All About Evil
Dir. Joshua Grannell (2010)
I have a feeling that this review is going to come off as a love letter. I’m excited to even be writing about this movie, because I had so much fun with it. The movie I’m referring to is called All About Evil. It’s a comedic horror film that was originally released in the year 2010. All About Evil is the feature-length debut of Joshua Grannell, who is most known as Peaches Christ, San Francisco’s legendary (and original) Horror Drag performer. All About Evil developed a cult following upon release and then disappeared. I don’t know any of the behind the scenes stories regarding this case, but with the help of Severin Films, All About Evil is back with a brand new release on blu-ray. This is great news because buying an old dvd copy online will cost you some leg meat.
In All About Evil we follow a mousy librarian by the name of Deborah Tennis (Natasha Lyonne). Deborah has recently inherited the Victoria movie theater after her father passed away. The theater has been struggling for quite some time, but Deborah is reluctant on selling it. After a transactional dispute with her own mother, Deborah takes matters into her own hands. She comes up with a plan to film a series of short horror films that’ll not only revive her father’s dying theater, but also her dreams of becoming a famous actress.
I’m willing to admit that going into the movie, I was a little biased. All About Evil takes place in San Francisco, California. I was born and raised in San Francisco (St. Luke’s Hospital, 1986). There’s so much about the city that I miss. Golden Gate Park, Pier 39, the Castro Theater, Pancho Villa (delicious Mexican restaurant), Haight Street and even Hunter’s Point. What I miss most is the old Geneva Drive-in that sat across from the Cow Palace. Seeing that All About Evil was shot in San Francisco made my heart happy. Normally I take notes when I watch movies for review, that way I’ll never lose of track of what I’m going to talk about. I was so sucked into this movie that I forgot to take notes.
Fans of classic horror will get a kick out of All About Evil’s opening credits. The credits (along with the opening scene) perfectly sets up the fun antics later to come. It’s a primary example of horror and comedy done right. There’s a symbiotic relationship between the two genres that makes it safe to laugh during the film’s most gruesome moments. All About Evil doesn’t go overboard with the humor. Yes it’s campy, but not in a Sleepaway Camp kind of way. I would compare this film’s humor with the likes of Beetlejuice and Return of the Living Dead. It’s purposely campy with the intent of keeping you entertained. All of it works, and I was laughing through most of the comedic beats.
All About Evil features a perfect balance of dark humor and practical special effects. Within the first twelve minutes we are exposed to some impressive (and gory) death scenes, some of which are standard fair, but even the more typical deaths come with an enormous amount of blood. The death scenes associated with the “short films” crafted by Deborah Tennis are grotesque and medieval. When watching All About Evil, you can clearly tell that writer/director Joshua Grannell loves and respects the horror genre. I’m a little ashamed to admit that this was my first viewing of the movie. I can’t speak on how this new Severin Films release compares to All About Evil’s original run, but the new high-definition version I watched looks fantastic.
The film is stacked with an impressive cast of actors, some of which are familiar to us horror fanatics. Thomas Dekker, Mink Stole, and Cassandra Peterson are just a few of those recognizable names. Even Peaches Christ makes an appearance playing herself. Natasha Lyonne is electrifying as Deborah, our lead protagonist. Her role goes through a metamorphosis as Deborah transitions from a nerdy librarian to a local celebrity. Deborah ultimately becomes a horror host by presenting a series of snuff films to a growing audience. When you think about it, it’s basically the story of Peaches Christ. Those of you that have attended a live Midnight Mass show know exactly what I’m talking about. The main difference between Deborah and Peaches is that we get to see where Deborah hides her dead bodies.
When discovering (or revisiting) older movies you run the risk of watching scenes that might be triggering. Certain moments may not age well. All About Evil has one of those scenes, involving a crime out in the open streets of San Francisco. It’s not a knock against the movie; it’s just an interesting observation considering the types of violence that occurs in the city today. Also, the scene I’m referring to was actually funny. I did feel a little guilty for laughing. I was laughing because of how absurd it was. It’s the kind of scene you would expect from a Troma movie. As gross as some scenes may play out in this movie, it never crosses the line as, say, a Troma film would.
All About Evil clocks in at an hour and thirty-eight minutes, and it’s crucial to mention that I never got bored with it. It’s a film that I’m going to rewatch time and time again. All About Evil is the kind of movie that needs to be experienced inside of a theater with a large crowd of misfits. Grab some friends, a mega pint, a large bucket of popcorn and you’ll have the time of your life. If you can’t make it to any of the live screenings, I would highly suggest buying All About Evil on blu-ray. Thanks to Severin Films, we will soon have that option. It’s a horror movie that you NEED to have in your collection.
I’m a gore junkie, and the amount of bloodshed in All About Evil satisfied my needs. I was invested in the story and the characters from the very beginning, which made the entire experience all the more pleasant. All About Evil was an absolute blast to watch. As far as my rating goes, I was a little on the fence as to whether I should give this movie a nine out of ten. I had so much fun with All About Evil and I don’t really have any complaints about it. The story was good, the gore was great and the humor had the perfect amount of camp. Thinking back, I did give a movie called Psycho Ape! a nine out ten rating, and that film had all kinds of problems. You know what? Screw it.
I give the movie All About Evil:
9 out of 10 bloody buckets of popcorn. Rev Horror’s Note: Check out Peaches Christ’s website at https://www.peacheschrist.com/live/, and it will be dropping for purchase on Blu-ray June 10th from https://severinfilms.com/! Not only that, if you can’t spring for the physical release because you hate fun or you still are working off an old Laserdisc player, you’ll be able to stream the film on Shudder on June 13th! It’s always nice when films like this get wide releases, and thanks to Shudder and Severin for giving the film the attention it deserves.