Delicious 'All About Evil' In Production

Michael Fox

There are midnight movies series, and then there is Midnight Mass, Peaches Christ’s long-running vaudeville-burlesque-drag extravaganza at the Bridge. Peaches, aka Joshua Grannell, doesn’t simply screen campy cult faves but produces a themed show. Yet even that’s not enough to slake this gal’s creative thirst: Peaches has also written, directed, and starred in a trio of infamous funny-scary short films that made their debut at Midnight Mass. A fourth, Grindhouse, doesn’t include Ms. Christ, and has always struck its director as the most fertile premise to expand into a feature. "The short film was just an attempt at an idea; it’s not a fully realized film," Grannell explains. "What would happen if a woman inherits a failing single-screen theater and she begins making her own art-horror films? What the public doesn’t know is she’s murdering the people in the movies." Grannell chuckles. "She sees these people as being her actors. She’s just not being honest about she’s using them."

Grannell spent two and a half years writing and rewriting the screenplay for the deliciously titled All About Evil. After all, he was stretching beyond . "I really want to challenge myself and make a feature that doesn’t bank on the popularity of Peaches or even the popularity of drag," he explains. "And I wanted to make a more realistic horror film that was still funny but didn’t rely on me, Peaches, to carry it."

About a year ago, he was contacted by L.A. filmmaker Darren Stein (Jawbreaker), in town to show his first-person doc Put the Camera on Me at Frameline. "There was a chance we’d be kindred spirits and hit it off," Grannell recalls. "We share a real sensibility and love for the same stuff. He and I started planning and plotting. ‘How are we going to find the help we need to make this movie?’ Independent films are not in vogue anymore, so we thought, ‘What are our resources?’ My audience and the ability to throw it out there over and over.

"With Stein onboard as producer, and the duo’s long list of contacts, they’ve managed to line up the lion’s share of the budget and nearly all the principal cast. Thomas Dekker (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) has agreed to play the high school student who’s obsessed with horror movies, frequents the theater, stumbles on the grisly crimes and, well, that’ll hold you for now. Cassandra Peterson (Elvira to you) will play his concerned mother; her announcement at Comic Con that she was going to be in All About Evil generated a host of publicity for the project. Longtime John Waters regular Mink Stole also has a role, but Grannell wouldn’t say who’s in line to play the murderous villainess. Hmmm, what’s Kathleen Turner up to these days??

Grannell has a long and close relationship with Landmark Theatres—he started working for the chain shortly after he moved to the Bay Area in 1996, and has managed the Bridge since 1997—and he’s in talks with upper management to shoot All About Evil at the Geary St. theater in March 2009. It would mean closing the Bridge for four weeks, albeit during the post-Oscar arthouse lull. But it’s at the top of Grannell’s wish list. Some screenwriters have a specific actor in mind when they write; he had a theater. "The outline in my head has always been the Bridge," he confides. "I did give the Bridge some things it doesn’t have, like a fantastically creepy attic. The theater [in the movie] is infested with rats, and I will say for the record the Bridge does not have a rat problem. I used creative license." Aside from the benefit to the production, Grannell thinks shooting at the Bridge would focus local attention on the plight of single-screen theaters. And he’s already got a batch of ideas for the show he’d stage to accompany the film’s S.F. opening at, naturally, the Bridge. By sheer coicidence, Peaches Christ presents Grindhouse and the Tran-ilogy of Terror Sat., Oct. 18 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as part of a current series of guest curators.

  • Nov 3, 2011

    Essential SF: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

    With riveting characters, cascading revelations and momentous breakthroughs, Epstein and Friedman’s work paved the way for contemporary documentary practice.

  • Nov 2, 2011

    Essential SF: Susan Gerhard

    Susan Gerhard talks copy, critics and the 'there' we have here.

  • Oct 31, 2011

    Essential SF: Karen Larsen

    Universally warm sentiment is attached to the Bay Area's hardest working indie/art film publicist.

  • Oct 28, 2011

    Joshua Moore, on Location

    Filmmaker and programmer Moore talks process, offers perspective on his debut feature and Cinema by the Bay opener, ‘I Think It’s Raining.’

  • Oct 26, 2011

    Essential SF: Canyon Cinema

    For 50 years, Canyon Cinema has provided crucial support for a fertile avant-garde film scene.

  • Oct 24, 2011

    Signs of the Times

    Director Mina T. Son talks about the creation of ‘Making Noise in Silence,’ screening the United Nations Association Film Festival this week.

  • Oct 21, 2011

    In Orbit with ‘An Injury to One’

    Accompanied by a program of solar system shorts, Travis Wilkerson’s 2003 look at ruthless union-busting and the rise and fall of Butte, Montana, offers eerie resonance.

  • Oct 20, 2011

    Children’s Film Festival Moves in and out of Shadows

    Without marketing tie-ins, plastic toys or corn-syrup confections, a children’s film festival brings energy to the screen.