The movies within a movie make THIS movie a joy to watch. More than anything, we want to attend the horror-sci-fi movie marathon that is the centerpiece of this film. We just don’t want to die in the process.

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Popcorn (1991)

Episode 175, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw Podcast

Todd:  Hello, and welcome to another episode of 2 Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd. 

Craig:  And I’m Craig. 

Todd:  Today, we are diving into the early nineties, late eighties with a film called Popcorn. This movie, hit the theaters, didn’t make a huge Splash. In fact, it, didn’t really get get seen much at all. Although, I think it did, a little bit of business much, much later on on home video. It does seem to have a bit of a cult following, although it again, not a huge cult following. Almost just a kind of under the radar movie that, I don’t know. After watching it for the very first time, I’m not sure it deserves that under the radar status. I wouldn’t say it’s a fantastic movie, But it does have a certain charm about it that I found compelling, really, despite its shortcomings.   But this was the first time I’d ever seen it, in my life. Wow. How about you, Craig. 

Craig:  Oh, no. I had seen it several times. I think I remember renting it when I was a kid and watching it with my cousins and stuff, and I feel like I have fond memories of it, and and watching it again. I mean, it I’ve seen it since then, you know, in my adulthood, but it’s been a long time. And, watching it again, I understand why I had Fun memories of it. I I think it’s kind of fun. You know, it’s no masterpiece, but, I think that it’s got a really interesting premise, and there’s some Cool stuff going on here. It’s kind of an homage to old school b movie horror.   I like it. I like the central plot line, but I I think that what was most fun for me, are all of the movies within the movie. Those, are are really fun, and I’m sure we’ll talk about them a lot. 

Todd:  Yeah. They’re really well done. These these movies within the movie are the kind of movies that I used to watch a lot as a kid. My dad was A child of the fifties and early sixties, and so he was really big on these black and white b movies, you know, Them and and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and stuff like that. And and our video shelf at home was just full of this stuff, and so it was very accessible to me. It was the kind of thing that I grew up on, really had a passion for, And I still enjoy those kind of movies. They’re they’re usually pretty silly and cheesy, and the acting is bad. And all of that is really highlighted by this film When this group of film students it’s like a film club at the at a Yeah.   Extension of the University of California, Which is a surprisingly ragtag and small film club for the University of California. But, they’re kind of an interesting group of people. There’s a guy in a wheelchair. There’s a a girl who’s working on her script. She’s kind of our central character here. Her name is Maggie Butler, And she is walking around with a handheld tape recorder all the time recording ideas for a script. She has a a kind of boyfriend. Not really.   He pops in and out. He’s interested in her, but she seems to be dead focused on her screenplay. Anyway, it’s it’s just it’s like a small group of people who decide that they’re They’re not gonna get the funding that they need from the school to do what they wanna do, and so their idea is to throw a crazy horror sci by marathon in 1 night at this local rundown theater that’s gonna be torn down in, like, 3 days. And so, they spruce it up, and they do their show. And in the midst of all of this, there is a killer on the loose. 

Craig:  Right. Yeah. I mean I mean, that’s That’s it. You know? And there’s kind of this central mystery thing going on. Maggie, who gosh. I had her name written down, I thought. 

Todd:  Jill Sholin. 

Craig:  Yeah. Okay. I just read because I just finished watching this movie, and so I was just doing some research that She actually was not the original actress that was cast. The original actress that was cast was, another actress of The late eighties, early nineties who I didn’t immediately recognize when I looked at her picture, but when I looked at her filmography, she was the oldest sister in Honey I the kids. Yep. I guess they shot the vast majority of this movie with her. And Then at the very last minute, they replaced her, and I didn’t read anything about why. I I have no idea.   All I know is that This, new actress who came in said that she barely interacted with the cast at all because most of what she did were just, like, close-up reshoot shots. 

Todd:  Yeah. What a shame. Right? 

Craig:  I know. Uh-huh. But yeah. For her. For her. Right. Yeah. I I don’t think that I would’ve noticed.   It it seems pretty seamless. It doesn’t feel cut and pasted together even though it seems like maybe that’s kind of the case. 

Todd:  It might explain a little bit of the weirdness. Like, there’s some scenes, you know, that it’s like this theater’s a madhouse of people coming in. It’s just filled to the brim With folks in all this dress, you know, like, they’re they’re dressed up like aliens or dressed like, like, whatever. It’s in the lobby and in the theater, and people are in there and moving back and forth. But then there are scenes of the same event where there’s absolutely nobody in the lobby but, like, 3 of these people. Yeah. And the front doors are locked, And it’s all quiet outside. And then, like, 2 scenes later, suddenly, the lobby’s chock full of people again, and it’s a mayhem.   I wonder if maybe some of that was, was due to reshoots. They just didn’t bring back all the extras for for those those scenes. 

Craig:  Maybe. I don’t know. You know? I I wanna get back to what you were talking about because that was pretty awesome. But I I just it Starts out with kind of this mystery where Maggie is having these weird dreams, and that’s how well, the very first thing we see are these, like, Strangely realistic face masks, like, floating in some sort of fluid, and and that’s that’s it. Like, it’s totally out of context. That’s all we see. And then we get into Maggie’s dream, and she’s having this weird surreal dream where there’s, like, explosions and, A young girl in white, like, running and some creepy guy, and, like, then his head is, like, on a table, and there’s this big dagger, and there’s fire, and you hear a woman’s voice calling the name Sarah. And then Maggie wakes up, and she dictates it into her little tape recorder.   Apparently, she’s been having these dreams for a while. We see her mother played by One of my favorites, Dee Wallace. Yeah. 

Todd:  We I know that’s why you picked this movie. 

Craig:  Honest to god, I’ve forgotten that she was in it. I really didn’t remember that she was in it. And and when I saw that she was, I was, you know 

Todd:  Oh, you’re just blown away. Oh my god. 

Craig:  Dee Wallace did this? I had no idea. Alright. Believe me. Don’t believe me. 

Clip:  I don’t care. 

