For lovers of horror, camp, and the bloody glee that comes with combining these two things, this month marks a special occasion: the re-release of All About Evil, the first feature-length film directed by Joshua Grannell, a.k.a. horror drag legend Peaches Christ.
As Peaches Christ, Grannell has toured the country with the Midnight Mass cult horror road show, and hosts a podcast of the same name celebrating cult film. “Growing up and being a subscriber to Fangoria magazine and being a kid that loved horror movies, I saw cult films as being a very specific kind of movie that fit into a specific set of tropes, and certainly being transgressive was one of them,” he tells Consequence.
“But over time, I would say that, probably because of doing the Midnight Mass movie series and also having the podcast, I think films that have a rabid following behind them of fans, people that are specifically interested in those films, that to me is very ‘cult.'”
The independently-produced film stars Natasha Lyonne as Deborah, who discovers her inner psycho after inheriting her father’s movie theater, and begins producing gruesome films featuring her own real-life murders for an adoring population, including high school student Steven, played by Thomas Dekker.
When Dekker was cast in the film, he was already a working TV actor with key roles in NBC’s Heroes and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. But All About Evil was important for him because it was something his management team at the time wasn’t thrilled about him doing — “just because when you come off of a big show or whatever, they want to stick you in the big-money grabs.”
However, it was his first indie project, “and now I’ve done so many. And I think that’s because that’s where my heart lies. My spirit aligns with at least independently-minded filmmaking — I was just 21, and I was hungry to do something that, to me, mattered.”
And then, he says, “Enter Joshua-slash-Peaches, and then Mink, and Cassandra, and Natasha, and Darren, and San Francisco, and everything that went with it. It was just like answering every little queer cult-loving prayer of mine, at that time. I was only bummed that I had to play the straight man, as it were — the protagonist that doesn’t get to go completely insane. At the time, I wanted to go crazy, too. But I just rewatched it with Joshua, and it’s sweet to see myself playing that role in this universe. Because I feel so in tune with the evil family as a human being, but it’s really nice that I get to be Steven in it.”
While ostensibly the “straight man,” Grannell says that the character of Steven is “basically me in high school, and Natasha’s character is basically Peaches… He’s in love with Deborah the way that I was in love with Elvira. So now, when I’m thinking about Steven, there’s a reason you never see him kiss a girl in the movie, or act a certain way. Even though he denies that maybe he’s gay to his mother, it does not mean that he’s not gay. I’m not saying he is or he isn’t. He’s at a stage in high school where it’s all a mystery. I’ll say this: he’s very much me. So take that for what it’s worth.”
An important detail: Steven’s mother in the film is played by Cassandra Peterson — a.k.a. Elvira herself.