Apart from making low-budget horror films such as Rattlers 2 and Tales from the Campfire 3, Dustin Ferguson also makes documentaries about them. Stale Popcorn and Sticky Floors is the most recent, following on after Penny Pinchers and Direct to Video: Straight to Video Horror of the 90s among others.
Stylistically, Stale Popcorn and Sticky Floors is nothing new. It’s a mix of talking-head interviews and clips of the films being discussed. In this case, as you probably guessed from the title, the films are from the grindhouse era of the 1970s and 80s. That’s an era that’s already been extremely well covered and I wondered how or even if Ferguson could find anything new to add on the topic.
The fact it opens with clips from I Spit on Your Grave and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre didn’t exactly make me hopeful. And there are a lot of familiar faces and films covered in Stale Popcorn and Sticky Floors. Brinke Stevens and Lynn Lowry for example. But while I’ve seen Lowery interviewed several times I don’t think I’ve heard these details about I Drink Your Blood before.
On the other hand, Re-Animator and Halloween III have both been extensively covered but I’ve never seen effects man John Naulin interviewed before. It’s also the first time I’ve seen Camilla Carr, who appeared in most of S.F. Brownrigg’s films including Don’t Look in the Basement as well as Logan’s Run and Tony Brownrigg’s underseen and underappreciated Don’t Look in the Basement 2.
Hearing Carl Crew talking about the filming of Blood Dinner and some of the studio politics involved with its release was also a first for me. As was Craig Muckler talking about Microwave Massacre and Marneen Fields and her memories of working on Hellhole. I’m not sure, however, what qualified Jonathan Peacy from I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu for inclusion here.
At just ninety minutes, there obviously isn’t time to go into much depth on any particular film or person’s career. But for many of the films, there are documentaries devoted to them for those who want to go deeper into their history. For example, Frank Farel talks a bit about Spookies and Street Trash, two legendary grindhouse titles. Both have feature-length documentaries devoted to them, Twisted Tale: The Unmaking of Spookies and The Meltdown Memoirs respectively.
For those looking for some interesting behind-the-scenes anecdotes, Stale Popcorn and Sticky Floors is a fast way to kill some time. And where else are you going to hear Mel Novak talk about Force of Darkness rather than Game of Death?
Stale Popcorn and Sticky Floors is available to stream and on DVD. You can go to SCS Entertainment’s Facebook page for more information.