Craig:  But Dee Wallace, I mean, she’s she plays a a a minor role in this movie, She looks amazing. My god. I just don’t know that I’ve ever seen her look better, but she looks fantastic. But she is Maggie’s, Let’s just say air quotes mom, and, she gets this weird, you know, kind of phone call with somebody with a raspy voice. You know? I don’t know. I I think the first thing he says is, like, remember who the night circle of hell is reserved for. I don’t even what that means, but whatever. But she’s getting these creepy calls.   Maggie’s having these dreams. So, You know, that’s the initial setup kind of for the mystery. And then what you said, we meet this group of ragtag kids who are aspiring filmmakers, They need the funding, so they’re gonna set up this thing. What’s so funny is Todd me, it it’s Toby’s idea. Toby is Played by Tom Villard, who is so recognizable to me. 

Clip:  Yeah. 

Craig:  He’s this tall kind of lanky guy, And he has this really interesting affect to the way that he talks that is so familiar to me. And I thought, oh my gosh. He must have been in a 1000000 things. And I looked at his page, and he was in quite a bit, but not really a lot that I remembered. Frankly, I think that what I remembered him from Was the 1 episode of The Golden Girls that he was in. I I love The Golden Girls. 

Todd:  Yeah. Well, he was in 1 1 Craig summer. I think I I used to watch that a lot on TV. Yeah. Yeah. He he was in Greece 2 as well. And I don’t know about you guys, but my sisters and I, for some stupid reason, had Grease 2 on, like, a never ending repeat at our house. 

Craig:  It’s such a terrible movie. 

Todd:  It is a terrible movie. 

Craig:  But yeah. I mean, if you’re like us and you grew up in the eighties nineties, you would totally recognize this guy. But it’s his idea to do this, horror marathon, and they’re gonna show these old b movies. Their gimmick is that all of these movies, when they were originally released, were released with some sort of gimmick. And so, like, they’re gonna show Mosquito, which was filmed in projecto vision. Mhmm. And they’re gonna show the stench, which was shot in odoroscope, and They’re gonna show, like, the amazing adventures of the electrical man or something like that that was in Shaka 

Todd:  rama. Yeah. 

Craig:  Yeah. Shaka rama. And, and and so they, you know, they set up all these gags. And and you talked about how, you know, everybody’s in costume and stuff. I just when when it all started, when they get it all going, I just was thinking, oh my god. I wanna go to this so bad. Yeah. I know.   Like, it looked like so much fun. 

Todd:  And all of these things, all of these gimmicks for these movies, these are actual gimmicks that were used, This is stolen directly from William Castle, who was a famous producer of these kinds of films. And, every single movie that he did, he had some gimmick like this to do. It would be something simple like, oh, we’re selling insurance policies if you die of fright during the movie. Or Right. 

Clip:  Right. You have 

Todd:  to sign a waiver. We’re gonna have a nurse on standby if you die of fright. But then He had these movies like, The House on Haunted Hill, which is a great Vincent Price great Vincent Price movie, actually Uh-huh. That used EMURGO technology. And it was very similar to this Mosquito thing where, at a climactic point in the movie, an actual giant plastic skeleton would come come towards the audience on a string or whatever towards them. Chakarama, again, he had a similar thing. I can’t remember what he called Electro something, but it was it was a movie called The Tingler. And he wired up some seats in the theater to buzz during key moments of the movie.   Somebody would be up there with a buzzer thing buzzing them. Every single one of these was actually done by him. So It’s a neat nod to the past, and it’s very realistic and appealing Yeah. That these guys could, like, dig up all of this old equipment and reuse it for this horror marathon. And they do it, with the help of this guy who shows up, who’s this weird dude with a with a goatee older man and, like, a top hat and cane and everything who comes in and says he was an old theater owner, and he has all of this old equipment from his theater that he’s gonna now what was he, like, a friend of 1 of them, or did he just show up mysteriously? Where did he come from? 

Craig:  I I Toby knew him. Somehow, Toby Toby brought him in. Okay. Doctor Malcolm something. I don’t know. But it’s Ray Wilson. Again, this this whole movie is full of familiar faces, especially if you were into horror, at the time, but Even, you know, some of these people were were mainstream, but Ray Wolston, we have talked about before. He was in Galaxy of Terror.   I always Recognize him from the John Malkovich of Mice and Men. He played candy in that. And he shows up just for a minute, really, to kind of explain the history of these old movies and these old movie houses. 

Clip:  We had Theaters in those days, not like these cine, omnimulti, automaplex things today with 29 screens The size of postage stamps, and we had fun. The Valley Who, the giveaways, the bullshit.   I could tell   you stories. The point is we put the butts in the seats where they belong, And they loved it. 

Craig:  They are at the Dreamland Theater, which is supposedly being torn down in 3 weeks, which makes Absolutely no sense to me because it’s beautiful. Like, it’s this gorgeous Todd movie house that doesn’t seem to have anything wrong with it. I can’t imagine why they’re tearing it down. Doctor Malcolm does his spiel and tells them about all the history and stuff. Then there’s a music montage Where they do all of their cleaning and decorating. And the first thing they do is the seats are all all covered in, like, these huge, like, paint drop cloths, and they they pulled them off to reveal these STEAM theater seats. Like, it’s it’s just this amazing theater that they are able to use. They they decorate it, and It’s just everything is so cool.   The most amazing decorations and set pieces and props and effects and and all kinds of things. The theater just looks fantastic when they are done, and they’ve all got these great Costumes, amazing costumes. Mhmm. And they’re all in character. 

Todd:  And they made the costumes, by the way. Like, they they did, like, Like, plaster casts of their faces and Right. Warm them. I mean, it’s just the all all within, I guess, a couple days. I don’t know. Right. 

Craig:  I I mean, they may the the montage makes it seem like they did it all in, like, one day. 

Todd:  Yeah. All all within the course of 1 song. They basically 

Craig:  Right. Oh, but seriously, you know, Then there there’s a scene before the festival actually begins. Oh, they find in in the prop trunk This movie reel. And the tin, the case that it’s in says, caution. Do not open or something like that. But, of course, They open it, and they watch in it watch it, and it’s this weird, surreal, like, messed up art House kind of film. 

Todd:  The Possessor. Well, it turns out to be many of the same images that Maggie was seeing in her dream. It’s a guy. He looks like Jesus. He’s in white robes, and he’s, eventually like, his head, like you said it’s on a platter on a and there’s some close ups on his eyes. And at one point in the film, there is, like, a, like, a slab and some Candelabra, and it looks like kind of a sacrifice scene where he is 

Clip:  Right. 

Todd:  Pulling out a big wavy dagger and is about to stab a woman who’s laid out on this thing. And there’s some sounds and the the the possessor the possessor, some talking and things like that happening in there. And it weirds her out. Everybody else thinks it’s kinda silly. And then, it turns out that the their adviser, The next day, he says, oh, yeah. Yeah. This must be the long lost footage from this well known kind of mythical film called The Possessor. And there was this guy, and his name was, 

Craig:  Lanyard Gates. 

Todd:  Lanyard Gates, who is this crazy filmmaker, And he put together this film and was showing it, to some people and was enacting out, at the same time, the last Scene from the film and having it shot, and he was actually going to kill somebody during this. But something went horribly wrong, And the whole theater burned down, knocked over candelabra or something. The whole theater ends up burning down, and then they thought that the This film had been lost forever, but it, of course, it turned out in his trunk. 

Craig:  Yeah. I I just thought it was funny. Like, the guy, mister Davis, their adviser or whatever tells them that this guy, Lanyard Gates, was, some sort of, like, cult Film guru and led this group that used to drop acid and then make films. Yeah. Which Kinda funny. 

Todd:  Well, we talked about that earlier. I well, no. I guess I guess I guess earlier, we’re talking about that guy who played the old Man in Poltergeist 2. Yeah. They used to drop acid and do plays, not films. 

Craig:  Right. But but similar. Yeah. And somehow, I feel like he made the 1st part of the film and some people saw it and ridiculed him for it, and, like, the Acting out of the final act was like his revenge or something. I don’t know. They he didn’t like to be laughed at. But whatever. Yeah.   I mean, it’s just like, Maggie’s dream, and she she faints because it’s so shocking to her. And the club decides as a group unanimously that it’s too morbid to I mean, it’s somebody suggests maybe we should show it, and and they said, no. It’s it’s too morbid. You know? Nobody wanna wants to watch a movie where some Guy actually murdered his family, and people actually died, so they they shelve it. They decide they’re not gonna do it. But Maggie asks her mom about it, And, her mom obviously you know, she knows She’s super cute. Like Gee yeah. Have you ever heard of Lanyard Gates? What? What? Who? Never in my life. 

Todd:  Lanyard who? 

Craig:  Yeah. Right. Right. I I’ve never heard of him. By the way, I need you to drop out of this festival right now. Yeah. But the the girl, Maggie’s like, you know, no. I can’t.   I’m too much in it. And the mom’s like, okay. Well, I guess I have to trust that you’re, You know, big girl now. You can take care of yourself. But then after Maggie goes to bed, Suzanne, the mom, gets, another call, And it’s that creepy voice again that says, I’m the possessor. I want her. And, you know, Suzanne’s like, no. But he says, well, if you wanna Todd me.   I’m at the theater where you can come and you can bring your little gun like you did last time or whatever. 

Clip:  Okay. 

Craig:  So Suzanne yeah. So Suzanne goes off Todd the theater, and, you know, here’s Dee Wallace with her little purse gun, you know, like, stalking around. And this is really kinda the only part of the movie that I have a serious issue Because she shows up, all the lights on the outside on the marquee pop on. Okay. Fine. But then all of the letters in the marquee shoot off at her. Mhmm. The marquee just magically changes to the possessor.   A ticket automatically pops out of the ticket dispenser, and she takes it, and then the door automatically opens and she walks in. Now, Ultimately, it turns out that this is just some crazy guy 

Clip:  Yeah. 

Craig:  Doing this. Mhmm. So How did he do all that? 

Todd:  It’s pretty it’s pretty incongruous. Yeah. They’re really They’re really playing a trick on you here. The filmmakers are trying to make this seem supernatural during this scene. And by the way, this scene is a great scene on its own. 

Craig:  Yeah. 

Todd:  You’re right that it doesn’t make sense with the continuity of the movie. But as a scene, it’s really compelling and cool, and it’s well Shot, and it’s well lit, and it’s suspenseful, and it’s got great camera angles and stuff. And, you know, it’s your typical she’s an idiot walking right into this trap. 

Craig:  Right. 

Todd:  And there’s There’s the this movie showing on the screen, and she stands there and watches it and all this stuff. Anyway, she ends up, like, disappearing, essentially. Like, we don’t know we don’t see her again until the end. 

Craig:  Well, she hears, like, she hears somebody running of course, it’s all dark around her. She hears somebody running around, and then She sees somebody coming towards her, which, again, I don’t really understand. 

Clip:  Yeah. 

Craig:  She sees somebody coming towards her and she shoots them. And, like, she’s calling him lanyard, so we know that She knows who this guy is. And she shoots him and he falls, but then she, like, backs up against a projection screen And these big arms pop through the screen and pull her away, and then we don’t see her again, like you said, until the end of the movie. I’m still not sure. Like, was The was the thing that she shot supposed to be, like, a rigged up dummy or something? 

Clip:  I don’t 

Craig:  know. I because it didn’t look like it. 

Todd:  It’s all pretty nebulous. It’s just as is the possessor showing up on the marquee miraculously. You know? 

Craig:  Well, in talking to her. Like Yeah. Which, again, if when you know the end of the movie, It doesn’t make any sense, but No. Whatever. I mean, it’s it’s it’s a good spooky scene, so Yeah. Fine. Whatever. And then, Maggie wakes up in the morning, and I was you know, in my mind, even though I’ve seen this before, it’s been so long, I couldn’t remember.   I’m thinking, won’t she think it’s weird that her mom’s not there in the morning? But she wakes up and, like, breakfast This is all prepared for her, and there’s a note from her mom that’s like, tonight’s the night. Good luck. Uh-huh. This is So alright. 

Todd:  How how did that happen? I don’t know. Yeah. Well, the movie has a very scream vibe to it a little bit. 

Craig:  Oh, yeah. Yeah. 

Todd:  Like, just the way it starts with her kind of a and and the pacing of the movie is a lot like the pacing of Scream as well. I bet it’s like, Pink Floyd. Right? You know how if you play The Wall no. Right. Yeah. Dark Side of the Moon 

Craig:  Dark Side of the Moon. 

Todd:  Along with The Wizard of Oz? I think if you played Scream along with this movie, and you Todd them at the same time. It’s like they hit the same beats. Yeah. It sure feels like it. You know? 

