Popcorn's Re-release

Or, How You Can Help Make This Happen

If you spend even an hour out of your day surfing the horror movie blogosphere, you've certainly come across this awesome bit of news by now. Pop culture journalist Kristy Jett (and contributing writer for Fangoria.com and Fangoria magazine as well as being a freelance writer for Horror Hound magazine in addition to running the excellent Bloodsprayer website, the link to which can be found in the column to your right) is relying on you, fans of excellently conceived cheese and nostalgic movie memories everywhere, to hop on board and help her realize a labor of love that has been several years in the making: the hope-to-be-soon re-release of 1991's slasher cum William Castle homage, Popcorn. Yes, Popcorn. That lovably wacky and weird obscure little gem from the year that brought us Danny Bonaduce attacking a transvestite prostitute, the beginnings of the grunge subculture and Bryan Adam's (shudder) Everything I Do (I Do It For You) dominating the #1 spot for unending eternity. Initially all but ignored during its theatrical run, Popcorn has since risen from its own premature burial over the years and built for itself an appreciative and loyal fan base of followers (it has hovered around my husband's top spot of favorites ever since I indoctrinated him to the film's unique charm in 2010). Though sadly, nobody responsible for DVD distribution was ever clued into this fact, as Popcorn received a single, no frills release from Elite Entertainment that was not only unceremoniously conceived (no special features of any kind, boo) but also woefully inept (the DVD maintained the VHS' grainy transfer of horribly rendered pan and scan, awkwardly stretching the movie's picture to bizarre degrees at select moments) and quickly fell into the wasteland of out of print titles. Now, a used DVD copy usually sells for no less than $60 - $100 on sites like eBay and Amazon, hence my husband's Christmas present that never was (insert Daniel's sad face, and really, ya want my boy to smile right).

Well thankfully, an enterprising young lass and longtime fan of the film has come along with the dream of setting all these wrongs to right by hopefully garnering Popcorn the extravagant re-release that the film arguably deserves. The catch is, this can only happen with your help. Kristy Jett has set up the project over at Kickstarter and donations is the name of the game folks. The required budget to finance this re-release is set at $16,000, but the there is a variety of pledges for the more cash strapped fans amongst you (me and mine right now). So, as the saying goes, every dollar helps. But first, you are probably wondering what makes this particular edition of Popcorn so special, right dear readers? Well, hows about Miss Jett tell you in her own words...

About this project

The best way to learn all about what this project is all about is to watch the video, but the crux of it is that we are making a retrospective documentary for the DVD re-release of Popcorn, along with a host of other fan-centric special features.

This DVD re-release will include all new special features including a retrospective documentary, cast commentary, stills gallery featuring behind the scenes photos and a feature entitled “Your Favorite Films Don’t Have To Make Sense” where Kristy Jett and Ryan Lieske dissect the film’s weaker elements.

The packaging will include a collector’s booklet along with a reversible collectible poster featuring all new artwork from Jeff Zornow, Christopher Ott and Steve Jencks.

We have participation from all but 2 members of the principal cast, but are working towards full participation. We will be interviewing and reuniting all cast members available and recording new special features with them for die-hard fans of this film.

The funding is to complete the retrospective documentary including some travel locations, and also to author the DVD and produce it, along with all materials associated with the DVD.

This is a completely fan-funded project.

Still not convinced that you should seriously consider forking over some dough for this cool as hell endeavor? Well then, perhaps you should check out the benefits provided to one who donates to the cause by clicking here. Because in addition to earning yourself free copies of the DVD, various poster artwork and a host of other goodies, there is also the lofty "Executive Producer" credit you could score yourself. I mean, how flippin' neato amirite? Or maybe, just maybe you are one of the unenlightened few who have yet to actually see Porcorn. Is that so? Well then, allow me to walk you through it.

A group of film students plan an all-night horror film festival in order to raise funds for their cinema club. They decide to show a number of (fictional) horror films from the 1950s that rely on gimmicks such as 3-D, Odorama, and electrical "buzzers" in seats. Unbeknownst to the group, a homicidal maniac capable of "becoming" any one of them by "wearing" their faces, is stalking the theater where the festival is being held. A filmmaker named Lanyard Gates, who murdered his family during a screening of his only film in the 1970s, The Possessor, and who allegedly died in a fire during the massacre, may or may not be the culprit. One thing is for sure, this is going to be one seriously scary all-night horror movie marathon.

