All About Evil
Dir. Joshua Grannell (2010, USA, 98 mins.)
Freaks everywhere, rejoice. Director Joshua Grannell, better known as cult film champion and trend-setting transvestite Peaches Christ, has given a new generation of misfits a film made in the best traditions of old-school Hammer Horror, Pink Flamingos, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Demented, outrageous, and hysterical, All About Evil is as much an ode to no-budget indie horror as it is a celebration of independent movie theatres; surely, a veteran horror fan can ask for nothing more.
Natasha Lyonne stars as Deborah, a middle-aged wallflower who runs her late father’s movie theatre, the Victoria. When her cruel stepmother attempts to force Deborah to sign away the lease on the theatre, Deborah snaps and viciously murders her. After the entire affair is captured on the theatre’s security cameras, the footage accidentally plays on the big screen. Patrons applaud Deborah’s new ‘short film,’ and she embarks on a secret career as a snuff film maker. Aided by her demented old projectionist (the delightful Jack Donner), a brilliant homeless maniac (Noah Segan, Fanboys, Brick), and a set of homicidal twins (Jade and Nikita Ramsey), Deborah murders her way to cinematic stardom. The cast is rounded out by young horror fan Steven (Thomas Dekker, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), librarian Evelyn (John Waters favourite Mink Stole), and Steven’s mother Linda (Cassandra Peterson, none other than Elvira, Mistress of the Dark).
A genuine and rather endearing love of filmmaking and theatres permeates All About Evil. Astute audiences will notice constant loving homage to the work of Doris Wishman John Waters, and the Kuchar brothers. More broadly, anyone who has ever picked up a camera and decided to shoot something will identify with the joy Deborah experiences as her films screen to enthusiastic audiences.
Though All About Evil is a horror-comedy, it is a very different sort of beast than the majority of horror-comedies playing today. Its humour is not merely
off-kilter; it is off the chart. All About Evil finds and celebrates the comedy in a toilet-stall murder, a loss of bladder control during a childhood musical recital, and the most egregious misuse of a guillotine in the history of cinema.
All About Evil is currently attached to a live show and touring the United States. The show features characters from the film, a level of audience interaction, and the appearance of Peaches Christ herself. The affair sounds exactly like the sort of thing that a jaded cinemagoer needs, and should the live show come to Toronto, your correspondent will find himself in the Bloor cinema, drinking Kool-Aid with the rest of the freaks.
– Dave Robson