Kingcast Host and Online Film Journalism Legend Scott Wampler Dies

Film community and filmmakers praise the Austin film lover

Scott Wampler (Image Courtesy of Phil Nobile)

The Austin film community – and the genre film community at large – is in shock and mourning with the news that Scott Wampler, former managing editor of Birth.Movies.Death. and cohost of The Kingcast, has suddenly died.

To use those two résumé points is to massively understate the impact of Wampler on so many lives. Born in Plano, he became a fixture in the Austin film scene as part of the crew of writers and critics that hung around the Alamo Drafthouse, becoming a mainstay of what could loosely be called the second wave of online film journalism. His acerbic wit and extraordinary talent for social media snark was part of his persona, just as much as his deep passion for cinema and his extraordinary love of mentoring writers who he regarded as peers. At Birth.Movies.Death he launched innumerable careers, as well as being a prolific critic, interviewer, and essayist himself.

He also had a unique ability to get filmmakers to open up to him, leading to professional and personal relationships that have been expressed in an outpouring of postings that have shown how much he was loved and appreciated. Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller wrote that his “enthusiasm for storytelling will be forever infectious.”

Guillermo del Toro added that “Scott was loved, loved, loved and he lived a full life and one that was brimming with passion and many deep friendships.”

Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson concurred, writing that “he was one of the brightest lights in the genre film community. Always engaging, highly intelligent and disarmingly funny. This is a very sad day for all of us who knew him. He will be greatly missed.”

Greg Mottola (Confess, Fletch) posted, "For those of us who love movies, genre movies, stories told in the dark, stories that capture the absurdity of life, this is a terrible loss."

And in far from the last comment, Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House) called Wampler "a force, a friend, a collaborator, and one hell of a fantastic individual. I can't find the words," while Flanagan's wife and co-creator Kate Siegel added, "All jokes will be slightly less funny without Scott around."

In recent years, Wampler had increasingly moved from the typed word to podcasting. He still worked as a news writer for Fangoria and a contributor to sites like Collider, but he and his longtime friend and creative partner Eric Vespe had found new success and a whole new audience with The Kingcast, their podcast dedicated to the works of Stephen King. They had a second, unannounced project in the offing, while Wampler had also launched Jesus Wept! It’s a Hellraiser Podcast.

All the plaudits from famous people might have made Wampler blush a little because, for all the success, the ability to get A-list actors and directors on the phone directly, he never stopped being a fan. I recall how shocked he was when he actually got Stephen King to be on The Kingcast, which was matched by his excitement about getting his own father on Jesus Wept. There was a general giddiness underlying his professionalism and sardonic humor (who will ever forget his call to release the butthole cut of Cats?), and he had a knack for making everyone part of an in-joke (Chutt Buggins, anyone?). Now his friends, fans, and peers in the industry face a future without seeing his signature low-cut mohawk at festivals and press events, and the film scene is less for that knowledge.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Richard Whittaker
Review: <i>Disney’s Frozen</i>
Review: Disney’s Frozen
Broadway in Austin brings all Arendelle’s magic to the Bass

June 15, 2024

Memorial Announced for Film Giant Tom Copeland
Memorial Announced for Film Giant Tom Copeland
Former Texas Film Commission head oversaw massive growth in industry

June 13, 2024


Scott Wampler, Birth.Movies.Death., Fangoria, The Kingcast, Obituary

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle