All Hail the Popcorn King : The Joe R. Lansdale Documentary

A spirited celebration of award-winning author and screenwriter Joe R. Lansdale.

The short and sweet documentary All Hail the Popcorn King focuses on the life of writer Joe R. Lansdale, who’s written over 50 novels and 500 short stories as well as various graphic novels and comics, with some of his most well-known and celebrated creations including Bubba Ho-Tep, Cold in July, The Drive-in, and the Hap & Leonard series. He’s been adapted for both the small and big screen, and his eclectic tonal voice has undoubtedly inspired countless imitators, while gathering a passionate fan base.

Through a combination of clips and interviews (talking-heads include Bruce Campbell, James Purefoy, Joe Hill, Don Coscarelli, Mick Garris, and Amber Benson), filmmaker Hansi Oppenheimer (Squee Fu: Fans Celebrate the Return of Joe Bob Briggs) takes a mosaic approach, turning the film into a part-documentary, and part testimonial for her subject, who seems larger than life in many instances.

Lansdale’s eccentricities are on showcase all throughout, as well as his mastery of the martial arts (he’s created his own method of fighting); this is a man who clearly has tons to offer and he’s particularly fond of getting as much accomplished as possible. And one of his most admirable traits, whether or not you fully agree with his politics or enjoy his storytelling voice, is that he isn’t interested in hearing any nonsense, from anyone. He’s upfront about his desires and his passions, and there’s zero punches pulled in terms of his willingness to stand his ground and focus on the task at hand. He’s also an undoubtedly fantastic writer, with the ability to spin a plot like nobody’s business, while finding thematic and artistic inspiration in outlier, marginalized characters who straddle surreal worlds where things seem a little off balance.

All Hail the Popcorn King is 50 minutes of spirited, celebratory fun, and fan of Lansdale will be delighted with the end result. For those aspiring writers and creators out there, All Hail the Popcorn King is an endearing retrospective of an artist’s insight, wisdom and passion for his craft that will be seen as a fitting tribute by his fans and a great introduction to his work for newcomers.

Directed by Hansi Oppenheimer, ‘All Hail The Popcorn King’ has been touring the U.S and will be released wider over the coming months.

 Nick Clement is a journalist for Variety Magazine and motion picture screenplay consultant, as well as a critic for websites We Are Cult and Back to the Movies. He wrote the introduction to the book Double Features: Big Ideas in Film, which was published by The Great Books Foundation, and is currently working on a book about the life and work of filmmaker Tony Scott. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and son.

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