Now on Shudder: ‘All About Evil’ Is Queen of Queer Horror
Queer horror has a moment. Well, technically, queer horror has had its day for 150 years. The Lesbian Vampire Urtext carmilla pre-dates Dracula a quarter of a century, after all. But that nudge-nudge wink version of queerness we’ve become so used to — think of those lingering stares between Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas’ undereyeliner in Interview with a Vampire — was pushed down the stairs Showgirls-styled by a louder, cheekier, queerer version, all geared up and ready to take its place.
In a few weeks, Shudder’s four-part docuseries Queer for fear will tackle this long, thorny story head-on. But first, this very weekend sees the release of two explicitly queer horror films. Hitting Peacock is the slasher of the conversion camp They theywhile the A24 Body Body Body plunges us into the dangerous do-it-all habitat of the doped-up Zoomer as it hurtles straight (but not right-all right) at a theater near you. It’s all good and full of dandies, but there’s another girl in town worth checking out. Her name is All about evil.
Sure, she might be a bit older, and her hair might be tangled with all sorts of questionable substances. It has mileage on it. She saw shit. Lost in the theatrical reworking of the financial crisis and released on fifteen DVDs before disappearing from the face of the earth, she became a ghost in record time. But all of that is behind us now, because all about evil has finally risen from the grave after a decade of obscurity to claim its rightful place on the throne of queer horror. The horribly hilarious (hilarious and horrifying?) 2010 comedy-slasher stars Natasha Lyonne and was directed by Joshua Grannell (aka, legendary drag queen and horror host Peaches Christ). But age only adds luster to her tiara, if you ask me.
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all about evil was supposed to get a theatrical, streaming, and physical release in 2020 for its 10th anniversary before, you know, 2020 happens. Now, this bizarre film is finally getting the luxury treatment a queen of this import and scope deserves. Séverin triggered a fancy Blu-ray release. Peaches Christ herself traveled coast to coast to present the film at festivals. More importantly, this cutting comedy finally made its streaming debut on Shudder during pride month. And there he stands today, inviting you to come gawking at his sordid and spectacular story of a movie nerd taken too far. Far too far! We bring back.
Credit: Justin Cook PR
In all about evil, Lyonne (still the first game) plays Deborah (pronounced De-BORE-ahh), a mousy little thing, who hides behind an extra-large soda pop while working the counter at her dad’s dilapidated movie theater in San Francisco’s Mission District. Deeply bonded by their shared love of horror movies, Deborah takes her father’s sudden death hard. So hard that she begins to slaughter everyone in sight, starting with her own sneering mother.
It’s not just old-fashioned murder, though. With her crimes, Deborah creates art, staging each death bucket of blood-style. Only, instead of encasing them in plaster like Roger Corman’s film did, she turns each homicide into a gruesome short film, which she screens before the main feature of the night. Imagine those “don’t you dare use your cell phone” videos they play at the Alamo Drafthouse, but with cut breasts in tiny little guillotines.
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Having as much debt to John Waters as to Roger Corman (not to mention the queen of exploitation Doris Wishman, who shaped the character of Deborah), Grannell populates her film with a holy trinity of cult characters. Alongside Lyonne (a cult goddess from the outset thanks to her mythical role of “Opal” on Peewee Playhouse), we have Mink Stole, Dreamlander royalty, playing the role of Lyonne’s librarian friend. Cassandra Peterson – yes, Elvira! – appears in one of her few non-Elvira roles, playing the mother of Lyonne’s love interest, Steven (Thomas Dekker), another movie nerd who is nevertheless the straight man (wink) of all the larger-than-life characters that surround him.
Drop all those hams in a ramshackle theater full of wigs, cobwebs, and sharp objects, then shake carefully. What Grannell offers is truly one of a kind – a cult film ode to cult films that wears his big gay heart (and the blood of several other hearts from every orientation under the rainbow) loud and proud on his big gay sleeve.
Surprisingly, Lyonne actually goes a little smaller than you might think. But this choice gives the spiraling center of the film real pathos. So there’s a sweetness that sticks to all about evil, like so many popcorns scattered on the floor of the theater. As the drag queens race down the aisles to save the day in the film’s chaos-packed final act, it’s nearly impossible not to see all about evil like the passionately awkward (awkwardly passionate?) treatise for queer inclusion in the horror movie space that its creators intended. A space that finally seems to really open up.