Film: Popcorn (1991) Rated: R Written by: Alan Ormsby (screenplay) Mitchell Smith (story) Directed by: Mark Herrier Starring: Jill Schoelen as Maggie Tom Villare as Toby Derek Rydall as Mark Dee Wallace as Suzanne Tony Roberts as Mr. Davis Ray Walston as Dr. Mnesyne
By the Divemistress from
Pre-screening memories: When I was a kid we had First Choice on our TV. First Choice was awesome— 24 hours of movies, seven days a week. I was introduced to a lot of films via that movie channel, many of which I shouldn’t have seen. Not at that tender age. And so it came to pass that I sat down to watch Popcorn. I think the synopsis in the movie guide read something like “people killed at movie theatre.”
Whatever, I was sold.
In point of fact, the only thing I actually remember about the story is that people are killed in a movie theatre. I vaguely recall something about the final girl being the killer’s daughter, or object of obsession. I don’t even know if I was scared, or if I actually liked the movie.
I do remember Popcorn’s setting, though. The film takes place in an old theatre which a group of film students have rigged to create an immersive B-movie watching experience; they shock the audience with electrified seats, they release stink bombs, they have a huge paper-maché ant that descends from the ceiling. I guess this part really stuck with me because it sounds like a lot of fun. Other things that stuck with me are the killer’s weird looking face and a dress that doubles as an iron maiden. That sounds less fun.
New memories: I was wrong about the ant. It was a mosquito.
As I said, I really can’t comment on my initial reaction to Popcorn—whether I found it campy or legitimately scary. The film, it is safe to say, is total camp. And though it stops short of being offensively recursive, the camp is reflected in the quality of the movie marathon being shown in the film. Equally ridiculous but also unbelievably pretentious is “The Possessor”, an old art-house film that lays the foundation for Popcorn’s plot.
I had completely forgotten about that.
The killer’s weird looking face was even more impressive than I remembered. And I wasn’t too far off on the villain’s motivations, which was surprising, given how little I actually remembered about the plot, but kind of vindicating as well.
Download Natsukashi’s ‘Popcorn’ with Derek Rydall podcast here
or, grab an audio box of hot-buttered nostalgia right here…
Our featured guest: Derek Rydall
Derek played Mark, the accident-prone punching bag-of-a-boyfriend to Popcorn’s lead, Maggie.
During the shooting of Popcorn, Derek had a life-altering experience that led him on a different path in Hollywood. Derek shared his tale with us on this very episode, so listen up, punks.
As a screenwriter, screenplay consultant, and script doctor, he has been on staff for Fox (Wildforce Rangers) and Disney, developed projects for RKO, United Artists, Miramax, Fine Line, Universal, Saturn (Nicolas Cage’s company), Deepak Chopra, Wildrice, Longbow, and the creators of Air Force One and Ghost. Additionally, Rydall script doctored on the feature films Diamonds and No Turning Back.
Rydall has worked one-on-one with numerous screenwriters, independent producers, and executives from around the world; and has sold, optioned, or been hired to write over 20 film and TV projects.
Rydall is the author of “I Could’ve Written a Better Movie than That!: How to Make Six Figures as a Screenplay Consultant – Even if You’re Not a Screenwriter,” and “There’s No Business Like Soul Business: a Spiritual Path to Enlightened Screenwriting, Filmmaking, and Performing Arts.”
Rydall’s website www.ScriptwriterCentral.com, is geared toward assisting screenwriters in taking their scripts to the next level, and training the next-generation of script consultants to analyze scripts deeper, broader, and clearer than every before.
Rydall’s website, www.EnlightenedEntertainer.com is geared toward empowering artists and entertainment professionals to walk a more purposeful and prosperous path in show business.
For those who want to keep up with all things Rydall, you can check out his personal site at DerekRydall.com.
Thanks, Derek for sharing your tales behind the scenes of Popcorn, as well as your path to your current endeavors and we wish you all the best.