Craig:  It’s funny. You know, I hadn’t made that connection. And now that you say it, yeah, they’re very much, alike with the backstory and, you know, this killer out or what turns out to be revenge and 

Todd:  And all these teenagers, and they’re all friends. And then it turns out, spoiler alert, that one of their friends is actually the guy. 

Craig:  Right. Right. That leads us into the festival, which we’ve already talked about. But I I can’t say enough. You know? Like, you Say these people are in costumes, we’re not talking about, like, lazy 

Todd:  throw 

Craig:  a sheet over your head costumes. We’re talking about, like, Intricate. Like, somebody took time to put these costumes together, costumes. One of my favorites was the guy who I don’t know. He kinda looks like a mad scientist, but he has a, an extra prosthetic head, like, growing out of his shoulder, and the head can vomit Met on demand. Like, that was awesome. 

Todd:  But with the nice with the nice eighties touch of both him and the head wearing dark shades. Yeah. Like, this movie, it was like everybody who was coming to this thing, like, raided the warehouse down at Paramount or something. Like, they need 

Clip:  do you 

Todd:  know they needed, like, another scene of of a break in at, the props closet at 21st Century Fox or something like that 

Clip:  Yeah. 

Todd:  To to to Explain how everybody got these wonderful, gorgeous, incredible costumes for this It’s 

Craig:  like 

Todd:  this thing. 

Craig:  It’s like Comic Con For, 

Todd:  like Yeah. 

Craig:  5th fifties and sixties b movies. Like, everybody looks like they could have stepped out. Not everybody. Not everybody’s in costume, but a lot of them are, And it looks great. And all of the, members of the club who are sponsoring this, they’re all in costume and playing roles, and it’s so much fun. You know, when I was in college, we did a screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The theater department hosted 1, and and we all dressed up as the characters and played the parts and and whatnot, and and that was really fun. And that’s the only, you know, similar experience that I have to this.   But that, Compared to this was totally low budget and lame. Like, this is amazing. I I would buy my ticket for this Todd, if it if it were happening. 

Todd:  It’s okay. 

Craig:  And they’re showing these movies, and they’ve got this great clock that, like, is kind of a a skeleton that’s squeezing a a heart and blood drips out of the heart. And every time the clock screams, that means The next movie’s about to begin, and they start showing these movies. And the first one that they show is, Mosquito. These movies, they show us some fairly extensive footage from these movies. Yeah. And it’s all Original footage. Like, these aren’t real movies. I mean, they all of them are inspired by actual movies from the fifties sixties, or at least I believe they are.   Yep. But, You know, they they shot these for this movie, and they’re so fun. They are. Like, they’re so much fun. 

Todd:  They are because, you know, they’re they’re they’re satire, but they’re still the like, these movies really to satire, these movies doesn’t take A lot. 

Craig:  Right. 

Todd:  You know? You just basically have to make a movie like that, and and you’ve got your satire. And that’s what these films do. So it’s just These these real earnest actors driving down country roads talking about mosquitoes and 

Clip:  What in tarnations could’ve done this, doc? There’s an area drop of blood left in any My sheep. Feeds mace skater. Wait a minute. Look at this large puncture wound in back of her neck. Are you serious? 

Todd:  Giant mosquito attacks the top of this, pickup truck, or was it a convertible? I don’t know. 

Craig:  It was a pickup truck because the mosquito Grabs on well, and just, like, you know, they do all the old school effects where, you know, there’s the shot of the people in the truck where, obviously, they’re in front of a screen and, like, somebody is off the side of the truck, like, you know, pushing a board underneath to make it, you know, shake to look like they’re driving. And then it’s a a a cut completely away from the truck to show the mosquito flying. So there’s no, like, Size perspective or anything. It’s just because the mosquito’s so huge on the screen, we believe that it’s a huge mosquito. And You can clearly see the ropes, and, like, there’s no realism to it at all. I mean, you know, it’s it’s clearly a prop on strings, but then they, you know, make a big noise on the top of the trucks and, bring the some legs down over the top so we know it’s on the Todd. And then they cut to the mosquito, you know, on the top of the truck, but we don’t see the actors anymore. And it’s just, you know, all these movie tricks that they did, and And then the mosquito drills its, I don’t know, sucker, like, down into the Trucking into the farmer guy’s head, like 

Todd:  Stinger, Craig. 

Clip:  It’s called   a stinger. 

Craig:  All its blood out. Mosquitoes don’t sting, Todd. 

Todd:  They don’t? Oh, please. What Todd they do then? 

Craig:  I don’t know. Oh. They’re not bees. Oh. 

Clip:  It’s in 

Craig:  the giant 

Todd:  There’s a difference. 

Craig:  Oh, okay. Well, whatever. Anyway but yeah. I mean, it’s just it’s Yeah. It was just so much and I’m not. You know? Like 

Todd:  You’re not into these Like, I am 

Craig:  not well, it’s not that I’m not into them. It’s just that I’ve not had a lot of exposure. Like, I’ve not sat down and watched them. I appreciate them for what they are. And in in small doses, you know, I’ve watched clips, and and, I’m also a big fan of, Mystery Science Theater 3,000. They do these movies sometimes, so I’ve seen them in that context. But that was another part of Why this was fun? Yeah. Because it’s all happening in this festival atmosphere, so the audience is very much interacting.   They’re yelling at the screens. They’re riffing on it. They’re Yeah. Throwing popcorn, and I don’t know. I mean, it just seemed like a blast. 

Todd:  Yeah. You would wanna be there. Yeah. You wouldn’t wanna be the guy, activating the mosquito. What he, I guess, is their it’s their adviser. Right? Yeah. Who’s the one operating the mosquito by a remote control and eventually swings it down towards the audience on this big wire that goes across the Craig, And it lights up, and it’s actually a really cool prop, and it also has a big stinger. Yeah.   And it so it kinda swings in front of them. But then, above him on the catwalks, even higher catwalks, you see a guy with another remote. And, he takes over, basically. And, turns the mosquito back around, and the mosquito flies up into the flies to stab him. 

Craig:  Mhmm. 

