Robin’s Third Week #23 Recommendation: Popcorn (1991)

This is the first and only movie I watched because of the tagline. I can still clearly remember the announcer saying, “Popcorn. Buy a bag, go home in a box.” Although that is a lousy reason to see a movie, it really didn’t turn out that bad. Popcorn is actually quite entertaining. And for our purposes, it is the perfect B horror film, in that it is a B-rated horror film about a special showing of B-rated horror films.

Our heroine, Maggie, is a film student who is having weird, trippy dreams. One of her classmates comes up with a great idea to have a one night film festival of bad horror films at a run down theater. As Maggie finds out, the past will come to haunt her during the films, as one by one Maggie’s classmates are killed by a psycho who seems to wear the faces of those he has killed.

While no one would call Popcorn groundbreaking, it is an original take on the serial killer genre. It is interesting if only to see how the killer incorporates the movie gimmicks into his murderous repertoire. Definitely a lost gem.

Some interesting cast notes: Maggie is played by Jill Schoelen. While that name probably means nothing to you, a couple of years earlier she was engaged to a young actor she met while filming “Cutting Class.” Unfortunately for her, the relationship didn’t work out and she never became Ms. Brad Pitt. Tom Villard, who played Toby, was a distinct character actor who had memorable roles in Heartbreak Ridge and My Girl, and who died too young of AIDS-related complications. Karen Witter, who played Joy, was a former Playmate. Dee Wallace, who played Maggie’s mom, has been in about a billion movies, but is most remembered as the mom from E.T. Finally, there is a brilliant cameo from Ray Walston, who had a long and illustrious film career that included such roles as Uncle Martin on My Favorite Martian and Mr. Hand on Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

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