Nobody is going to claim that Popcorn is a perfect film, that much is certain. A troubled production from the very start, it endured it's fair share of behind the scenes hardships before filming was even locked to begin; after a falling out with his old friend and sometimes collaborator Bob Clark (Black Christmas, Deathdream), the films writer and original director Alan Ormsby (Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things) was replaced by Porky's actor Mark Herrier (who admittedly does a pretty good job with what was left of the script by that point). Additionally, the leading role of Maggie once had actress Amy O'Neill attached before she was recast with Jill Schoelen. On screen, the movie occasionally has glaring lapses in logic, at times borrowing from Nighmare on Elm Street and its flashy supernatural setpieces a bit too heavily (but hey, this was 1991 and nearly everyone was or had been doing this), the overabundance of comedy and silliness works as often as it doesn't (simultaneously making for incredibly enduring characters while diluting the suspense and horror just a tad too much). Thankfully though, the pluses far away the minuses. We get three, count 'em three Scream Queens for the price of one what with Jill Schoelen (The Stepfather, When a Stranger Calls Back, Cutting Class, Curse 2: The Bite, Chiller) taking the lead and the incomparable Dee Wallace (who, as Maggie's Aunt Suzanne, endures Popcorn's most nerve shredding, eerie and flat-out chilling scene, alone in the darkened Dreamland theater after hours) and Kelly Jo Minter (always the sassy sidekick yet never the victim in the likes of A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child and The People Under the Stairs, cheers girl) offering their support. Tom Villard (typecasted nerd to the end) as Toby, tuns in a wonderfully sympathetic and gleefully mad performance as our movie's resident psychopath (and incidentally, one of horrordom's few out of the closet leading men to play the monster). The remaining cast shine in their own way as well, with Ivette Soler's Joannie remaining to this day, one of my all time favorite supporting girls in a slasher film while Ray Watson memorably cameos and Elliot Hurst emerged as my big boner of '91...oh Leon. The Possessor, Popcorn's possibly haunted film-within-a-film, is a suitably creepy, slice of 5 minute psychedelia. The deaths, though mostly bloodless as they tended to be after the heyday of slasher movie's reign waned, are joyfully creative (death by seat buzzer, death by giant mosquito, death by stink bomb and so on). But possibly nothing is more creative and on the mark, than Popcorn's other film-within-films playing throughout it's all night horrorthon: Mosquito! (in Project-O-Vision), The Stench (in authentic Aroma-Rama) and The Attack of the Amazing Electrified Man (in Shock-O-Scope). The rowdy audience attending the marathon at Dreamland theater may jeer and laugh at them, but it is clearly evident that the makers of Popcorn have recreated these 1950s-era sci-fi / horror films with the utmost respect and loving care (as "genuine" movies, they're quite convincing). It is this aspect of the film, the admirable homage to godfather and creator of the movie gimmick himself, William Castle, that is Popcorn's ace in the hole. Without it, it might have been just another routine (yet quirky) 80's slasher film (it was released in 1991, but the 80's aesthetic of body count films is all over this thing). But with their inclusion, Popcorn becomes something more, something unique and entirely its own; a wholly fun 90 minutes that leapfrogs back and forth from genuine quality and misfired moments of "WTF LOL HUH LMFAO" nonsensical zaniness. However, the one ball that Popcorn never fumbles is the one where you ensure that your audience leave with a smile on their face. Hell, I still smile at the memory of it. As William Castle would most likely agree, that is the finest example of showmanship.

So, what on earth could you possibly be waiting for dear readers? Head on over to Popcorn's Kickstarter page here and donate some love. You know that your sprawling horror movie collection simply won't be complete without it.

For more information on Popcorn's DVD re-release, you may visit the project's official blog here.

Additionally (as a treat), we managed to track down this oldie (but goodie) podcast of Popcorn's Derek Rydall (Mark, he of the ridiculously scrumptious bubble-butt) chatting with the guys from Natsukashi. And so, for your listening pleasure.

To reiterate one last time, all those interested in pledging some moolah to the Popcorn DVD re-release, may do so by going here. It's quick, it's easy and the world of horror will be better for it.

In conclusion:


Kristy Jett's Popcorn DVD Re-release Project

See. See what I did there? Free promotion and a review...mad multitasking skills ya' all.

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