The last time we heard from filmmaker Hansi Oppenheimer was her writing and producing debut with the rock-doc Color Me Obsessed: A Film About The Replacements (2011), her musician-fan insightful chronicle on the 12-year career of the Minneapolis punk-pop quartet that issued several beloved college rock gems on Twin Tone and Sire Records. Not exactly a document that screams “mainstream” to the masses.
Now she’s back with another heartfelt tribute to one of America’s non-mainstream writers: Joe R. Lansdale. Okay, yeah, we know you comic book geeks (the B&S staff and probably most of you reading this) know Joe for his work in that field. And there’s no denying that his work on Batman: The Animated Series made that one of the greatest action-animated series of all time — with stories that surpassed the Batman cinematic franchise. His biggest “mainstream” recognition came from the patronage of Don Coscarelli (Phantasm) adapting Joe’s Bram Stoker Award-nominated novella, Bubba Ho-Tep.
Now, we keep putting mainstream in quotes, not as an insult to Joe’s work. But let’s face it: there’s nothing “major studio” about a tale that features Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy (who goes underground as a surgical-altered African-American . . . maybe) battling a soul-sucking Egyptian mummy in a nursing home. No one but the unconventional master of the Silver Sphere could have brought that to the big screen.
And only Hansi Oppenheimer could bring Joe Lansdale to the big screen — a career that needed to be documented on the big screen. As with her Replacements tribute, you immediately sense Hansi’s heartfelt fandom for her subjects. Documentaries about musicians and filmmakers come and go. This is one that stays and, hopefully, will walk away with some deserving awards on the festival circuit. Fascinating stuff.
You need more Joe than this documentary can give you (and it gives a lot)?
Then surf on over to his official website or his Wikipedia Page, which is extensive. Wanna watch his movies? You can watch Don Coscarelli’s Bubba Ho-Tep on TubiTV. You can find Cold in July on all the usual streaming platforms, including You Tube Movies. There’s no VODs for Christmas with the Dead, but Amazon has the DVDs. We also found a copy of Joe and Don Coscarelli’s premiere episode of the first season of Mick Garris’s Masters of Horror series for Showtime, “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road,” on You Tube.
Currently making the festival rounds, you’ll be able to pick this up on all the usual VOD platforms in the coming months. You can keep up to to date with the latest on the film at Squee Projects via their official website and Facebook page.
Disclaimer: We were sent a screener by the film’s P.R firm. That has no bearing on our review.