Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 21st, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1991
Director: Mark Herrier
Writers: Mitchell Smith, Alan Ormsby
Cast: Jill Schoelen, Tom Villard, Dee Wallace, Derek Rydall, Malcolm Danare, Elliott Hurst, Ivette Soler, Freddie Simpson, Kelly Jo Minter, Karen Lorre, Ray Walston, Tony Roberts
BluRay released: October 3rd, 2017
Approximate running times: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 7.1 Surround Sound English, DTS-HD Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.95
Popcorn’s original director was Alan Ormsby (Deranged) a screenwriter, whose notable screenwriting contributions include, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, Deathdream, My Bodyguard and Cat People. Key collaborators on Popcorn include, cinematographer Ronnie Taylor (Opera, Sleepless) and composer Paul Zaza (Prom Night, Curtains).
Though it has become more common in modern horror cinema to reference films from this genre’s past. This is actually a cinematic device that has been employed long before a film like Scream ran with cinematic device. With a notable example of a film that uses this cinematic device being Popcorn, a film that predates Scream by five years. And throughout Popcorn there are several homages to horror cinema’s past.
When discussing Popcorn, the first things that immediately springs to mind is how it elements that have since become synonymous with the slasher film sub-genre. And nowhere is more evident, the in regards to its murder set pieces.
First and foremost, for many horror fans it is Popcorn’s connection to the aforementioned slasher film sub-genre is what draws them too this film. And yet, to write this film off as yet another entry from the slasher film sub-genre would be doing this film a great disservice. Since Popcorn’s most durable assets are ultimately are elements that are not commonly associated with the slasher sub-genre.
With this film’s use of tongue and cheek humor being the its greatest asset. And though dialog is one of the area’s where humor plays a substantial role. Another area where this film exacts humor is in regards to its film with in a film sequences. These films are all send up of shlocky horror / sci-fi cinema from the 1950’s that used gimmicks to help sell these films.
The premise is well executed and the narrative moves along at a brisk moment that ensures that there is never a dull moment. Visually the film does a superb job reinforcing the mood the film. With its most memorable moment being the scene where the killer reveals their identity.
Performance wise, the cast are good in their respective roles. With this film standout performances being Jill Schoelen (Hot Moves, The Stepfather) in the role of Maggie, a young woman who is being targeted by the killer due to an event from her past that she has repressed and Tom Villard (The Trouble with Dick, “We Got it Made”) in the role of outcast student named Toby, who had a troubled childhood.
Popcorn comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer was sourced from an all-new 2K Scan of an archival 35mm Interpositive. Colors are nicely saturated, black levels remain solid throughout, details look crisp, there are no issues with compression and grain remains intact. And when compared to Elite Entertainment’s DVD release, the transfer used for this release is a massive upgrade that is superior in every way.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 7.1 surround sound mix in English and a DTS-HD stereo mix in English. Both audio mixes sound, clean, clear, balanced and robust when they need too. Range wise, the DTS-HD 7.1 surround sound audio mix is a very satisfying presentation that offers a more immersive experience than its DTS-HD stereo counterpart. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include, a reversible cover art, a stills gallery, a trailer for the film (1 minute 27 seconds), T.V. trailer / T.V. spots (5 minutes 31 seconds), an interview with actor Bruce Glover titled Electric Memories (6 minutes 38 seconds), a documentary titled Midnight Madness: The Making of Popcorn (57 minutes 11 seconds) and an insightful audio commentary track with director Mark Herrier, actors Jill Schoelen, Malcolm Danare, and special makeup effects artist Mat Falls.
Topics discussed in the interview with Bruce Glover include, how he got cast, shooting in Jamaica, thoughts about his character and the film, how his role was much larger and why the producer cut down his role and critical reaction to his performance.
The extra titled Midnight Madness: The Making of Popcorn includes comments from director Mark Herrier, Jill actors 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. Topics discussed in this extra include, the origins of the film, casting, preproduction troubles and why the film’s original director Alan Ormsby replaced, onset memories, the cast, cinematographer Ronnie Taylor / the visuals, Bob Clark and the role he played in the making of this film, the score and their thoughts about the film.
Overall Popcorn gets an exceptional release from Synapse Films, highly recommended.
Note: Synapse Films are also releasing this film on DVD.