When a group of film students need to raise some cash, they organise a horror movie festival at a run-down theatre, offering fright-fans a selection of old monster movies—complete with their original promotional gimmicks! As a packed house enjoys a triple bill of hokey trash (fictional B-movies ‘Mosquito’, ‘The Amazing Electrified Man’ and ‘The Stench’), a disfigured killer proceeds to use the movies’ gimmicks to bump off the students, whilst wearing a variety of latex masks to deceive his victims.
Popcorn is exactly like its title suggests: a light-hearted, teen-centric, and not-to-be-taken-too-seriously popcorn movie. Although this means it is fairly light on the gore (and features absolutely no nudity), with its pretty nifty horror-film-themed script (that any fan of the genre should get a kick out of), some fine make-up effects, and a genuine sense of fun, this early 90s offering proves to be great escapism for its duration (plus, I’m a sucker for a gorgeous brunette in peril, so the film automatically scores points with me for starring the lovely Jill Schoelen as its helpless female in distress).
The screenplay, by talented genre scribe Alan Ormsby definitely shows that the man knows his stuff when it comes to schlock horror, with the three films-within-the-film taking plenty of good natured swipes at the clichés and conventions of the genre. The cast all give spirited performances, with Dee Wallace-Stone racking up another solid horror film credit, Tom Villard giving a particularly memorable performance as goofy film fan Toby, and the always impressive Ray Walston appearing in a short but welcome cameo.
Occasionally the film gets a little too daft for its own good (the running gag where the hero continually gets hurt soon becomes tiresome), and the ending seems to rattle on forever, but there’s easily enough fun stuff in this one to make it worth checking out.