film was actually filmed at a theater in Kingston, Jamaica.

The story was quite interesting but had one very intriguing quality that I loved and that was the all night Horror Festival that students put together at an old theater before it was about to be tore down. Basically a short version of the plot is this. A group of students put on a horror film festival at a movie theater but before doing so came across and old film strip and decided to see what it was. After watching the movie called the Possessor they learned from their teacher that the director, Lanyard Gates had gone mad and killed his family live in front of a live audience and burned the place down but they never found his body. During the night of the horror festival Maggie thinks she see's Lanyard in the theater on several different occasions and searches for him meanwhile students start getting killed off one by one.

Ok so going from a bluray week to a standard dvd format of a movie from the 1990's that looked more like a movie from the 80's was pretty drastic however it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. Your eyes can so easily adjust to whatever it is your watching so it still looked great to me even though I don't really know how much my PS3 bluray player up-converted it, maybe more so than I thought though? The clothing on the students, the sets, the music, and the entire movie as a whole looked very vintage and very 80's if you ask me and that was kinda cool especially considering the final 6 movies I have watched are all post 2003 and they were on bluray and very modern with some of the best special effects in cinema in the past 7 years. It was cool to get back to the basics.

This wasn't a jump out of your seat scare fest type of movie but it was one that was a lot of fun to watch, at least for me. I would hope for more scary and gory scenes in most of the horror films I watch however going into this one I knew the movie and the vintageness (is that even a word - spellcheck says - NO!) of it so I was not disappointed. I will however say that there were some pretty creepy scenes throughout this film that I really enjoyed and one that was actually pretty nerve racking.

The one scene that I thought was the scariest of the entire film is when Suzanne goes to the theater on her own and after entering the inside of the theater all the lights shut off and you see a quick glance of a figure running by. The sound in this scene also built up the suspense and after she was grabbed and taken back stage the blinking light showing a faint decoration of a creepy looking zombie was quite eeerie. Easily the scariest scene of the film for me.

My other favorites would have been the one where the blonde student was making out with whom she thought was the teacher but was really the killer. The killer would place the victims face on his face and portray to be them and after a brief smoochfest she quickly realized that the teacher was not quite himself. The latex face that the killer created literally tore off after the kiss. The scene where the handicapped student got electrocuted was interesting too but more sad since he really couldn't do anything to defend himself. Then again how many horror film victims can? I especially loved the scene where the killer, who turned out to be the aloof tall and skinny student Toby captured Maggie and showed himself as the killer. He was quite goofy yet also so psycho that is made it hard to look away.

This film didn't have great special effects or an all star cast but the basic premise of this film and the unique idea's of the 4th dimensional films showing at the horror film festival which included a very rank stench in one, a flying mosquito in 3D in the other, and an intense electrocution seat shock in another made this one quite entertaining. This movie was great for someone who is in the mood for a 80's style horror flick that focuses more on the story, props, and thematic elements involved but are not looking for an intense, gory slash fest. Not really scary at all but very cool plot in this one and even though more could have been done with it I think the twist at the end and the overall idea of an all night Horror Film Festival sealed the deal for me on this one. I give it a firm B!

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