Todd:  And it’s a pretty brutal little scene there where he stabs him right through the chest and, kills him. And then you See from overhead, this big burly figure with a hat on and a coat who drags him away, drags the body away. Now this this same figure showed up to Maggie in the beginning. Maggie was doing tickets in the ticket office. Yeah. There’s a guy who came up and said, one, please. I’m really looking forward to seeing the possessor or something like that. Before she could look up 

Craig:  And he calls her Sarah. 

Todd:  Yeah. That’s oh, yeah. That’s important. He calls her Sarah. And then before she can look up, he disappears. And so While this whole festival is going on, now Maggie is sort of singularly focused on trying to find this guy because she thinks he might be. I guess she says she thinks he might be killing people. Right? She thinks there’s a killer on the loose.   Yeah. Well Even though I don’t think she has any evidence that this could go on. 

Craig:  I don’t know. She kind of figures things out really or at least, like, she gets on the right trail really fast. Like, She’s like, oh my gosh. It must be Lanyard Gates. Oh, well, yeah, I guess it must be if you say so. I mean, like, every everybody thought he was dead, but apparently, you Saw 1 guy, and so it must be him. Well They take him a little 

Todd:  they take her a little too seriously. Yeah. She takes 

Craig:  And he and, like, the guy I mean, we don’t really get to see him in the beginning, but, like, when he goes to grab the ticket, his hands have burn scars. So 

Todd:  Yeah. 

Craig:  You know, supposedly, this guy died in a fire, and it comes out later that they never actually found the body. So, sure, it could be him, but she just gets there really fast. 

Todd:  Yeah. 

Craig:  You know, I was also getting major, major shades of The Phantom of the Opera. I mean, like, that’s Basically, kinda what the story is to a large extent. This mutilated guy kind of haunting this theater and Seeking out, you know, his revenge or or whatever it is that he wants. In this case, you know, in in Phantom of the Opera, it’s You know, he’s going for the girl for romantic purposes. And this one, it’s not for romantic purposes, but he’s still going for the girl and very much A Phantom of the Opera vibe. 

Todd:  Yeah. That’s right. 

Craig:  And I’ve read I think some of the film a couple of the filmmakers, the guys who directed this, Mark Carrier is the guy that’s credited for directing it, but I guess that at some point, he was let go. And another guy named Alan He ended up being uncredited, but I guess he did a lot of the work on it. And I don’t remember which one it was, but one of the or the other of them was either the writer The or the director of a version of Phantom of the Opera starring Robert Englund, which I haven’t seen. 

Todd:  Yeah. I I think you might have it reversed. I thought it was Alan Ormsby who started out directing it, and then, later on, Mark was brought on. 

Craig:  Oh, maybe maybe maybe that’s why Ormsby’s on credit. 

Todd:  Ormsby Ormsby was did write this, and he actually, he’s a good friend, apparently, of Bob Clark’s. He But Yeah. We’ve talked about Barb Clark on here before. 

Craig:  Oh, yeah. 

Todd:  And he worked very closely with Bob Clark on some of their earlier efforts, like, you know, there’s sort of no budget, kinda bargain basement movies that they did, that led to bigger and bigger things. Like, I think the first one they worked on was Children shouldn’t play with dead things. 

Craig:  Yep. Mhmm. 

Todd:  And, actually, Alan Ormsby went on to write Mulan as well. Yeah. At least some of it, not the whole thing. 

Craig:  Some of it. Right. 

Todd:  And so, you know, he’s he’s not bad. I guess he just didn’t cut the mustard. It’s not Really clear. Nothing that I read online says exactly why he was booted out of it. But I guess Bob Clark, at some point, had some hands in this. Like, either he was brought in to direct one of those sequences, or there were some rumors that he came in and he directed portions of the movie himself When Things Were in Trouble. It has a real story history, and I didn’t get to see it. But, apparently, on the DVD version of it, there is a whole featurette that people said goes into honest detail about what happened behind the scenes of this movie.   I wish I wish I had been able to find it before we had this podcast, but I I Sure. I couldn’t find it, but, yeah, it would be really interesting to know. 

Craig:  Well and, you know, after, I agree. You know? It I was getting ready to go on with the plot, but I do wanna say I agree. You know, it does seem like there are lots of stories behind this movie that I just couldn’t find the answers to. 

Clip:  You know, replacing the lead actress so late into the movie, replacing 

Craig:  the director. And I’m so late into the movie, replacing the director. And I have no idea if those 2 things coincided or had anything to do with one another, but, It would be nice to have some so listeners, if you know any of these answers, share them with us. We’re genuinely curious. But, after, mister Davis gets killed, we see the killer make a mister Davis mask. Now having watched this before, I, At this point, kind of felt like the movie gave us a major hint to who the killer was Super early in the movie because when they’re setting up for the, festival I won’t say who just in case you don’t want until we get to the end of the the podcast, but one of the characters is making these plaster masks Mhmm. In that Setup scene. So if you’re paying attention, you know who has the skills to make these masks.   But anyway, so they they make a mask Ask of mister Davis. And then we get the next movie, which is attack of the amazing electrified man, which, you know, is very much in the same vein as Ito, it’s this crazy guy. It’s it’s it’s basically kind of the movie Shocker. 

Todd:  Yeah. Although I felt like it had this weird kind of German expressionistic Silent film vibe to it. It was little like the Cabinet of Doctor Caligari or, like, Metropolis and some of the I mean, There was talking in it. Uh-huh. But then there are points when, you know, there’s just these odd set pieces, and the guy is just walking and Emoting and and you know what I’m talking about? 

Craig:  No. You 

Todd:  don’t even know the movies I’m referencing. What are you talking about? 

Craig:  I’ve heard of them. 

Todd:  It’s a weird mix of this b movie slash, German, yeah, postmodern filmmaking that that Goes even further back. So I thought it was it was the one of the more bizarre of the 3 movies that we saw in that it was hard for me to pinpoint exactly what Kind of what movie they were parodying there? 

Craig:  Yes. And and I I do think that it’s interesting that you say that because all of the movies could have been entirely similar, and that would have been fine. But they do give them somewhat distinctive qualities. And if you’re right that this one does have, You know, a German or whatever sort of influence. It makes sense then that the last movie, The Stench, is kind of a Asian 

Clip:  Over 

Craig:  yeah. Horror film. 

Todd:  It’s like an It’s like an overdubbed monster movie from 

Craig:  Right. Right. 

