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Popcorn Movie Review

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As horror movies go, Popcorn is about what you'd expect from a story that takes place at the fictitious Oceanview campus of the University of California but is filmed entirely on location in Jamaica. With the money the seven producers saved hiring non-union crews, they were able to cast Ray Walston in a take-a-leak-and-you'll-miss-him cameo PLUS Tony Roberts for a badly played feature role as a professor. In the film-as-pain division, Popcorn is more fun than a root canal, but not half as enjoyable as renting an old American International video (or even Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death!). The least painful segments of the film are the re-creations of old horror movies from the ‘50s and ‘60s. There are no 3-D movies called The Mosquito, no Attack of the Electrified Man complete with wired theatre seats, no aromatic stinkers entitled The Stench. But someone associated with Popcorn obviously has fond memories of the gimmickry that helped to sell similar films in the past and there is genuine enthusiasm in these all-too-brief sequences. Unfortunately, the actual narrative of Popcorn has something to do with the legend of a terrible homicidal filmmaker, history repeating itself, characters trusting the wrong people, et cetera. Jill Schoelen, who turned in a fairly decent performance in The Stepfather, squeaks her way through Popcorn with negligible help from director Mark Herrier. Also wasted is Dee Wallace Stone, who presumably got to spend some time soaking up the Jamaican sun during the long stretches of the film when she is nowhere in sight. Popcorn might actually have been a much better movie if it had more of a visceral connection with the genre. After watching Andy Hardy from Carvel meets Freddy from Elm Street in the Bahamas, you may be groaning but not from fright.

1989 (R) 93m/C Jill Schoelen, Tom Villard, Dee Wallace Stone, Derek Rydell, Elliott Hurst, Kelly Jo Minter, Malcolm Danare, Ray Walston, Tony Roberts, Karen Witter; D: Mark Herrier; W: Alan Ormsby; C: Ronnie Taylor. VHS, LV, 8mm

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