All Hail the Popcorn King, A Review

24 Oct

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

If you look hard enough, playing at select film festivals is the documentary All Hail the Popcorn King. This biography about celebrated author Joe R. Lansdale is just as much of a celebration of his career, and sadly, the home video release was limited edition. It sold out faster than you can shoot a gun at a zombie! He’s known for penning the hilarious cult classic Bubba Ho-tep–a personal favourite of mine. Amongst animation fans, he penned a handful of notable episodes of Batman: The Animated Series.

Although no stone is turned in this work, the emphasis on his literary material stands out because a unique Texan style atmosphere permeates much of his work and really has to be analyzed.

The interviews with Joe Hill, Bruce Campbell and Amber Benson (to name a few) nicely add to learning why Lansdale is loved. He’s a special talent. The fact he was chosen to finish an Edgar Rice Burroughs story speaks about his mastery with the pulps. Apparently, his imagination was sparked when he listened to those old time radio programs. He especially loves those programs, like Flash Gordon, Green Hornet and The Shadow. Some of which became television programs and others, celebrated movies–but the love for the pulps has not been the same since the new century.

The crazy dreams he had after chowing down on his wife’s greasy (lard-coated) popcorn apparently led to many of the stories he wrote. If that’s the case, I shouldn’t be too worried about those LSD trips. They may even be wonkier than John Carter’s adventures. Who knows tho’. But for anyone who only knows some of this author’s materials, this documentary is a must see to learn about what else he’s dabbled in. Hopefully a new pressing of the disc can be made, as this work is considered essential viewing.

With luck, if all fans scream loud enough, perhaps Hansi Oppenheimer of Squee Projects LLC will listen.

4 Stars out of 5

Trailer

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