Clip:  Right. It 

Todd:  it’s hilarious. I wish we had seen more of that one, to be honest. I that was the one I was the most interested in seeing more of, and that was the one we only saw a couple 

Craig:  of years ago. True. This movie is built at least on IMDB. I don’t know how it was marketed, but, it’s built on IMDB as a horror comedy. And I can see that, though, it’s not and I don’t think that it was intended to be a laugh out loud comedy, but there are funny parts And one of them is, you know, Maggie’s pseudo boyfriend shows up at the theater with another girl, but then when he sees that Maggie is there. He goes to kinda try to flirt with her. And when he comes back, some big guy has taken his seat next to this sleazy girl that he’s there with, and There’s an interaction between them where the big guy stands up and knocks Mark out. Like and it’s it’s barely worth even mentioning, except for I want you all out there in the world to know that there are comedic, elements, of this movie too. 

Todd:  Yeah. Beyond a guy getting stabbed with a giant mosquito, 

Craig:  There are other Critics, just everyday Joes. And, somebody said, it it’s kind of amazing that a horror Movie with few to no jump scares, no gore, really, and no boobies Can be as entertaining as this movie is. And and I agree. You know? It’s it’s really not gory. I mean, there’s Some imagery that’s maybe, you know, a little strange, but there not a lot of blood, Certainly no intense violence. No overt sexual stuff going on here. But I did find I was entertained throughout. I was not bored.   I thought it was, a fun romp. And and the little things, I I my fave well, okay. So during the Shocker movie, Maggie is listening to her own tape recorder, and the scary voice comes on and says, your life has been a dream. You are possessed. And she’s like, but then Mhmm. Bud is, Bud is the guy in the wheelchair. And I recognized him 2. And I thought, oh, again, he must have been in a 1000000 things because he’s so recognizable to me.   No. Just a couple of things that I remember. He was in the curse. Did you ever see The Curse of Wil Wheaton from the eighties? 

Todd:  I haven’t seen it, but it’s on my I think it’s on our list. 

Craig:  We’re gonna 

Todd:  do it for 

Craig:  a minute. Todd, I love it. But he plays the older brother in that. He’s like shocking people. And then Tina, who is the blonde kind of sex Pot 1. She’s played by Freddie Simpson. Again, recognized her. Looked her up.   She, played Ellen Sue in League of Their Own, The pretty blonde one from A League of Their Own. Anyway, she goes off and she’s looking for mister Davis, and she finds him. We, of course, know that it’s really the killer in a mister Davis face mask. I also didn’t quite understand this. Is he making latex masks, or is he, like, preserving their faces and wearing their faces? 

Todd:  I think he’s making latex Masks. I’m pretty sure that’s what he’s doing, because he’s pulling them on and off like like makeup. And he’s got his own, obviously. 

Clip:  Yeah. 

Craig:  Yeah. You 

Todd:  know, there’s that one scene. Yeah. Yeah. I’m pretty sure he that’s what he’s doing. 

Craig:  Alright. Makes sense. Anyway, so she, like, Flirts with him and starts making out with him and, like, his it it is. It is latex because when they are making out, like, I don’t know if it sticks to her face or what, but, like, she pulls away from him and, like, it, you know, it’s stuck to her face, and it’s all stringy and sticky, and he kills her. I don’t know how. But then he holds her up like a puppet. He uses her to talk to Maggie and Mark. In the you know? I thought that was really funny. 

Todd:  It’s Funny. It is a little funny when you describe it. It’s pretty disturbing when you see it. And It is. Like like you said, the movie doesn’t have a lot of gore. But the scenes that we’re describing actually do come across as a bit disturbing. Like, even her peeling his face mask kind of away is really pretty upsetting. And even the guy getting stabbed with a mosquito and later on, the mosquito comes in in what I thought was one of the more one of the more shocking scenes in the movie.   Yeah. All of these things, they sound really silly, but without the gore even, it just strikes an interesting balance, I think. Yeah. You know? I mean, it kinda works. Against all odds, it all really worked for me. 

Craig:  Oh, I think it definitely works. I mean, it looks good. It’s It’s done well. It’s it’s shot well. It looks cool. 

Todd:  And 

Craig:  I’m I’m not complaining at all. I I enjoyed You 

Todd:  know, now that we’re talking about it, this movie owes a great debt to an earlier movie too, an earlier Vincent Price movie called The Abominable Doctor Phibes. Have you ever seen that? 

Craig:  No. I know what it is. 

Clip:  Oh, 

Todd:  god. We have to do it on here. Okay? The villain is very reminiscent of the Abominable Fives. But The other aspect of it that’s so interesting is that the method in which they kill people are slightly comic, but also disturbing and also fitting to the plot and what’s going on. This is so vibes. Like, there’s just this dark comedy about it. And, the bit where they kill Bud is, You know, straight out of that as well. Here is bud in a wheelchair, sitting in the box off the box seats or whatever, operating the Shakorama console, Zapping people in their seats, which, by the way, it’s not like a simple buzzer.   It’s not like a simple shock. It’s like mini explosions going off underneath these people’s seats below. It’s it’s And 

Craig:  you let you can it’s so much that you can see the electricity like there’s sparks. 

Todd:  Yeah. It’s it’s pretty dramatic, and it and that would actually be pretty awesome. But as well as probably illegal. Yeah. But, yeah. So, anyway, the killer comes up behind him and, straps him down and puts clamps on his, chair. He’s turning his chair into an electric chair, which is quite clever. But then he slaps a tape recorder In front of him and Pitts play, it’s freaking saw, man. 

Clip:  Well, good. You’ll get a chance out of This watch, Mikhail. The lights will go on the following hour. Red, blue, green oh, what’s that? Green, Reason. Oh, I forget. But the important light is that yellow when it turns on, but so do you. 

Todd:  It’s Saw. It’s even like the same voice. 

Craig:  Oh, yeah. Yeah. 

Todd:  He hits play on it, and he says, now you will be and he basically runs down what’s gonna happen to him that as these lights on the console turn on, once it gets to this certain light, he’s gonna get fried. And so the he runs away, and this this guy you know, Bud is struggling to, like, reach the something on the console to yank it out, but he doesn’t get there in time. It it’s like a total sauce setup. 

Craig:  It is. 

