Sometimes, when watching a documentary, you get to learn so much about its subject and with this film, you’ll get to know about the man who should be considered “the ultimate fan” and as the title indicate, the “Popcorn King”. A man named Joe R. Lansdale.

Hailing from Texas, Joe R. Lansdale came from an interesting background. His father was illiterate and his mother had up to a high school education. His parents encouraged him to read and from comic books to short stories, Joe decided to pursue a career as a writer. His love of the cinema would become the inspiration for his work as a novelist. He is considered the greatest unknown author with his novels such as The Drive-In, Bubba Ho-Tep, and many others. When Bubba Ho-Tep was adapted into a movie, he went full steam ahead and his love of movies, writing, and martial arts have made Joe Lansdale the icon that must be noticed!

And that’s exactly what director Hansi Oppenheimer succeeds in doing with this film. Where some documentaries tend to sugarcoat things, seeing Lansdale give us a tour of where he grew up and where he got his start just is a taste of his story. What’s even more amazing is that he has many fans, who are interviewed via audio or on camera, who do nothing but praise his works and how much of a nice guy he really is. There’s even some audio interviews from members of his family, who to this day, encourage him to keep doing what he does best.

We get to hear stories from Bruce Campbell, the star of Bubba Ho-Tep, who talks about Joe being on set and helping him with some of the aspects of the film. And to think, this was a project Joe himself was unsure about but finds it such a faithful adaptation to his work. There’s also an interesting thing about Joe. The man is a blackbelt martial artist who founded his own martial science, Chen Shuan, which he incorporated into his Hap and Leonard novels, which became an IFC series and we get to hear from James Purefoy, who talks about Joe’s involvement with the fight scenes due to his experience. A rarity in Hollywood is seeing the creator of a work being involved in an adaptation, but Lansdale is just that: a rarity who deserves more recognition and this documentary is the stepping stone to get his more recognition.

All Hail the Popcorn King is a great documentary about an unknown legend who deserves more recognition, a fun adventure into the life of writer Joe R. Lansdale. This will make you want to check out some of his works. It sure did it to me.


A Squee Projects LLC production. Director: Hansi Oppenheimer. Producers: Hanso Oppenheimer and Brian Harrison Mack. Cinematography: Hansi Oppenheimer. Editing: Brian Harrison Mack.

Cast: Joe R. Lansdale, Bruce Campbell, Kasey Lansdale, Amber Benson, James Purefoy, Don Coscarelli, David J. Schow, Joe Hill, Mick Garris, Yuri Lowenthal.