Movie Review: POPCORN (Special Edition) Blu-ray

POPCORN was directed by Mark Herrier from a screenplay by Alan Ormsby (who also directed the films-within-the-film) and stars Jill Schoelen, Dee Wallace, Malcolm Danare, Tom Villard, Derek Rydall, Kelly Jo Minter, Tony Roberts and Ray Walston. The score was composed by Paul Zaza.

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) 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?

The majority of the movie takes place inside an old theater that’s playing an all-night horrorthon with a packed house of young moviegoers. There’s also a deranged master of disguise on the loose who has his eyes set on this group of film students. But why? There’s this special connection between the mysterious killer and Maggie and all of this is revealed as the movie plays out. Once the show begins, the madman starts picking out his victims one by one with each kill fitting in seemlessly with some of the scenes from each movie. As the killer takes out each of his victims (with humor and creativity) Maggie slowly puts the pieces of this nightmarish puzzle together and it ultimately brings her face-to-face with the madman who is full of shocking surprises as he reveals all.

Okay, there’s so much to love about this fun movie. It fits right in with 80’s horror but it also pays homage to the old B-movies from the 50’s and 60’s. It’s shot really well by director Mark Herrier who captures both the terror and the humor that this movie possesses. The cinematography is also impressive. The movie not only features an impressive cast of young actors who do a fantastic job with their characters but it also includes three cinematic legends – Dee Wallace, Tony Roberts and Ray Walston. A great horror movie also has to have an interesting killer and Popcorn pulls it off this charismatic psychopath who is so much fun to watch. Popcorn also features some fantastic special effects that include both practical FX and makeup FX. The kills are creative and they’re complimented by using these cool looking old school effects.

The front of the packaging features the classic artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some all-new creepy cool alternate artwork. Check it out down at the bottom of the page. The Blu-ray disc also features its own individual artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The film has been given a brand new 2K scan of an archival 35mm interpositive. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio for this stunning Blu-ray release. Another job well done by Synapse Films!

Bottom line is, it had been a long time since I had watched Popcorn and I had a crazy cool blast from the past revisting this 1991 horror-comedy. Popcorn is a loving homage to those classic B-movie creature features from the 50’s and 60’s that people used to go watch at the drive-in and it even features the fun gimmicks/props that mix in with whatever is playing on the screen at that time. The story was great and all of the characters were interesting and fun to follow. Mark Herrier did a fantastic job telling the story and bringing it to life on screen. It’s amazing how this old horror romp all came together and has become a serious fan favorite. The movie has this amazing diehard fanbase that has only grown over the years! Even though it was a low budget production that was filmed in Jamaica, the movie features some extremely impressive makeup effects and fun kill scenes for its time. They used what they had to work with and pulled it off. Even though Popcorn is an early 90’s feature it plays like a full blown horror movie from the 80’s and it’s evident throughout the watch. What the Synapse gang have done is give it a well deserved high-def upgrade that viewers will hopefully enjoy and appreciate as much as I did. Popcorn releases on a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray on October 3rd so be sure you pick this one up. Pop some popcorn and go watch Popcorn!

Distributor: Synapse Films

Run Time: 91 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1) / Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio  7.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: Good Stuff! Synapse Films has given the movie an impressive high-definition upgrade and some all-new alternate artwork. There’s over an hour of bonus content that includes a making of documentary, audio commentary, interviews, trailers, TV spots and images from the movie.

  • All Region Encoded/Playable Worldwide!
  • 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 (57:11)
  • Electric Memories – An Interview with Actor Bruce Glover (06:38)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (01:27)
  • Television Trailer and TV Spots (05:31)
  • Still Gallery (07:01)
  • English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Blu-ray Reversible Cover Art by Chris MacGibbon


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