Todd:  If from the tape recorder and everything, I 

Craig:  And the scene was the scene was tense because you see these lights coming on, and you know that when the last one comes on, he’s supposed to get electrocuted. Meanwhile, he’s struggling with his hand which is strapped down to his wheelchair, he’s struggling with his hand to try to unplug the socket or whatever, and and he’s So close. And he’s so close for so long, and you’re just like, come on. You can do it. You can do it. But he can’t to it. And so when the guy on the screen gets electrocuted, he gets electrocuted too. And it probably wasn’t a particularly expensive effects, but I I thought it looks good.   I mean, this is such a drive in movie. You know? I didn’t even consciously do it, but you forgive maybe some little things here because Okay. So maybe the electric maybe the electricity, you know, encasing his body didn’t look particularly authentic, but it looked Fun. Like, it was a a cool looking effect, and I I don’t know. I just I really enjoyed it. But right before he’s electrocuted, I have to give a out Todd my favorite line, and I remember this from when I was a kid. We quoted this all the time, and it’s just in the background. It’s just the crowd riffing on the movie, but somebody in the movie says, kiss Somebody in the audience goes, kiss your what? And I just remember us Saying that all the time, we’re kids.   He’s coming this way. 

Clip:  Kiss me, dick. This is your what? 

Craig:  Apropos of nothing but hilarious. Oh, well. And then Maggie goes to Toby and is like, oh, this is Happening. You know, the bad guy is here, and he’s like, oh, okay. Well, we definitely should call the police, but first, we need to go downstairs and get the lights back on because when there was, you know, the electrocution or whatever, the the power went out. She’s like, first, we have to go downstairs and get the lights back on, and so he takes her down to the basement. 

Todd:  But wait. But wait. While the power is out, the way that they’re entertaining the crowds is they’re bringing some Jamaican band up on stage to play reggae? 

Craig:  Yes. There and we are we missed it at the beginning. Like, when the festival first started, there was just a random rap guy outside the theater too who did this, like, reggae rap. It was pretty amazing. 

Todd:  Apparently, they filmed this in Jamaica, so they must have used, like, local talent to come in and jump into this movie, which is always fun. 

Craig:  I loved it. I loved, the music in this movie. 

Todd:  It’s such a non sequitur, though. I mean, it’s so out of It is. Left field. 

Craig:  Oh my gosh. But the crowd is so into it, and everybody’s dancing and having a great time. Again, wish I was there. But, like, even in the the music montage In the beginning, when they’re setting up the theater Yeah. It’s all set to that oldie. I don’t know who originally did it, but Saturday Night at the Movies. And, It it I mean, it was just the perfect atmosphere for what was going on. The and and then at the end of the movie, as was often the case in these eighties movies, there is, an original song that references, you know, the movie.   It’s oh my gosh. It was Yeah. Good throughout. 

Todd:  It’s a real throwback. It’s quite nice. 

Craig:  Yeah. But, anyway, Toby takes Maggie downstairs where the lights are out and their Flashlight goes out or something, and he disappears. And then for a split second, she sees mister Davis, like, Slide through a door, and then she sees Tina, like, I don’t know, just out of the corner of her eye or something. The stench is playing Upstairs, like you said, we don’t get to see too much of this, which is unfortunate, but I love that gag, like the smell o vision gag where they pump in the odors through fog, through different things in the theater. Love it. And then we get then here it is. It’s the big reveal. All along, It’s been Toby.   Yeah. And the reasoning behind it is that his mother was a member of Lanyard Gates’ cult, and they had been sitting in the front row of the possessor. When all this went down, Gates Did kill Maggie’s mother on stage in front of everybody, but then Maggie’s Aunt Suzanne came in and rescued her, and somehow a candelabra got turned over and the whole place went up in flames. Toby’s mother died in the fire, but he was saved, but he was severely burned over, like, 90% of his body. And so and he’s gone through his whole life, you know, being this monstrous thing that you know, Undergoing these terrible reconstructive surgeries, we see him in his true form. He also shows her. He gives her a demonstration of how he puts on the masks, and he uses, again, just like Scream, like, voice changing technology Gee to change his voice. And so he gives her a little show, you know, of the different masks and things.   But we see him in his natural form, and he’s all burned. And I thought His makeup looked great, and I thought that Tom Villard did an amazing job in this performance. 

Todd:  Fantastic in this movie. I mean, he was compelling. And and these scenes were kinda long and maybe even a little too long. Like, there was a lot of exposition. There’s a lot of him running around throw I mean, he throws on, like, 5 different faces, and and it goes on forever. But gosh darn it. This guy is really good. 

Craig:  And it 

Todd:  was really Fun to watch him get unhinged, you know, and kinda go nuts. 

Clip:  It’s my scarecrow in Oz face. Cute.   You’re crazy. What? It’s just dawned on you? That is great, and I’m the one who’s crazy. You can’t say I lost my sense of humor. Daniel. 

Todd:  You’re right. This is where it really feels very Phantom of the Opera like. His makeup is good, and he’s going crazy. You know, I feel really bad, because Tom Villard, he didn’t live very long. He No. He died a few years after this. And, apparently, you know, this is back in the late eighties, early nineties when AIDS was was huge. Like Yeah.   You had AIDS, and you had a death sentence. And he Yeah. Confessed to the director, I guess, of this film on his 1st day of shooting that he had AIDS, which would have been, probably something that he was keeping hidden 

Craig:  Oh, yeah. At that point. 

Todd:  So it’s really quite tragic. I I would love to this guy could have been the next Tom Hanks. You know? I mean 

Craig:  Oh, gosh. He was really talented. I mean, he was really big. You you say Tom Hanks. I I I’m thinking more along the lines of, like, Jim Carrey. Like, huge Choices. Really bold choices. And Jim Carrey kinda grates at my nerves sometimes.   I think that he’s very talented, but I can’t deal with the whole Ace Ventura energy. But this guy, he makes those big Todd choices, and he really you know, he seems unhinged. Mhmm. He plays it Very well. And, also, just enough sympathetic in ways Even though he is the killer and the villain of the movie, he’s kind of a tragic villain. He’s kind of been a he was a kid when this happened to him, and and it’s something that he’s had to live with. And and ultimately, you know, he’s totally nutso, But what he says is, I want to recreate that night. I wanna finish the movie because if I finish the movie, then none of it happened and everything will be okay.   Now, of course, obviously, that’s not true. You know, that’s entirely delusional. 

Todd:  And she has the best my favorite line in the movie. She looks at him and says, okay. That makes sense. 

Craig:  Yeah. 

Todd:  And cut away. Oh my gosh. That was a brilliant moment. 

Craig:  It was great. It was great. But so, anyway, so that’s what he does. He puts on Possessor, which, you know, the audience, like, what is Craig, and they are back behind the screen. I love these scenes in movies where people are behind the projection screen in a movie theater. It’s just such it’s such a great backdrop, you know, for a scene. Yeah. Just when the movie ends, which is when, you know, the fire would have happened or whatever.   Again, continuity wise, it doesn’t Really make any sense, I don’t think. The projection screen raises, and there he is, and he’s got The whole set’s set up, and he is gonna sacrifice Sarah slash Maggie, and He plays to the audience like, I was going to kill her, but do you really want me Todd, or do you want me to spare the poor virgin? And, of course, then the audience goes wild. They’re like, killer. Killer. 

Todd:  Yeah. They think it’s just part of the show. You know? I mean Right. It’s so smart. Right? He’s gonna kill this woman in of them, and they’re they’re not gonna even realize it. 

Craig:  Right. Oh, and they’re they’re They’re into it. Plotting. And, yeah, they’re totally into it. 

Todd:  Yeah. They’re Egging him on. And, you know, as a viewer, you watch this, and I’m like, jeez. How are they gonna get out of this one because of that fact? You know? There’s nobody’s gonna rush the stage and save her because nobody thinks there’s a problem. And And they’re just feeding on he’s just feeding on their energy, which is making him even worse and worse and worse. It’s it’s really it’s really cool scene, I think. 

Craig:  It is. And and Todd Villard has great energy, and he really is playing the Craig. And he’s big and over the top and and a good performer. I would have been excited. I would have been telling him to kill her. Yeah. Tap her. And and he rolls out, Suzanne, like, in The full body cast with the gun pointed at him.   So, you know, Dee Wallace is just on stage with, you know, tape on her mouth. Doesn’t have anything to do, but there she is. And Mark, the pseudo boyfriend, saves the day. He’s, like, up, I don’t know, near the projection booth or something, and he Takes off his belt, and he uses it to zip line down the cords that the mosquito was on. And when he zip lines down, somehow he activates the mosquito, And the mosquito impales the bad guy, and then he, like, is swinging impaled on the mosquito. And the crowd is 

Todd:  Going nuts. No. It’s so it’s so disturbing. This is this is the most disturbing part of the movie for me. And, I mean, it’s just a movie. But, like, Yeah. This this guy gets impaled, and he’s swinging on this thing. And the crowd doesn’t even know that this that this was a real murder they just watched.   Everything about it is just really twisted Mhmm. As well as funny. Yeah. Yeah. 

Craig:  And and that’s pretty much it. I mean, there’s just a little, you know, end gap where they are all outside with police and ambulances and stuff, but, ultimately, everybody’s okay. I I hate that we never mention there’s 1 character named Cheryl who’s played by Kelly Jo Minter, who I just really like. She was in our very first episode, People Under the Stairs. Yes. She was in that movie. She was also in Nightmare on Elm Street 5. She’s in this movie, and and she’s such a small character, but she’s compelling every time she’s on screen.   She gets an opportunity to kick a little bit of ass at one point. She knocks out the big guy that had knocked out Mark, in a really funny scene. So I just wanted to throw her out there because I I really enjoy her. But overall, I think this is a really fun movie. I just think it’s Super fun. It it it’s not a masterpiece. It’s not great. But even though it pays homage to a lot of other films, I think that it’s unique in its own way.   It’s well acted. You know, I I think as far as cinematography goes, it’s got some really good moments. I think in other moments, it’s, you know, just Semi average, but, the story is fun. It’s never I don’t know. You said you thought there were some parts that dragged a little bit. I really didn’t. I didn’t think that it was boring at all. I was into it.   The villain was great and was, you know, played so well and looked good and and homage to all the the movies of the fifties and sixties. It just had So many things that were appealing to me that I just really enjoyed it, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to horror fans. I just think it’s it’s it’s a really, really fun movie. 

Todd:  Yeah. I did not expect to enjoy this movie as much as I did. I really didn’t, especially because, you know, you don’t hear anything about it. Right? I mean, people this is the kind of movie that really should be one of those little cult classics that people talk about a lot or or look back fondly, and it just never got to that point. 

Clip:  Right. 

Todd:  I it had doesn’t even have a I guess it had a DVD released fairly recently. I wish we had been able to acquire that copy of it, because I’m sure it’s It looks a lot better than what we ended up seeing. What we ended up seeing had almost kind of a grindhouse quality to it. I don’t know if it was a VHS rip or what, but The whole movie itself looked again like a drive in that we were watching. But no. And and then to kind of, Hear all the interesting stories behind it. It sounds like it’s a miracle was made. So it’s it’s just kind of a a nice, fun, little surprise package that I really enjoyed watching as well this week. 

Craig:  Me too. I hope I’m not overselling it because, again, it’s it’s not amazing in terms of quality. It’s just really fun. 

Clip:  Fun. 

Craig:  Those of you out there, I feel like we kind of failed you this week. We didn’t have as much behind the scenes stuff to talk about as we usually do, and that’s disappointing. So, honestly, if if you know any fun facts about this movie, I am genuinely curious. On our Facebook page or or wherever you want Todd, and, let us know if you can give us any insight. 

Todd:  Yeah. Or if you could, like, upload that feature ad if You might have it on here. I don’t wanna, like, you know, encourage this sort of thing, but, YouTube’s a great resource. Well, thank you again for listening to another episode. If you enjoyed it, please share it with a friend. You can find us on Facebook. Just search for 2 guys in a chainsaw. Also on our website, 2 guys.redfortynet.com, where you can peruse all of our back episodes.   We’re coming up, dangerously close to 200 here. 

Clip:  So 

Todd:  if you have some ideas of what we should do for our 200th episode or any episodes coming up, we love getting your requests. Just, shoot us a message on either one of those channels, and we’d get it. We love hearing from you. Until next time. I’m Todd 

Craig:  And I’m Craig. 

Todd:  With 2 Guys and a Chainsaw.

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